They said you wouldn't stick around after LeBron James left. They called you a front-runner. They scoffed at the thought that you might continue to support your team, even if said team was no longer a championship contender.
So far, you've proven them wrong, Heat fans.
Let's be honest -- the Heat haven't been the easiest team to watch this year. LeBron surprisingly left for Cleveland. All the Heat's big off-season additions have turned out to be pretty underwhelming. The team is barely holding on to a playoff seed as we speak.
The reasons to jump ship have been plentiful, but you haven't taken the easy way out. Here are a few ways the Heat fans have made their team, city, and fellow fan proud this season.
5. Attendance has been strong for a sub-.500 team this year.
Say what you want about Heat fans, but one thing can not be denied -- they buy tickets. If you want to knock Heat fans because you don't like when they get to the game, or when they leave, have at it -- but at least they are there at some point. The same can't be said for other fanbases that seem to get a pass, like the Lakers for instance, who are tenth in attendance this season, behind the stinkin' Clippers for heavens sake. It appears it's OK for some fan bases to "make a statement" when their team is down, but Heat fan was expected to sellout every game this year.
So far this season Miami Heat fan has proven they were here BLJ (before LeBron James) and will be here long after.
4. A large, vocal number of Heat fans are invading other teams' stands.
But wait, there's more! Not only are Heat fans proving they will still pack American Airlines Arena in the post-Big 3 era, Heat fans in other cities are showing they still want to see their team play, no matter the teams current place in the standings. The Heat rank 5th in home attendance, but their road attendance is near the top of the league as well -- so it's obvious the Heat are still a draw to other teams fans, as well as out of town Heat fans. I thought the Heatles left with LeBron, but apparently the Heat are still the road show people want to see.
Two members of a 15-20 team are likely to make the All-Star team --Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
— Tas Melas (@TasMelas) January 8, 2015
3. The NBA All-Star game is largely a popularity contest, and Heat fans have supported their guys.
The NBA All-Star voting process is one of the lamest things in sports. Basically if you are from China, or you have a super popular name, you're in. Kobe will be in the game this year, and he's freaking terrible this season. The game just is not based on who is having the best year these days. The positive side of that is that Heat fans are doing a helluva job voting for their two remaining homecoming kings.
It's not surprising that Wade and Bosh are doing well in the voting. The Miami Heat have always been among the leaders in engaging their audiences on social media, and over the Big 3 era, were one of the most mentioned teams in sports history on platforms such as Twitter -- it's just nice to see Heat fans take the time out to reward the two guys that didn't run out that first door when things got bad.
— Jordan⏙ (@jordub) January 13, 2015
2. Fans have jumped behind the players who are here.
It was touch-and-go there for a minute. Heat fans didn't exactly have all that much too get excited about, but that's seemed to change over the last few weeks with the emergence of Hassan Whiteside. The first step of moving on from a championship-era is acceptance, and it seems like Heat fans have started to accept that their focus should be on the future, and fun in the present -- not holding out hopes that this team is going to accomplish things the last four have.
Just kidding, we can also focus on the fact that the Cleveland Cavaliers are 19-21. Because that's hilarious.
1. When LeBron returned to Miami, Heat fans showed they're different than Cleveland fans.
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Ooof, they were just waiting for you to do something stupid so they could pounce, but nope, you didn't give them the ammo they were looking for. When LeBron came back Heat fans played it perfectly. They handled his return with as much class as anyone could ever expect from a fan base. It was the best look possible, and even those who routinely hate on Heat fans had to admire how Heat fan handled the situation.
You didn't pout. You didn't hate. You didn't act a fool. You just said thanks. You showed respect and appreciation for what LeBron brought to our great city for four years, then you rooted as hard as possible for your team to beat him while the game was in play -- that's how it should be. We can't stay mad for more than ten minutes here in Miami. Look outside, can you blame us?
So far, 2014-15 has been a huge win for Heat fans, even if their team hasn't enjoyed the same amount of success.