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Why UK fans should root for the Heat

Let me start by saying that if you already have an NBA team that you fervently root for, then please don’t think this is trying to get you to switch.  However, a lot of Kentucky residents don’t have a vested interest in any particular franchise.  This is for them.

So, say you don’t have a favorite NBA team, and just root for whichever team has the most Kentucky guys.  There’s nothing wrong with that at all.  But players can change teams, and typically our allegiances go with them.  If you want to have a consistent rooting interest in a team, you’ll typically need more than a couple transient players.  So while I will always root for former UK players to have good games, the Miami Heat has been my franchise of choice since the 90s, when Jamal Mashburn played under Pat Riley.  Former UK guys as player and coach?  Yes, please.  Plus the Hardaway/Mourning combo was pretty nasty in NBA Jam.

And now, in 2012, I think there’s no better time for Kentucky residents, and Wildcat fans, to root for the Heat.

Here’s why:


1. Pat Riley

Pat Riley is as UK as UK comes.  Though he hails from Schenectady (gesundheit), Kentucky has embraced him as one of our own for being one of Rupp’s Runts in the 1960s.  And he obviously was paying attention to Mr. Rupp during his time on campus, because he went on to be one of the most brilliant NBA general managers the league has ever seen.  Seriously, this guy is a lab coat away from being a diabolical genius.

Excuse me, I have to do science.

Not only did he coach Miami to the title in 2006, but he also arranged the “recruiting coup” a couple years ago that brought LeBron James and Chris Bosh to the Heat to be a part of the NBA’s new “Big Three.”  Moreover, he’s been named one of the Top Ten Coaches in NBA History for his five overall titles (he won four with the Lakers in the 80s).  Currently, he serves as the President for the Heat organization.  Like it or not, this Miami team is Riley’s baby.  One that he’s seen grow from infancy to, hopefully, championship-level maturity.  Rooting against the Heat is rooting against Pat Riley.  And we should know better than to do that.


2. LeBron James

This is less about liking him as a basketball player (which I do), and more about liking him a a recruiting aid.  Over the last three years, James has become a pretty good friend of the program, and of Cal, and that relationship goes a long way in the recruiting world.  You think high school players don’t get excited about going to one of three schools that got special editions of the LeBron 9s to wear for games?  I know I would.  And let’s not forget this:

There are plenty of reasons for people across the country to loathe LeBron James.  Particularly people in Ohio.  I hear they’re still a little grumpy.  But he’s only ever been good to the Kentucky program, and the benefits to having the NBA’s biggest star on your sidelines and using your Twitter hashtags are pretty huge.  Win a title to go with that third MVP, and James’ stock goes way, way up.  And Kentucky’s hype right along with it.


3. Parallel Programs

Like it or not, Kentucky is to the NCAA what Miami is to the NBA.  Not in their tradition, maybe, but as far as the current state of the programs go, they’re pretty similar.  Both the Heat and the Wildcats operate by the simple strategy of saturating their team with the most talent possible, and both teams have become a sort of “league villain” to those who aren’t capable of following that example.  There are some who think it’s unfair (“LeBron betrayed Cleveland!”), and some that think it’s unbecoming (“One-and-dones are ruining college ball!”), but these are two teams working within the parameters with the simple goal of getting the best players possible.  Those who belittle that strategy are likely jealous, and will have little to say if both teams win championships this year.  Personally, I love the “anti-hero” role, and the trendsetting methods that the programs have established put them both in that category.  Neither team does anything wrong, but they do things differently, and that makes a few (small-minded) people upset.  Rooting for Miami as a like-minded franchise, to me, only makes sense.


Regardless of your pick for favorite NBA team, now is the time to be watching.  The playoffs can drag on for a while, but the heat really starts to turn up in the conference semi-final round (see what I did there?) and things get pretty exciting.  Maybe you’ll join me in the “Team Miami” Camp, and maybe you won’t.  Either way is fine.  But with no college basketball on, I guess we’ll have to make do with the NBA.  Enjoy it while you can.

Article written by Corey Nichols

42 Comments for Why UK fans should root for the Heat

  1. Devastation INC
    9:04 am May 14, 2012 Permalink


  2. ShovelHead 77
    9:08 am May 14, 2012 Permalink

    The Heat won’t win, got a dookie on their roster, If I’m not mistaken..don’t think a dookie has ever won an NBA title…that’s why the Bulls were doomed….

  3. Dickie Z
    9:10 am May 14, 2012 Permalink

    Root, root, root, root, root, root, root, root, root. Please say ROOT, one more time. Corey Nichols sucks!

  4. Rajdaddy
    9:14 am May 14, 2012 Permalink

    Go Lakers!!!!!!

  5. tom
    9:24 am May 14, 2012 Permalink


  6. Real UK Fan
    9:25 am May 14, 2012 Permalink

    Better to watch replays of the NCAA championship drive than to bore myself to death watching NBA games.

  7. chardun
    9:27 am May 14, 2012 Permalink

    Still don’t like the Miami Heat.

  8. Travis
    9:31 am May 14, 2012 Permalink

    No one roots for Miami. Miami fans don’t even show up til midway through the 2nd quarter.

  9. PatGLex
    9:31 am May 14, 2012 Permalink

    I have a lot of friends from northern Ohio, including a whole branch of my family, so despite Pat Riley and the Parallel Programs suggestion, this hater gonna hate and NOT root for Miami. Don’t know that I have a favorite team, because I spent a lot of time in my earlier years thinking of the NBA as a non-sport [seriously they played no defense back in the 80s and 90s!], but I would have to put my rooting power behind any team that reaches the finals with a UK player on it.

  10. kentuckyjoe
    9:37 am May 14, 2012 Permalink

    I agree with most of the post but not the part about there being ‘plenty of reasons to loathe Lebron James’. Plenty of reasons? How so? People might not like him because he left for Miami. That’s one reason. Only one; and that’s it. He has been a role model and has conducted himself with class throughout his career. So, I strongly disagree that there are plenty of reasons.

  11. Uk4life
    9:42 am May 14, 2012 Permalink

    you made some valid points. i’ll cheer for Miami if the Celtics and Spurs fall. Rondo is my favorite in the playoffs, and those old guys can’t play forever, so enjoy it while we can.

  12. deb
    9:46 am May 14, 2012 Permalink


    I don’t like the Heat.

    And what a stupid article. Why does Corey continuously tell us what we should think?

  13. RickyP
    9:47 am May 14, 2012 Permalink

    The Celtics are the historic equivalent to UK. Their best player is Rondo. In this year’s playoffs, he is the former Cat with best chance to win it all.

  14. jl-uk
    9:49 am May 14, 2012 Permalink

    Why does Corey, who has clearly said he doesn’t know anything about the NBA, doesn’t watch the NBA, and doesn’t care about the NBA – continue to write about the NBA?

    And why are all of Corey’s blogs about “this is what I think, so you should think this too”?

    Frankly there is no benefit to UK to root for the Heat. This blog is just ignorant.

  15. RickyP
    9:50 am May 14, 2012 Permalink

    And if want to go with the new kid on the block, go with the OKC Thunder. Best collection of young talent (like UK) and they actually made the effort to play as a team against our soon to be national champions during the NBA lockout.

  16. corey-does-nba
    9:52 am May 14, 2012 Permalink

    Filler, filler, filler.

    Why not write about Rondos triple double?

    Why not actually talk about one of the games?

    If you want to write about Riley, how about writing about how he runs the heat?

    This is just filler. Bad filler at that.

  17. UK_Cat
    9:58 am May 14, 2012 Permalink

    This blog makes no sense.

    Right now, Rondo doing well is the most visible player from UK playing.

    And Corey’s, “But with no college basketball on, I guess we’ll have to make do with the NBA. Enjoy it while you can.” Typical Coreyism … irritating, condesending, and ignorant.

  18. just saying
    9:58 am May 14, 2012 Permalink

    OK, so UK fans embrace Riley as one of our own, but tell me when the last time Riley embraced anything UK. UK could have a Pat Riley banquet and there’s only a 50/50 chance he would show up.

    Same goes for Rondo, UK fans (and this site) rave about the “former cat”. However, no one ever seems to remember Rondo ONLY came to UK because Pitino recruited Telfair. Rondo hated his time at UK, never embraces UK since he left, and is more likely to wear a UL hat/jersey than a UK one. He left UK with a sour taste, and it showed on the court as most of his time (with exception of his freshman year) was spent just putting in his time, and seriously underachieving.

    Lebron embraces UK because it financially benefits him, thats all!! The only “tie” he has to UK is that his agent and Calipari’s agent is the same guy.

  19. bluefan
    10:00 am May 14, 2012 Permalink

    Dang, you guys are just looking for reasons to criticize. I enjoyed the post.

    That said, while I agree with your points, I just can’t root for Miami. Thunder all the way!

  20. Smyrna_Cat
    10:09 am May 14, 2012 Permalink

    UK’s success has more to do with us winning and putting players in the NBA than it does with what Miami does.

    Rondo may not be the biggest UK fan, but he is having a great NBA career, and UK is mentioned in reference to him a lot.

    And you guys stop having Corey right about the NBA? The guy obvisously doesn’t like based on his “guess we’ll have to make do with the NBA” comment. Surely you have someone on your staff that actually watchs NBA basketball???

  21. BooCat
    10:14 am May 14, 2012 Permalink

    Hasnt this post been done 20K times?!?!?! Corey sucks, his mother refused to spend time with him yesterday. But like most things in life he just doesnt care.

  22. Aaron Craft's Rosacea
    10:20 am May 14, 2012 Permalink

    Miami is by far my least favorite team in the NBA. F Lebron.

  23. BNClay
    10:23 am May 14, 2012 Permalink

    #2, Danny Ferry was with the Spurs for one of there championships. But I think that is it.

  24. SadukfaninSA
    10:46 am May 14, 2012 Permalink

    BNclay you are right. I remember wanting to see my spurs win but at the same time I was hurting cause Danny got a ring just sitting there on the very end of the bench. So sad. Go Cats.

  25. MississippiCat
    10:59 am May 14, 2012 Permalink

    i root for the heat from the east no doubt, but man hard not to root for my man eric bledsoe in LA, he doin big things

  26. iloveyou
    11:04 am May 14, 2012 Permalink

    Troll, troll, troll your boat. Both teams symbolize everything wrong with basketball right now… so yeah, Go Heat.

  27. HatetheHeat
    11:10 am May 14, 2012 Permalink

    What a STUPID lazy article. Rondo is the player to root for right now. Let the Celtics win their last title together as a great team. Will NEVER root for the Heat. Ever.

  28. OR..
    11:36 am May 14, 2012 Permalink

    root for the Thunder because they are cool

  29. Eric
    11:47 am May 14, 2012 Permalink

    This guy is consistently the most useless writer ksr has

  30. hey eric
    11:50 am May 14, 2012 Permalink

    and yet he’s a writer, and you are not………

  31. Tyler
    12:11 pm May 14, 2012 Permalink

    Eww no, take this off now! This is a terrible post and posing UK as an enemy.

  32. youknow
    12:42 pm May 14, 2012 Permalink

    I hate the Heat. That’s all.

  33. HicksPickSix
    12:54 pm May 14, 2012 Permalink

    I’m waiting for Ally Tucker, who is by far the funnier and more talented writer, to usurp Corey.

  34. Smyrna_Cat
    2:13 pm May 14, 2012 Permalink

    You know how the LHL has Tipton to piss people off? Is Corey KSR’s version of that?

    This is just worthless. If you want to write “this is why Miami is my favorite team” so be it. But consider you repeatedly say you don’t watch the NBA, don’t care about it, and don’t know anything about, I am not sure why you would have a favorite NBA team. And I am not sure why we would care.

  35. Common Sense
    2:19 pm May 14, 2012 Permalink

    Considering the Heat’s short history, there are many other organizations that have way more affiliation to UK than this one. Corey, we understand your favorite team is the Heat, but why write about it on KSR, there are better things to do.

  36. America
    4:12 pm May 14, 2012 Permalink

    No. Effing. Way.

  37. What 36 said
    4:56 pm May 14, 2012 Permalink

    Uhhhhh, yeah… Nope.

  38. TimD
    7:16 pm May 14, 2012 Permalink

    Corey is an example of everything wrong with the “blog writers.”

    Everything he writes is about HIS opinion … yet he doesn’t do anything to offer an educated opinion.

    Back in the day … before everyone and their brother could work for a free for a blog like this … a “writer” had to pound the beat, to learn how to research and interview people. They wrote about the opinions of those people had earned the right to share their opinion. The only “op-eds” were done by writers who had been in the business for decades, and who had a solid undertanding of the sports they covered.

    Corey wants to take a shortcut. There is no research. No original work. On interviews. No “reporting.” It is an “off-the-top-of-my head” blurt about something he has admitted having no interest in.

    KSR is going down if you continue to encourage this type of writing.

  39. Another Reason - Cal
    7:44 pm May 14, 2012 Permalink

    How about rooting for the Heat because if Spoelstra gets on the hot seat and/or gets fired, Coach Cal would be the first coach in the discussion because of his relationship to LeBron. And I don’t know that he could pass on that one.

  40. Ciggy
    7:45 pm May 14, 2012 Permalink

    I understand why you would pull for the heat. I know one reason i just cannot, Wade. I can’t stand that guy.

    I know Lebron has alot of love for UK, but i can’t stand him either. And I don’t care too much for Bosh either, he was the best player on a bad team with the raptors. That’s like saying he was the best looking girl at school in a class of 8 guys and 2 girls. Gimme the celtics all day, every day.

  41. tomcat2012
    9:34 pm May 14, 2012 Permalink

    39…That’s exactly what i was expecting too!! Corey is one of my worst writers on here.and that’s saying alot.

  42. johno bono
    10:33 pm May 14, 2012 Permalink

    this is such a bad post. i really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really regret reading it.