Ray Allen Blames Media for the Miami Heat’s Bandwagon Fans

Miami Heat fandom reached its lowest point to date in the 2013 NBA Finals — hundreds of fans bolted Game 6 early thinking the San Antonio Spurs had won the title, and were criticized by everyone including Heat players. Ray Allen thinks the media is to blame for creating such fickle support, and offered his thoughts on how the NBA should market itself. Per the WaPo: “Ray Allen — who helped accept some of the hardware on Wednesday — happened to be in The Post newsroom last week, as part of his trip to Washington to testify in favor of federal funding for research aimed at finding a cure for diabetes. In between health policy talk, I asked him about bandwagon fans. ‘When we go on the road, you see people in Heat jerseys that have never been to Miami,’ Allen said with a smile. ‘We were in Utah, and I thought that same thought — like, these people, some of these people, have never been to Miami before. I think it’s the machine of SportsCenter….Look at all the media outlets, from First Take to PTI to Around the Horn, that talk about the same stuff. We haven’t played for two weeks, and I think every time I turn on SportsCenter, they talked about LeBron in some form. And he hasn’t done anything but just be on vacation. So as much as we blame the fans for being bandwagon, it’s mostly the media’s fault. Because the media’s the one that continues to feed the machine.’ […] Allen said Heat fandom in Utah is ‘absolutely cool’ and ‘there’s nothing wrong with it,’ but he also said he’d like to see an NBA in which more people rooted for more teams. ‘I went to a Lakers game when I was young, and at the time I was a Lakers fan,’ he told us. ‘When the Lakers and the Pistons played, I knew everybody on the Lakers team, and I knew everybody on the Pistons team. And I thought the Lakers and the Pistons played 20 times a year, because that’s all they ever talked about, that’s all they ever showed … The way the league is portrayed is what [the media] puts out there,’ he continued. ‘So for people all over America, that’s what you see on a daily basis. That’s ultimately what you’re going to end up cheering for and liking. People know Norris Cole more than they know anybody in the starting five for the Charlotte Bobcats, and Norris Cole comes off the bench for us in Miami, just as well as I do. If it’s anybody’s fault, it’s the league’s fault, because we need to do a better job of marketing every team — players, bios, everything. I think the NFL does a great job of that,’ he went on. ‘You talk about every team, every Sunday. I truthfully would like to see even the bad teams [in the discussion]; if you talk about them, you put the pressure on them to have to be better. You can’t be a basement-dwelling NBA team if people are talking about you over and over again and putting the pressure on you to be good. We get that in the big markets; you’re gonna get enough pressure put on you where you’re gonna have to put a contender out there, and you’re gonna have to spend money. In the NFL, every team is in the spotlight one game a week, every Sunday, so you’ve got to put on your best show and your best face to get better continually. As great as the NBA is, that’s something we could do better,’ he concluded. ‘That bottom quarter of teams in the NBA that kind of always hover there — there has got to be a way to make sure they continue to put pressure on them to be better.'”