It happened one day in July 2010. Two days actually. July 7 and 8. In those 48 hours, professional basketball changed in Chicago and Miami.
Early July 7, Bulls fans still thought The Decision would mean Chitown. Jordan's throne. Rose's home. If LeBron wasn't coming, then certainly Dwyane Wade. Rumor had it Wade wanted to return to Chicago to be closer to his children. Rumor had it he was bringing his friends.
That's the trouble with rumors.
When we woke July 8, Wade was still a member of the Heat, and he'd convinced Chris Bosh to join him. When we woke July 9, James was there too, and the Bulls had settled for Carlos Boozer.
Screw 'em, thought Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and Luol Deng. We'll do it ourselves.
That attitude has carried this Bulls team for three seasons, particularly this year, particularly this postseason.
Meanwhile, the Heat are the target for sports fan frustration. They are the cheaters. The wimps. The guys who teamed up. The guys who didn't want to be like Mike by vanquishing their rivals, but by winning chips however they could.
On the basketball court, I dig the Heat. I do. They are beautiful. And frankly, they are similar to the Bulls—two hard-working, system-oriented teams.
It's easy to look back to July 2010 and realize that if James or Wade had come to Chicago, this series would be different. Most significantly, Rose would be in it, since the presence of another all-star would have given Rose time to rest in 2012.
Instead, Chicago has a team with which it has fallen in love. They are rough. They are tough. They are how Bulls fans see themselves.
So while you curse the Heat for their Dream Team-esque star power, just know you can't appreciate what the Bulls are accomplishing unless a team like the Heat exists. They are yin and yang. Black and white. Water and land. Batman and Joker.
They are the Heat and we are the Bulls. And that's just the way we like it.
Jack M Silverstein is a RedEye special contributor. Say hey @ReadJack.
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