Can LeBron James resist the dark side to help the Miami HEAT win a title this season?
When Dwyane Wade said the HEAT lost the NBA Finals because they "played off hatred", the article How Will Miami HEAT Beat the Hate to Win a Title asked how the team could ignore all the hate thrown its way every time it stepped outside of Miami.
In an interview with Rachel Nichols of ESPN, LeBron admitted the hatred was a problem and said he would use the same tactics he used before to overcome negative situations in his life like his father leaving him as a child, his mother's disappearances from time to time and hatred for where he went to high school and then losing the state title.
But is that enough?
Not too belittle LeBron's life experience, but I saw in-person how much hatred was thrown at the HEAT last season and I assume it's bigger than anything he's ever experienced before. A pitiful fan base like the Nets' booed LeBron every time he touched the ball from the tip-off all the way through garbage time. The hatred was so intense the NBA provided the team extra security all season.
How would he just ignore that? Isn't the reaction just a basic instinct?
How would he ignore the vile things said about his family every night on the road? How would he be able to resist the urge to give a "fuck you" to those haters with his play on the court?
Can love of the game conquer the fans' hate? Should HEAT fans make concerted efforts to buy up all available tickets when the team is on the road? Should Pat Riley hire a sports psychologist? Would LeBron even talk to a psychologist if the team hired one?
If hatred was actually all that stood between the HEAT and a title last season, then how they cope with it is the biggest question entering the new season. It's bigger than any question about free agents, trades or Erik Spoelstra's lineups and rotations.
Do the HEAT need to be on some Radio Raheem shit to win the championship?
In the 25 years I've been watching the NBA, I can't remember a team more hated than this one. They will have to overcome more to win the title than any other team in league history. From the fans testing their toughness to the owners literally trying to rip them apart, it's against all odds for the Miami Heat.