6 reasons to mock--or pity--Heat fans

As a basketball team, the Miami Heat are a sight to behold. They pass. They dunk. They defend. And they have the best player in the world. What's not to like?

Everything else about the franchise, though, can get under your skin. And women who flip off Joakim Noah are just the tip of the iceberg. So if you're looking for reasons to tease the Heat, here are six good ones, with help from Bulls fan and seven-year Miami resident Robbie Karver.

1. Their fans needed to be taught how to cheer

Does a fan base that needs an instructional manual on how to cheer deserve such a fine team? Karver explains:

"About a year ago, they had to put instructions of how to cheer on every seat or every other seat [of American Airlines Arena]. They had guys walking around the stadium to let fans know when were the times to get excited and not excited, and when to make noise and not make noise, and things like that.

"I'm not making this up. Heat fans were so melancholy, they had to actually give them an announcement that was like 'Guys, you need to be louder. You need to get into the games, especially in the first and second quarter,' and then in the third and fourth quarters you had guys running around who work for the stadium trying to pump up the crowd."

2. Their fans have no passion

"They'll leave [playoff games] early," Karver said. "I'm sure a couple Bulls fans left during Game 4 against the Nets [when the Bulls erased a huge deficit in the fourth quarter], but that Heat stadium would have been half-empty.

"In Chicago, you might sell your ticket, but you're going to make sure to sell it to a Bulls fan. Heat fans don't adhere to that. They just sell their ticket to whoever. I'll always ask: 'Are you a Bulls fan?' 'Hell yeah!' And then you sell your ticket."

3. Their stadium is a "club"

American Airlines Arena opened in 1999, and like all modern basketball stadiums, it's filled with box seats, a loud sound system, lights, fan games, raffles and so on. But according to Karver, Miami has pushed these trends to new levels.

"The stadium feels like the inside of a club," he said. "There's a DJ. Their scoreboard feels like it was created out of like 'Alien vs. Predator' or something like that. It's a very strange experience. And the stadium is empty midway through the first quarter."

The Heat also like to brag that their stadium has "the largest digital LED display in the Southeast region of the United States." Quite an achievement.

4. They retired No. 23 … for Michael Jordan

You read that right. Before MJ's final game in Miami during the 2002-03 season, the Heat retired Jordan's No. 23, which hangs from their rafters. "No one will ever wear number 23 for the Miami Heat," said then-coach Pat Riley. "You're the best."

"Yeah, it's a joke," Karver said. "But you ask the real Heat fans, the only ones who I respect, and they kind of just shake their heads and say, 'Yeah, we retired Jordan. Whatever.'"

But wait – it gets better. Though the jersey now hanging is a standard red Bulls jersey, the jersey originally hanging from the rafters was half Bulls red and half Wizards blue.

Also, it was the first jersey the Heat retired. They later retired the jerseys of actual Heat players Alonzo Mourning and Tim Hardaway.

5. A list of the franchise's most memorable moments would include …

>> The P.J. Brown vs. Charlie Ward brawl.

>> The Alonzo Mourning vs. Larry Johnson brawl, complete with Jeff Van Gundy hanging from Alonzo Mourning's legs.

>> The Decision.

>> That weird celebration party. You know what I'm talking about: "Not one, not two, not three …"

6. They probably wouldn't be embarrassed by anything on this list.

In fact, they probably stopped reading this halfway through.

Jack M Silverstein is a RedEye special contributor. Say hey @readjack.

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