New York Times reporter Don Van Natta nails Miami Heat fans in a great piece in today's Times.
Van Natta - a former Miami Herald reporter - examines the enigma surrounding a Heat fan base that's blessed with a roster full of superstars, but that most of the time seems pre-occupied with just about any activity that doesn't actually involve watching the game or cheering for the team.
Ticket holders straggle in long after the opening tip and flee en masse midway through the fourth quarter to beat the traffic.
Meanwhile, the arena’s plush lounges are jammed with fans sipping mojitos, snacking on tapas and taking in the sumptuous Miami skyline. Texting is rarely interrupted for cheering. And when P. Diddy claims his courtside seat — midway through the second quarter, usually — his presence creates more electricity among the nearby high-paying fans than any alley-oop dunk by the Three Kings.
Rick Torrente, a season-ticket holder since 2000, is stunned that some season-ticket holders in his section do not take their seats until halftime. “In general, and I’m sorry to say this and sad to say this: Miami fans are not true fans,” Torrente said. “I have never seen a team work so hard to get people to cheer.”
A Heat home game ranks among the loudest in the N.B.A., but much of the noise is artificial. A platoon of Heat employees, all armed with microphones, repeatedly order fans to cheer. The public-address announcer Michael Baiamonte regularly shrieks, “Ladies and gentlemen, stand up and make some noise for your Miami Heaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat!” A rap D.J. named DJ M. Dot even shouts, “Make some noise.”