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Miami Heat owner Micky Arison does not often speak in public, so Friday he made the most out of an appearance on Dan LeBatard's radio show on 790 The Ticket. Arison spoke about his team's comeback against Indiana, media coverage of the Heat, and the reasoning behind Miami's now infamous 2010 preseason pep rally.
Arison began by talking about Game 6, saying he was more happy for Udonis Haslem than any other player after Game 6. Knowing how disappointed Haslem was to have been suspended for that game, Arison was relieved he would not have to feel guilty about a loss.
Arison was asked about his opinion on the NBA's decision to suspend Haslem and whether the NBA was not fully taking into account the number of hard fouls levied on Wade and James. Arison tip-toed around that subject gingerly, not wanting to incur a fine from Commissioner David Stern.
Like many other Heat fans, Arison decided to stay away from ESPN after Game 3, when the Heat went down 2-1 to the Pacers. "After Game 3, I stopped reading my Twitter, I stopped watching ESPN, I stopped listening to anybody," he said. "If I listened to all of it I would have fired half our organization and traded half our team."
Thankfully, it all worked out, and "I'm pretty glad I didn't listen to any of those tweets or suggestions."
Arison also claims to have known Wade's Game 3 argument with Erik Spoelstra was a good sign. "I flashed back to Dwyane and Gary Payton going at it [during the first round of the 2006 playoffs], and I said, 'This is a good omen.'"
Arison saved his most choice words for ESPN's coverage of LeBron James. Arison called the hoopla surrounding The Decision in 2010 James' only real mistake during his career, one which was partially enabled by ESPN. "The way ESPN hyped that whole thing, and as soon as he did what they did, they caved in on him and just destroyed him, and I felt bad, I don't think it was deserved," he said.
Arison also challenged the notion that the Heat are universally hated. "That's not true," he told LeBatard, "That's not what I see." Arison countered that on the road he sees plenty of fans rooting for Miami, using a trip to New Jersey at the end of the regular season to illustrate. "80 percent of the fans in the building in Newark were rooting for the Heat and chanting M-V-P" for James," he said.
Arison also refused to apologize from the Heat's 2010 preseason celebration, when James, Wade and Bosh took the stage of the American Airlines Arena and notoriously promised "not 1, not 2, not 3," NBA championships. Arison said he would have still done it, but not televised it.
The logic behind the event was to give Dwyane Wade and whoever else signed for the Heat with him something bigger than what the team did for Shaquille O'Neal in 2004. "If Wade came back with another A-list player, we had to do something to one-up what we did for Shaq," he said.
LeBron James "literally signed the contract and went on stage" the night of the event. Arison said bluntly, "I think it was the right thing to do. We shouldn't have had cameras there and probably should have controlled what was said there a little better."
Any Dolfans yearning for Arison to buy the Dolphins and give Miami's football team some of the magic pixie dust he's clearly been using with the Heat were left disappointed, though. When asked if he would ever do it, Arison said even though he's a Dolphins fan, "that's a no."