Sunday, December 25, 2011

Pay What You Owe: Fuck Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa

It’s time to try something different since the Miami HEAT didn’t get the free agents they wanted for Christmas.

After lining NBA owners’ pockets last season by selling out their arenas on the road, the NBA should’ve paid what they owe the HEAT this season - a big man. There were only two items on Riley’s Christmas list before the lockout: “young, energetic veterans” and “size that’s a little more athletic with great length.”

Instead of waking up Christmas morning with the anticipation of seeing Thaddeus Young and Samuel Dalembert in new, black-and-white unis to take on the Dallas Mavericks, HEAT fans have... Shane Battier and Eddy Curry. That’s like kids asking for Transformers but waking up to Go-Bots. It’s like asking for cabbage patch dolls but waking up to Chucky.

Disagree? Read these articles:

Before free agency, the HEAT reporters and analysts told fans to expect big things from Pat Riley. Riley be shopping! Riley be shopping, baby! You can’t stop Riley from shopping!

Yeah, Riley be shopping alright... for fat ass Curry who still hasn't been able to play and still looks to be 20 pounds over his playing weight. As the great Dave Chappelle once said, "He must be on that new diet, Slim Slow."

HEAT fans can say what they want about pre-season, but an unproductive Mickell Gladness and inexperienced rookies were not on the Christmas list. Since the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results, it’s time for the HEAT to try something different in order to get this dynasty going.

Fuck Christmas and Riley’s holiday shopping. It’s time for HEAT fans to embrace Kwanzaa instead.

Seven Principles of Kwanzaa

Kwanzaa is a celebration of Family, Community and Culture. Sound like familiar themes for HEAT fans? Those are principles the franchise consistently talks about. The list below explains how the HEAT can build their dynasty applying the seven principles of Kwanzaa - the Nguzo Saba.

Umoja | Unity

HEAT players and fans have to stick together. On the court, phrases like “band of brothers” and “fifteen strong” embody this ideal for the players, but for the fans it means supporting the team at home (where the team ranked 4th in attendance in the NBA) and on the road to dull the hostility of opposing crowds. It’s good Hater Therapy. It also means supporting the players over management. Only fake ass fans root for owners.

Off the court, this means players and fans uniting to support the fight for a world where all HEAT fans can enjoy HEAT basketball in peace, just like Mario Chalmers showed his support for Troy Davis.

Kujichagulia | Self-Determination

HEAT players have to define and create opportunities for themselves if they want to be champions. The old way of the Celtics and Lakers building title contenders doesn’t work any more. HEAT players shouldn’t choose silence and fear of recrimination for choosing to be champions. They should speak loudly, proudly and lead the way. Maybe that’s what it takes to get a big man like Dalembert. That’s definitely what it will take to keep the team that Wade and LeBron built together.

HEAT fans have to think for themselves, and think critically, to identify the good analysis of their team on any subject and create their own content when there is none. The days of fanatically listening to the Dead Basketball Poets Society are done. Be a fanalyst. Blog, podcast and tweet the truth about HEAT fans so players understand what it truly means to be loved by a fanbase.

Ujima | Collective Work and Responsibility

The HEAT defense is all about collective work and responsibility. If Derrick Rose gets by LeBron James, then it’s Dwyane Wade’s job to cover for him (in spectacular fashion). This principle also extends off-the-court. If LeBron’s not comfortable being hated or playing the villain, then it’s a problem for his teammates, too, and they have to solve it together.

The same rule applies to HEAT fans. Any fan that comes across a hater should follow these guidelines and put them on the HEAT Shit List.

Ujamaa | Cooperative Economics

The Three Kings set the tone for HEAT free agents last season by taking less money to begin building a dynasty and it will take more cooperative efforts to keep improving the team in the future. Perhaps the HEAT could have found a way to donate to Dalembert’s foundation what they couldn’t pay him in free agency (as discussed on this HEATcast. LeBron’s marketing company could help find endorsements for HEAT players that take less salary to join the team. Wade could bring players into the partnerships he has with many corporations. What’s a lockout? The economic opportunities are endless if the players work together.

HEAT fans should support businesses like Don’t Hate Miami that were started by the fans for the fans. Under the new collective bargaining agreement, HEAT fans may have to put more money in the team’s bank accounts to ensure the franchise can afford the luxury tax that will come with maintaining a roster of elite players for a dynasty.

Nia | Purpose

HEAT players and fans have to remember the object of the game is to have three great players lead a championship team for a sustained run of titles. That’s championship DNA. The HEAT are not, and should not, be built for anything else. Every move should be evaluated against the championship DNA standard. They either have it, or they don’t.

Kuumba | Creativity

HEAT players will have to be creative to win their first title and everyone after that. Whether it’s trying new innovative trainers and creative workouts to improve their game, being unpredictable in Coach Erik Spoelstra’s new offense or creative pitches to sell free agents on joining the team. It took creativity for Chris Bosh, Wade and LeBron to have the idea of joining forces and it will take even more creativity to maintain a successful partnership.

Creativity is also important for the HEAT organization and fans. From Spoelstra's new approach to coaching, new ideas to engage the fans and drive revenue, to creative marketing campaigns, it will take outside the box thinking to continue building the HEAT into a global brand that can afford the costs associated with eight titles.

Imani | Faith

LeBron believes in the HEAT. Do you?

Happy Holidays
Kwanzaa’s not for everybody, so enjoy whatever you celebrate this holiday season. If you’re looking for HEAT Christmas gifts, though, look for a win over the Mavs instead of a good game from the players signed in the pre-season.

If you believe Riley will be able to bring home better players next Christmas, then you might want to start writing Santa now.

Get your chairs ready and let Santa know you’re coming for that ass.

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