Winning back-to-back championships is one of the most difficult things to do in sports. For starters, being a champion means wearing a bullseye. A championship team is going to get its opponent’s best effort night in and night out, and that can wear on players over the course of a season. Then, there is the question of motivation. How do you stay as hungry as you were the previous season?
If you ask the Miami Heat, they will tell you it’s no easy task.
“Yes, it’s impossible to have that same fire, that same hunger,” Chris Bosh told Chris Tomasson of FOX Sports. “The hunger changes, but we don’t have the same motivation and we have to find different motivations now. And I think that motiviation is always just trying to be the best and sometimes you got to be knocked down a few times in order to get that back.”
People don’t seem to hate the Heat as much this season as they did last year and the year before, when the Big Three was first assembled. There is certainly less hatred for LeBron James, who was recently named Sports Illustrated’s “Sportsman of the Year” and can no longer be labeled a choker. According to forward Udonis Haslem, Miami needs to somehow rediscover their “us against the world” mentality to repeat as champions.
“We have yet to play four quarters of angry, hatred basketball like we used to play when people hated us,” Haslem explained. “That’s part of my job as a captain, and I got to carry a chip on my shoulder… At one point, we felt like it was us against the world, and we felt like everybody hated us and I guess we kind of lost that feeling. But I’ll figure out a scenario that makes us seem like everybody still hates us.”
Admitting your weaknesses is a good place to start, so kudos to the Heat for understanding this season is different from last season rather than being in denial. If LeBron wants to be live up to the nickname Pat Riley gave him, it will take more than one championship ring. King James should have plenty of motivation — he just needs to find a way to feed it to his teammates.Google+