Is there some hypnotic force around the Miami Heat that turns people ludicrously self-absorbed? The weekend brought an Associated Press story that was meant to be heartwarming, telling how the Heat made an
The boy, the AP reported, had asked for tickets to a Heat-Magic exhibition game in October, in Tampa, for his birthday. But then the game was called off because of a
in the Tampa arena:
Moved by a letter his mother wrote about what her son felt like the night of the canceled game, team officials arranged for tickets for [the family] to see Saturday's game in Miami against the Atlanta Hawks, along with a hotel stay and some other souvenirs. The family sat courtside for a portion of the pregame, in the very seats the Heat players would occupy during the game. Several players and assistant coaches stopped to say hello, and [the boy] posed for some photos.
Isn't that sweet? He got to see "his favorite player," LeBron James, and his favorite team. Why did this boy love his Miami Heat so much?
"I am a Heat fan because they have Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James," [the boy] said. "They're three really good players."
It's not fair to criticize an eight-year-old child on the Internet. Eight-year-olds know nothing about anything. But why did this child's parents and the Heat and the AP decide to make a big deal out of rewarding an eight-year-old's ignorant and terrible desires? This is not some farm kid from outside Omaha dreaming of Stan Musial to the radio for years, only to have his once-in-a-childhood trip to St. Louis rained out. This child's devotion to his sports heroes dates back to July of this year, to the moment they started looking like surefire winners. The piece reads like the story of a kid winning a golden ticket to Willy Wonka's factory tour—not sincere, humble
, but one of the other kids, the spoiled, doomed ones.
Are there no kids in Florida who've loved their Heat for more than three months, to get free tickets? Kids who'd have shown up for the big game in an
, rather than a factory-fresh LeBron one? Instead, the Heat came up with a front-running insta-fan for their front-running insta-team. If they give out a few million more seats, LeBron may finally get the fanbase he was trying to create this summer—a fanbase in his own image.