How different can two teams be?
The Indiana Pacers and the Miami Heat are a good case study.
Just look at where they come from. Indiana…the Hoosier State. And the capital, which used to be known as Indianoplace or Naptown. The team was nicknamed the “Hicks” by Knicks fans in the ‘90s and it stuck. We’re not even offended by it. All part of our charm.
Then you have Miami. People write songs about Miami. The beach (mostly South Beach), the beautiful women, the fast cars. Well, Indy has those too…at least in May. And there are many beautiful women here, just not quite as exotic. But no one has ever written a hit song about Indianapolis. At least, not that I am aware of. And no…Indiana Beach is no South Beach. And neither is Indiana Dunes.
The teams are as different as the cities they represent. The Pacers have no big star, especially with the loss of Danny Granger this season. They function as a team in the truest sense. They live and die by the passing game, play tough defense, and support each other on and off the court. Their motto is blue collar, smash-mouth basketball. A tight group of hard working guys, all focused on the same goal…winning.
The Heat are a team made up of stars, three in particular: LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh. And they are definitely more Hollywood than back woods. Blue collar…not so much. Designer collar is more like it. Dwyane Wade has generated more headlines for his red carpet fashion than his on court action. Wade has a stylist who works with him to plan his “looks,” which they have already selected for the entire playoffs. By contrast, Lance Stephenson almost attended the last press conference in his underwear. And a towel.
Two teams. As different as they come. Yet here they are together…in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Blue collar versus star power.
Hicks versus VIPs.
Win or go home.
To two very different places that neither team wants to see permanently.
At least…not for a few more weeks.