When you hear the whispers of Miami Heat players being happy to see Derrick Rose return and read the stories about how LeBron James plans to personally find a way to welcome him back, you begin to think like a grumpy old-school NBA player.
The more positive quotes you see, the more you begin to reminisce on the good ole days of when basketball rivals were actually rivals and tried to chop each others’ heads off.
Before the league went soft. Before AAU tournaments made all of the high school youngsters buddy-buddy. Until Chris Bosh starts to tell you about how he, Michael Beasley, James and Dwyane Wade spent their Monday afternoon getting pelted with football pads every time they drove to the hole.
“It’s all planned,” Bosh said via the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “We know they’re [Chicago Bulls] big, physical and we know we have to finish.”
That was the first sign that these teams might not fit that extra friendly nature. Then James took it a little further.
“We don’t like them, they don’t like us,” James said. “It’s not unheard of. We all know how it is.” (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)
And as basketball fans we all know what it is. The Heat and the Bulls are two teams battling each other with the same goal in mind: Do whatever it takes to slide a championship ring on your finger and hoist a banner up in your arena.
It all started with the teams of the mid-90s — which was more of a Michael Jordan vs. Pat Riley rivalry — then it carried on to the days of Udonis Haslem trying to fight Andrés Nocioni and Kirk Hinrich yanking on Wade’s hurt hand.
With the hatred at its heights and both teams being real title contenders, people are looking to Chicago to knock off the “Hollywood as Hell” Big Three (as Joakim Noah calls them) in the same fashion that they ended last season’s 27-game win streak.
Of course, if it was a regular season battle the Bulls would be winning 7-4, but in this league it’s all about the playoffs where the Heat took them down twice (4-1).
Now that a new season is on the way, NBA fans get to enjoy watching Miami try to unleash their plan for a Rose’s return.
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