The Fan of Fans: Ian Ross

Posted by C.L. Anthony on Tuesday, June 14, 2011 with 1 comment
It's been a little over 24 hours and the finality of the Miami Heat's season still stings.  Every time I turn on the television or surf the Internet I hear negative things about the Heat's season and at times it's uncalled for but everyone has the right to their own opinion but as a true fan I can't throw my team, my players under the bus like I've seen so many bandwagon fans do in the last 24 hours for I'm just not built that way.  If you're a true fan of any team, television show, or person you just know that at times you must take the bad with the good.  I remember back to the time that Shaquille O'Neal played for the Heat and I was so excited because I knew that a championship would follow and we all knew of Shaq's free throw struggles but I accepted it one because you take the bad with the good, but two because he always made them when it counted.

The mass exodus that I've seen from the bandwagon Miami Heat fans since the loss in the finals is a blessing in disguise because the truth is that we didn't need you guys anyway and you made it hard on true Heat fans like myself to truly enjoy this past season.  Just today I've heard of fans calling into south Florida radio stations and suggesting that the Heat trade Lebron James; stating that he did nothing for the team.  This is a crazy concept, I mean how do these "fans" forget so easy that the Heat didn't win the championship in Shaq's first year as well and that season also ended with a devastating loss at home.  True Heat fans knew that even with the addition of Lebron James and Chris Bosh that this wouldn't be easy, winning a championship is never easy and so as the world is enjoying piling onto to the Heat and being negative you all better trust the fact that Pat Riley is already formulating and adjusting his master plan for as I always say In Pat Riley I Trust.

The Pat Riley affect can't be understood by bandwagon fans, not this soon at least, they just don't understand how many times Riley has reconstructed the Heat on the fly to a title contender and now he's tasked with it once again.  These are the moments that he enjoys the most, that's why the championship of "06" meant the world to him.  Again a certain segment of fans won't understand that and quite frankly for those who are leaving please go away as far as you can and never come back.  The Miami Heat Organization is a Class A organization in the NBA and we need Class A fans, not bandwagon fans who'll run at the first sign of trouble.  I had to wait 11 seasons to enjoy that championship feeling and Heat originals waited almost 20 seasons.

As a frequent visitor of the, I'm an avid reader of Ira Winderman who's covered the Heat for the last 23 seasons, his articles are amazing, truth filled works of art and he's even accessible as we've traded emails in the past.  Yesterday afternoon, I arrived home and read his post and I saw a letter that he posted on his blog that came from a true Heat fan who'd emailed him.  I was so touched by the letter that I decided to re post it here.  It was thoughtful and non blaming and I wish I could have been as poetic as it's author Ian Ross was with my own work so read it and enjoy.  Bandwagon fans take note for this is the way you're supposed to respond when your "team" is challenged.  Ian Ross is the Fan of Fans in my eyes.

“To the Miami Heat, Thank You
“Everyone in Miami today has something to say about the season that ended last night, and people are rightfully disappointed, stunned, frustrated, with how a series that began with so much promise ended with so much heartache last night.  But something people should be saying — if not today, then certainly tomorrow, and again and again this summer and fall — is thank you.
“Thank you to Micky Arison, Pat Riley, and the Heat organization, for giving us a championship contender ready to contend again next year and for years to come.  For rebuilding this team time and time again, and giving this football town a basketball team and organization that we have learned to love.
“Thank you to Dwyane Wade. The city’s heart and a player that has captured our imagination like no one has or could.  Standing 6-3 going on 7-0 most nights, from the crossover in Philadelphia in your first game to the shot over Baron Davis in your first playoff game to the 30- and 40-point games in your first NBA Finals, you’ve amazed so many times already, with so many times more to come.
“Thank you to Chris Bosh. Lost in all of the story lines and media hype over the last two months, the power forward who had never had an extended playoff run played like the All-Star he is, against Brand, against Garnett, against Boozer, and against Dirk. You didn’t need to prove you belonged, but you did anyway.
“Thank you to Udonis Haslem. For taking the floor in the middle of the Eastern Conference Finals after not having stepped on the floor since November, and then playing like were never gone. And really, you never were.  When Heat fans look back on these playoffs, there may be some regret, sure, but there would have been so much more had we gone on this journey without you.
“Thank you to Mario Chalmers, to Mike Miller, to Mike Bibby and Joel Anthony and James Jones and our much-maligned “supporting cast.” The national media line was that you would be our downfall, but you were steady and unrelenting, and you carried us through some of our toughest moments.  The reality of the NBA and the financial rewards that you will be offered (and that you so fully deserve) is that some of you may not be back, but thank you for an incredible run.
“And thank you, thank you, thank you, to LeBron James. Thank you for sharing your career — which has been and will continue to be, for at least the next ten years, the most anticipated and scrutinized, analyzed and criticized career, in decades, and maybe ever, in the NBA — with us.  Heat fans are what we are — we are a young fan base, a growing fan base, a proud fan base, and to be perfectly frank, I’m not sure we deserved you.  I think of the crowds you left in Cleveland, the crowds that were waiting for you in Chicago and New York, and you chose us.  We are always going to want more from you — fans always do — but last July, you gave us the promise of everything, and as Heat fans over the next few days reflect on what happened over the last eight months, they’ll realize that you’ve already started to deliver on that promise.
“Last night I walked out of my seat and towards the exit with about 45 seconds left in the game.  I didn’t want to see the Mavericks celebrate on our court, didn’t want to remember the season that way.  But when I woke up this morning I started thinking about the way that the Oklahoma City Thunder fans gave their young team a standing applause when they lost to the Lakers two years ago.  Incredibly, this year, even with the increased expectations and dreams of their first Finals appearance, the Thunder fans did it again after they lost a disappointing series to the Mavericks.  I started thinking about that, and felt ashamed that I had left early.  I owe you my thanks and applause.  This city does too.”
Ian Ross, Miami