It's easy to loathe the Miami Heat — regardless if the hatred is baseless or justified. Many fan bases enjoy this practice every season, though the vitriol has died down considerably since LeBron James' inaugural season with Miami.
Dallas Mavericks power forward Dirk Nowitzki, the best player on the only team to eliminate the Heat in the Big Three era, basically feels the same way. Nowitzki didn't openly admit to hating Miami, he's not exactly the most emotional player, but he did say he's pretty close to that point.
Via ESPN Dallas:
"In life, I don't really hate much," Nowitzki said Friday on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM's "Fitzsimmons and Durrett" after taking batting practice to prepare for his Heroes celebrity baseball game. "I'm an easygoing guy, but that's probably about as close as it gets."
It's odd but Nowitzki and the San Antonio Spurs' fan base probably share the same sentiment. Nowitzki's Mavericks haven't exited the first round since their title, and though that isn't Miami's fault, the Heat have won two consecutive titles to make up for their initial failure. Oh, and it also doesn't help that James and Dwyane Wade infamously mocked his fever prior to the pivotal Game 5 of the 2010 Finals. (Nowitzki, playing with a 101-degree fever, got the last laugh; he scored 29 points on just 18 shots, including a perfect 10-for-10 at the foul line.)
San Antonio, meanwhile, was dangerously close to clinching their fifth title last season until Miami corralled a few offensive rebounds and made a couple timely 3-pointers. That bitter taste, even if the Spurs largely exceeded expectations, isn't one that goes away easily.
Here's the silver lining, Spurs fans: At least you are in good company. Dirk feels the same way, too! (Actually, there is no silver lining. I'm sorry. I don't know what else to say.)