Finally!

After years of being criticized and becoming probably the most hated sports player in the world, Lebron James can finally call himself an NBA champion.

It’s hard to believe that James was just a regular high school student ten years ago at St.Vincent-St.Mary’s in Akron, Ohio.  Actually, he was the complete opposite of a regular high school student.  When he was only 16 years old, and in his junior year of high school, he appeared on the cover of ESPN The Magazine.  Three state championships and national championship is what Lebron left high school with, as he made it official that he would be entering the 2003 NBA Draft.  He was picked by his home-state team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, as the number one pick.  

James would quickly turn the franchise around, and by James’ third year, the Cavs were in the playoffs, and the next year, Cleveland was in the finals.  Although they got swept by the Spurs, you could tell that James would be the center of this franchise for a long time.  However, despite having the best record in the league in the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 seasons, James and his team failed to make it back to the finals.  At the end of the 2010 season, when the Cavs suffered their worst playoff loss ever to the Celtics, a game in which they were eliminated, people wondered if that was the last time they would see James in a Cavs uniform, being that James was now a free agent.

July 8,2010, Lebron James made his decision to take his talents to South Beach and become a member of the Miami Heat, joining forces with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh.  This announcement was made during a one-hour televised program called “The Decision.”  In Cleveland, fans burned James’ jerseys, saying that his decision was one of the  worst things in Cleveland history, ranking second to Art Modell’s efforts to relocate the Clevaland Browns to Baltimore.  The next day, James signed a six-year contract with the Heat.

James’ first season with the Heat was a success, winning the eastern conference championship, by defeating the number one seeded Chicago Bulls, in five games.  In the finals, the Heat faced off against the Dallas Mavericks.  The Heat raced off to a victory in game one, however, they lost game two at home, as Dallas made a huge comeback to stun the Heat.  By game six, Heat fans couldn’t believe what they were seeing, as Dallas celebrated winning the championship, as they had just defeated Miami, four games to two.  James received much of the criticism for the loss to the Mavericks, as he only averaged 17 points per game.

The next year, there was only one thing on James and the Heat’s minds, win the championship.  In the regular season, the Heat dominated much of the competition, and Miami received the number two seed in the East.  They cruised through the first round, before playing the Indiana Pacers in the semi-finals.  Down two games to one, Miami was on the brink of falling apart.  Facing, not just the Pacers, but also a raucous crowd, James responded with one of the greatest playoff performances of all time, scoring 40 points, grabbing 18 rebounds, and dishing out nine assists, in a Heat win.  Miami would go on to win the series in six games.  The next series, against the Celtics, the Heat were facing elimination in game six, in Boston.  However, James played terrific again, scoring 45 points in a blowout win, as the series shifted back to Miami.  James and the rest of the Heat played great in game seven, and captured the conference championship for the second straight year.  In the finals, the Heat faced off against the highly talented Oklahoma City Thunder, and their superstar Kevin Durant.  Unlike last year, the Heat were picked to lose, and Miami dropped the first game in Oklahoma City.  In game two, James scored 32 points, silencing the loud Thunder crowd, and tied the series.  Games three and four also belonged to Miami, as Lebron led the Heat in scoring for both game, as Miami stood on the brink of greatness.  On June 21, 2012, Lebron James and the Miami Heat defeated the Thunder in a blowout victory, as James record a triple double in the win.  After the game, James was also awarded the Finals MVP.  Almost two years have passed since James has made the decision, as he promised he would win a championship for the city of Miami.  Love him or hate him, you cannot deny the fact that James is now a world champion.

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Experience at the Friendly Confines

The cab dropped my family and I off about a block from the stadium.  When I got out of the car, there it was, Wrigley Field.  The interesting thing about Wrigley Field, is that its on a corner of a street, which is funny to me coming from Florida and having the Marlins stadium in a space by itself.  I had been awaiting this day my whole life, and I was finally at the Friendly Confines.  When my family was putting together this trip, I was put in charge of getting the tickets.  Recently, I had just read a blog about fans experiences at Wrigley Field, and I read that sitting in the outfield bleachers had the best atmosphere.  So immediately after reading that, I quickly bought our tickets in the center field bleachers.  A very cool thing about the bleachers, is that there is no assigned seating, which means you can sit anywhere in the outfield.  So my family and I had decided to show to the game an hour early.  Fully expecting the stadium to be pretty empty, especially an hour before the game, we were very surprised to see that the bleachers were nearly full.  Seeing the inside of the stadium was beautiful, the grass was so green as was the ivy on the outfield walls.  We watched batting practice as 40,000 people started cramming into the stadium.  The atmosphere, especially in the bleachers made it feel like a playoff game, even though that it was only the fifth game of a long season.  Before I knew it, the national anthem had been sung and the Cubbies had taken the field, and the Astros were up to bat.  High spirits were still in the air, even after the Astros had scored two runs in the first two innings.  My dad ordered us five brats (which is the best stadium food item I’ve ever gotten), as we watched the Cubs battle back. In the third inning, we watched our former Marlin Derrick Lee smash a home run off Roy Oswalt.  As the innings started going by quicker and quicker, we started talking with our fellow bleacher fans.  Wrigley Field is called the Friendly Confines for a reason.  It may have been the alcohol, but I have never been in such a friendly environment, especially at a sports game.  You would look throughout the bleachers and see men that have their shirts off, it was just hilarious.  When Astros outfielder Carlos Lee hit a home run into the bleachers, we all chanted “throw it back” at the fan who caught the ball, being a Cubs fan himself, he chucked the ball back into the playing field.  We sang the seventh inning stretch and yelled “root, root root for the Cubbies”  as the Cubs went up to bat down 5-3.  Chicago then scored five runs, including a go ahead double by new fan favorite Kouske Fukodome.  In the ninth inning, Kerry Wood shut down the Astros and helped the Cubs puck up their second win of the season.  The coolest part of the day was singing the official Chicago Cubs victory song “Go Cubs Go” along with 40,000 of my closest friends.  As the game ended, the people exited out of their beloved stadium and flooded the streets.  It was an amazing end to an amazing day.  Wrigley Field is definitely the best ballpark I’ve ever been to, and I plan on going back soon.  If you ever need somewhere to go on a vacation, go to Wrigley, and sit in the outfield bleachers.

Ochocinco to Miami

On the day of the NBA Finals, its hard not to be writing about my Heat, and their highly anticipated matchup against the Thunder.  However, another Miami team is in the news today.  Out of work and not ready to retire quite yet, Chad Ochocinco is ready to bring his talents to South Beach.  This former Pro Bowler, signed with his hometown team on Monday, four days after being released by the Dolphins division rivals, the New England Patriots.  The Dolphins were very excited to sign Ochocinco, who had a tryout with Dophins, as Miami is very thin at the wide reciever position.  Ochocinco, a six time Pro Bowler, is coming off his worst season of his career, catching only 15 passes for 276 yards.  The 34-year-old, is going to try to replace Brandon Marshall, who was traded to the Chicago Bears in March for two third round draft picks.  Ochocinco’s signing will definitely bring fans to the games early in the season, however, its hard to see him having a productive season after several disappointing  years.

Ochocinco to Miami

On the day of the NBA Finals, its hard not to be writing about my Heat, and their highly anticipated matchup against the Thunder.  However, another Miami team is in the news today.  Out of work and not ready to retire quite yet, Chad Ochocinco is ready to bring his talents to South Beach.  This former Pro Bowler, signed with his hometown team on Monday, four days after being released by the Dolphins division rivals, the New England Patriots.  The Dolphins were very excited to sign Ochocinco, who had a tryout with Dophins, as Miami is very thin at the wide reciever position.  Ochocinco, a six time Pro Bowler, is coming off his worst season of his career, catching only 15 passes for 276 yards.  The 34-year-old, is going to try to replace Brandon Marshall, who was traded to the Chicago Bears in March for two third round draft picks.  Ochocinco’s signing will definitely bring fans to the games early in the season, however, its hard to see him having a productive season after several disappointing  years.

When Loyalty and Caring Too Much Kicks In

I was balling my eyes out on my bed.  I had just left the TV room, having just watched the most devastating even in my life.  The year was 2005, I was in fourth grade, and my beloved Miami Heat had just lost to the Detroit Pistons in game seven of the conference finals.  That year was the one of the best of my life because that’s when I really started to follow my teams passionately, as I did not miss a second of that Heat season.  Talent wise, we were maybe the best in the league, with Dwayne Wade and Shaq dominating teams every night, as the Heat had the best record in the East.  However, that was a bad night because I then realized that the better team doesn’t always win.  2005 seemed like the year that the Heat would finally win their first championship, and Miami was ready to explode after a game seven win against the hated Pistons.  Instead, I watched along with millions of die hard Heat fans as Detroit celebrated on our floor, and advanced to the finals.  Losing, especially losing to your rival hurts the worst.  It still hurts me whenever the Hurricanes lose to the Seminoles, or when the Cowboys lose to the Redskins.  So tomorrow night, I will be praying, just like I did in 2005, that my beloved Heat come out on top, so I won’t have to feel the pain like I did that night.

The Importance of Game Seven

Throughout Miami’s history, there have been many important sporting events.  From game seven of the 1997 World Series between the Marlins and the Indians, the countless super bowls, and the many national championships and Orange Bowls.  However, tomorrow night, when the Celtics come into the American Airlines Arena and face off against Lebron James and the Heat, it will be the most meaningful event in the history of Miami.  In game five, the Celtics shocked the Heat and their crowd, by handing the Heat only their fourth postseason loss in two years.  Lebron James and Dwayne Wade will be both have to stand up for the city and their team, and deliver the conference championship, and move on to the finals against the Thunder.  Expect a raucous crowd dressed in white, and most importantly, expect a Heat victory.