With the Miami Heat closing its regular NBA season this week, it begins again, Miami.
The playoff season, that wonderful stretch between April and June, the one that we hope ends with a parade through downtown Miami.
The Miami Heat, which closes out the season in second place in the Eastern Conference, will play its first playoff game on Sunday and set off on the elusive quest to win a third consecutive NBA championship. They call it a “three-peat.”
That's something all of us in South Florida can get behind.
After all, only four other teams have accomplished such a historic NBA feat.
So here we go.
We’re off on a wonderful ride, from your seat at the AmericanAirlines Arena or in front of your TV.
During the next “best-of-7-game series,” we will see the impossible. The miraculous. The unbelievable. The unforgettable. We'll scream with joy. We'll jump out of our seats. We'll groan, and maybe even fall into a depression when the team loses.
We'll do it together.
Only one thing is required to take part: You have to believe. That our team can pull it off. Again and again and again. Just like it did in Game 6, when the fat lady was about to sing and an off-balance three-pointer from Ray Allen rescued us from loser's row.
If the Heat pulls off a three-peat, the team members become heroes. But by going along for the ride, we can get something even more important: a sense of community.
The wonderful thing about this time of year with the Heat is that it brings us together — men and women; young and old; white, black and Hispanic, Democrat and Republican.
You don't have to be a year-round NBA fan, to jump on the bandwagon as the team begins its steamroll (we hope) through the conference championship, then the NBA Finals.
Our obsession with an indestructible LeBron James now goes into high gear. How's he feeling today? Will he score more than 30 points per game?
Will he be named MVP? Can he pull out another fourth-quarter miracle? And what's he wearing to the game, anyway?
How about Dwyane Wade's temperamental knees. Will they hold up?
Will Chris Bosh, the thinking man’s player, find a way when we least expect it?
And what about the supporting cast: Bird Man, UD, Beasley? Will they come off the bench to save the day?
There will be no flashy opponents this year like the Lakers, Knicks, or Celtics, but there will be the Chicago Bulls with Joakim Noah, who hates us, and hungry, upstarts Brooklyn Nets and the Indiana Pacers. And of course, we’ll curse NBA analyst Charles Barkley for not giving the team its due.
How our team finds a way to play “as one” on the court for the next few weeks will bring us together, too.
They will be what we talk about at work the next day. People who never dribbled a basketball will give up a Game of Thrones episode for a real game.
We'll hold on to the Heat's coattails because we also want to be winners and maybe feel like gladiators.
So as a community, imagine the places we can go, together, with the Heat.
And what fun we'll have.
We recommend you come along.
And, go Heat!