Your turn: How do you feel about LeBron and the Heat now?

When LeBron James announced last summer where he was taking his talents -- turning his back on his hometown of Cleveland and disgusting sports fans across America with his choreographed performance on ESPN -- he became the NBA's public enemy No. 1 outside of South Beach.

Over the past 10 months, we were subjected to things like ESPN.com's Heat Index, websites calling for coach Erik Spoelstra's head, a slew of stories on the Miami chemistry experiment (heck, even Fast Company recently got in the act), and this photo that made many Heat haters' blood boil. Talk about Heat overload.

But after a rocky start to the season and a rough patch two months ago, the Heat are, well, on fire in "NBA Jam" speak. LeBron, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh have figured it all out, and with last night's 97-87 victory, they eliminated the veteran Celtics in five games to advance to the conference finals.

"I knew I couldn't do it myself against that team," James said last night after finally surviving the Celtics in the playoffs, "and I knew that was the team I had to get over the hump against."


It's that kind of attitude that irked many fans -- and plenty of his peers and predecessors -- back in July. LeBron was called a coward for creating a superteam in Miami. He was the reigning MVP but he didn't want to be the go-to guy every night like players such as Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant demanded.

Personally, I didn't mind all that. Yeah, I thought he was soft for not trying to win a title alone, but I'm not going to fault him for taking less money to go play with his buddies. Given the choice between Cleveland and sunny Miami, that one is a no-brainer. What irked me -- and most people -- was "The Decision," which was a shameless idea dreamt up by a dangerously-inflated ego.

But I'm conflicted. As much as I wanted to see the Heat fail at the start of the season, part of me is pulling for them now. For one, I've always been a big fan of Wade, a gutsy guard who is hard not to love. And with many critics saying from the get-go that Miami's big three couldn't co-exist and that there was no way they could win it all this year, I can't help but admire them as they figure it out.

If Miami does end up winning at all, I'll have mixed emotions about LeBron hoisting the trophy. But I don't think it will make me sick to the stomach like the thought of it did during "The Decision."

Your turn: How do you feel about LeBron James and the Heat now? Has your opinion changed since "The Decision" for better or for worse? Or have you been pulling for them all along?

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