By Ryan McNeill
Before the game last night the buzz in the Miami locker room was about how the team would rally around Chris Bosh in what many thought would be a hostile environment in the Air Canada Centre.
With the media huddled around his locker, LeBron James boasted to the media that he and his teammates would be ready to rally around Bosh.
“We know there’s going to be some hatred towards out teammate,” James admitted. “You can sense it. You can feel it. So, as his brother, we all have to make sure we go out there and protect him.”
This sentiment was then echoed by Erik Spoelstra during his pre-game media scrum.
“This is what the brotherhood is all about,” Spoelstra explained to the media. “We don’t know what to expect tonight. We’re sure there will be a lot of emotion from the fans. We know that it will be an emotional night for Chris (Bosh) and we want to be there for him. We don’t want to let him down.”
It turns out Bosh wasn’t worried about a hostile crowd as he erupted for 25 points and six rebounds.
Bosh, however, wasn’t the only member of the Miami Heat to step up their game tonight. The rest of the “brotherhood” rallied around him and had great complimentary games as well as James flirted with a triple-double (23 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists) while Dwyane Wade had a team-high 28 points.
After the game Bosh, James and Wade gathered in the media room to address the media together and it became clear the three players are united. They appeared to have an unspoken bond and despite only playing together for a couple of months it’s clear the trio have a bond the extends well past the basketball court.
While the idea of a “brotherhood” between three players seems weird so early in their time as teammates, it’s clear the three players have each others back.
“We’ve been getting booed and people have been saying all kinds of things in all kinds of ways,” Bosh told the media after the game while flanked by his teammates. “We use that as motivation and we don’t let it get to us. We know that we have each other and the whole team. When people go talking at the mouth saying ignorant or crazy stuff we love it. It helps us because it motivates us.”
This bond probably stems from the fact the trio has gone through so much over the past few months.
“Fans are passionate,” James told the media tonight. “They believe that you should live your life and your career through them and when you don’t do that they automatically turn on you. I know that firsthand. We just wanted to be there for him as a brother and a teammate and send him off to All-Star weekend the right way.”
Even Wade, who got cheers instead of jeers, felt for what Bosh and James went through during the return to their former cities. In both cities he was cheered from the fans but tonight he made it clear he took that as a slap in the face rather than a compliment.
“That’s like a slap to the face,” Wade told the media when asked about being cheered tonight at the Air Canada Centre. “When we went back to Cleveland I got cheered and then we come here and I get cheered. That’s a slap in the face to these guys. So all of those cheers are boos to me as well.”
Back in the summer there were doubts amongst members of the media and fans that this trio would be able to check their egos at the door for the betterment of the team. However, after hearing Wade dismiss the cheers from fans tonight and James boast before the game he would be playing for his “brother” it’s clear this team has grasped the concept of the trio being stronger together than they are apart.
The idea of Bosh, James and Wade embracing the band of brothers mentality has to be a scary thought for the rest of the NBA.