Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Destiny.
Webster’s Dictionary defines it as a predetermined course of events often held to be an irresistible power or agency.
For the 2012 Miami Heat, their destiny was put into place in the summer of July 2010 when LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh joined forces to chase an NBA Championship.
Everything finally clicked Thursday night in Game 5 of the NBA Finals as the Miami Heat knocked off the Oklahoma City Thunder, 121-106 to complete a journey full of ups and downs that most athletes will never see.
It was in July 2010 when LeBron James uttered the now infamous phrase that he was “taking his talents to South Beach.” It was a move that was roundly criticized and mocked by NBA fans, especially those cities that didn’t win the LeBron sweepstakes.
That started a two year journey that saw the Miami Heat steamroll to the 2011 NBA Finals only to completely flame out early and have to see the Dallas Mavericks celebrate an NBA championship on the Heat’s home court.
LeBron took most of the blame for the loss as he disappeared in the crucial moments for the Heat in the Finals.
All of the vitriole, hatred, and overall fan dismay from outside of Miami and the Heat organization hit the Heat, especially LeBron hard in the first year. But as the 2012 season began, the Heat had the familiar faces, but a completely new feel.
During the offseason, Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra learned elements of the spread offense from University of Oregon head football coach Chip Kelly. It gave Spoelstra ideas to put the Heat into open spaces and open the floor up completely for LeBron and Wade to slice through opposing defenses.
It started out with a victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Christmas Day 2011 and sailed along up until the All-Star break. The Heat came out of the break well, but then put it on cruise control in late March and into April.
Some fans and media writers began to question the Heat’s desire, despite LeBron carrying the team as both Bosh and Wade missed significant time for various reasons.
LeBron kept his head up and continued to push the Heat team en route to his third NBA MVP award for the regular season.
As the playoffs rolled around, the Heat started firing on all cylinders and rolled through the New York Knicks in the first round easily.
Then disaster struck in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals as Bosh went down with a lower abominal injury and the Heat had to re-invent themselves again.
Dwyane Wade was also dealing with serious knee issues that led to him scoring just five point in one game against the Indiana Pacers in the semifinals.
But just like the Heat had done so many times before during the season, just when things looked their worst, LeBron refused to let the team go down. He powered the Heat through the semifinals, and Wade bounced back with consecutive 30 and 40 point games.
Once again in the Eastern Conference Finals, the Heat were thought to be in deep trouble as they needed two straight wins to stave off elimination at the hands of the Boston Celtics. LeBron James put on a display in Game 6 and 7 that no other player in the NBA could have matched and pushed the Heat to the Finals.
As the Finals got underway, the Oklahoma City Thunder jumped out ahead and took Game 1 of the serires. Then it clicked for Miami and the ball began rollling downhill in a hurry.
Miami swept the next four games culminating in a 121-106 victory over the Thunder in Game 5 to seal the Heat’s second championship in franchise history.
The Heat have been hated, left for dead, mocked, criticized like no other team, and through it all they remained committed to one singular goal: the NBA champinship.
Just before midnight Friday morning, NBA Commissioner David Stern handed over the Larry O’Brien trophy to the Miami Heat finishing off a journey like no other.
For the Heat fans, players, and especially LeBron James, it was the culmination of a dream that started at the 2008 Olympics, was born in 2010 and finally on June 21, 2012 the Heat awoke from the dream as champions of the world.