At first it was brushed off as hater talk. Then it morphed into an athletic, yet trivial, contest of can you top this.
Now it's the question that needs to be answered before a promising season ends in flames that could engulf the hopes of an entire city.
Just whose team is the Miami Heat?
Conventional wisdom would say that the elder statesman of the Three Kings should have the final say so in all matters Heat related, but wisdom seldom translates onto the court.
With every fourth quarter turnover and last-second brick that clangs off the rim or backboard, it becomes evident the sad fact is that this is LeBron James' team to lead to a championship.
The Heat have resorted to the Cleveland Cavalier formula, which resulted in great regular season records and then heartache in the playoffs. Play teams good tough, only to let James dominate the ball in crunch time.
It happened again Sunday night for the world to see. In the final three possessions with Miami down a point against the New York Knicks, James turned the ball over on a lazy pass, got his shot blocked while taking on the entire Knicks front line and then shot a trademark LeBrick three pointer to seal the loss.
A similar scenario played out in Chicago last week and earlier this season against the Boston Celtics.
And while LeBron dribbles down the shot clock and hoists another prayer, the man who should at least touch the ball, D-Wade, never gets a chance to show what he has displayed in the clutch far more times than LeBron: That he can actually make a shot when it really matters.
The melding of LeBron and Wade into a dynamic duo - a Batman and Robin - was supposed to be seamless. LeBron was supposed to become Scottie Pippen 2.0 and Wade would close the show down the stretch.
But it appears James has decided to go commando on South Beach, which is never a good thing. And Spoelstra nor Riley seem willing to stop the freight train that is barreling out of control and threatening to blow up the season.
The Heat have only one win against the elite teams in the league and the new-look Knicks have proved they will be a force come playoff time as well.
With 22 games remaining, it's no longer a question of whose team should it be.
Riley and Spoelstra need to figure out how to get it to him.