Prior to 2010, my sports fan relationship with the city of Miami was a limited one.
I've always had respect for the Miami Hurricanes since my Uncle Bill told me the gospel of when Jimmy Johnson's 'Canes beat the breaks off of our beloved Oklahoma Sooners in the '87 national championship.
The Miami Dolphins? I mean, Dan Marino was cool ... and I was here for the Karim Abdul-Jabbar era, but I got nothing else.
The Florida Marlins? As an Atlanta Braves fan, I will forever curse the name Eric Gregg.
The Miami Heat? Well, that's a weird one. Who didn't love watching those Heat teams with Rony Seikaly and Glen Rice? Or the Tim Hardaway, Dan Majerle and Alonzo Mourning-led Heat squads? The D-Wade and Shaq era.
Or The Michael Beasley Era. That was all well and good, but they weren't ever teams that resonated with me ... and then The Decision happened.
For four years, the Miami Heat became must-see TV. You'd cancel a date, you'd get off early from work and you'd sacrifice sleep to watch LeBron and the Heatles do work in pivotal moments. Sure, Dwyane Wade will go down as Miami's all-time franchise player, but this was LeBron James' coming of age as the best player of his era. It was a glorious thing to witness.
Then it was all over again. The King went back home.
In my learning about Miami as a sports town, I've also become a fan of Dan Le Batard as a journalist and personality. His voice not only represents South Florida, but also Latinos and critical thinkers everywhere. Without LeBron, we don't get the enhanced profile of Le Batard, but as sports fans we're all better for it when Le Batard's voice is heard.
Le Batard voiced a piece for ESPN on the brink of LeBron's return to South Beach titled "The Mistress," and it's worth your time to listen how Miami deals with King James returning to his vacation throne.
Eddie Maisonet is the founder and editor emeritus of The Sports Fan Journal. Currently, he serves as an associate editor for ESPN.com. He is an unabashed Russell Westbrook and Barry Switzer apologist, owns over 100 fitteds and snapbacks, and lives by Reggie Jackson’s famous quote, “I am the straw that stirs the drink.”