Is there crying in basketball? Was there, in fact, crying in the Miami Heat locker room after their 87-86 loss to the Chicago Bulls?
No one would be talking about this at all if Heat coach Erik Spoelstra hadn’t told reporters, “There are a couple of guys crying in the locker room.” No sooner had Spoelstra made the statement, stunning reporters, than he came back with “This is a classic example of sensationalism looking for a headline.” This was an odd remark, especially since the writers hadn’t really looking for anything. It was Spoelstra who volunteered the information.
But was he serious or did he mean crying as a metaphor?
On MSG during halftime of the Knicks-Hawks game, Kelly Tripucka apparently didn’t take the coach literally: “I’m not believing that [Heat players were crying in the locker room]. There is no reason to be crying now. “
On ESPN, Chris Mullin took a more, well, sensitive view: “It’s nice. Those guys really care. That’s obvious. Right now it’s important that they don’t overreact. What they have to remember is that all that matters is what they do in the playoffs.”
For myself, there’s only two questions I want answered. I don’t much care, as many in the media seem to, which Heat players cried. What concerns me is that Spoelstra said “There are a couple [sic] of guys crying.” This seems to me to illustrate a deplorable lack of team unity. The team that loses together ought to weep together, or at least hand their heads and cover their faces in solidarity.
When asked about the Heat’s playoff chances, John Boehne, who knows all there is to know about the crying game, wept.
The Miami Herald’s Greg Cote did a fine job of putting this non-story in perspective. “The crying matter, of course, is peripheral to the point, which is that stars LeBron James and Dwyane Wade have been chokers more than clutch when needed most lately. And that Chris Bosh (one shot in the fourth quarter Sunday) is too acquiescent to the Big 2. And that the center position continues as a huge weakness even as the point guard spot has improved. And the bench is weak … Suddenly, Miami slipping to a No. 4 playoff seed seems possible as championship hopes run away.”
The best sum-up of this whole silly episode was from, of all people, Kobe Bryant: “That doesn’t mean they’re chumps. That doesn’t mean they’re soft. It doesn’t mean anything.”