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After the game, [Temple head coach] John Chaney was talking about how badly his players were crying in the locker room. He said it wasn't just about not reaching our goal to make the Final Four. It was because they'd never get a chance to play with each other again. They understood that the pro game was just a business. These guys had chosen to be here, and they're playing as a family and now that's over.
When you're that invested in any activity and spending hours and hours every day together, pain can make you cry. The reason we see it so rarely in the NBA is because it's very, very difficult to get anyone to be that invested. Fundamentally, the reason why is because the origin of an NBA team is not typically one of choice. A good portion of the team is there because they were drafted. They didn't pick their coach. They didn't pick their teammates. They didn't pick their city. They didn't pick the franchise. They just chose the NBA. This doesn't mean that there aren't guys who are fully invested, but you tend not to have that extra dynamic you do in college.
But the Heat are different. It has that. For the most part, those guys weren't drafted by the Miami Heat. They chose to be in Miami, and especially the big three. They have as much ownership over this team and their careers as any player we can imagine. I'm not suggesting it was the big three who were crying. I talked with Udonis Haslem about this exact subject before the season. He's not in Miami playing for a second ring if the big three hadn't thought about him.
Crying is a natural human reaction to pain. As far as Spoelstra's comments. I'm all for honesty, transparency and not treating players as if they're machines. He's not saying anything negative about a player if he says that he's crying. And anyone who reacts in a way that says, "Crying is bad in sports" is still in middle school or high school in terms of their mentality.
I guarantee you with 100 percent confidence those were not the first guys to cry in a locker room. And the reason I can guarantee you is because players I've spoken to have cried in a locker room. It wasn't always from a painful loss. Sometimes it was out of frustration born from an injury. But it wasn't the physical pain from the injury, it was the mental pain.
If a player punches another player in practice or stole money from another player, you have to handle that internally as much as I agree with transparency. But telling the press basically, "My guys are extremely frustrated and feeling so much pain that some of them are in tears," I don't see a single bad thing.
Crying is as natural as eating or breathing. All he was really saying was, "We care! This means something to us! We're not losing glibly here! We are all in! And if I call practice at 5 o'clock tomorrow, my entire team will be there."