Thousands of fans packed the AT&T Center Sunday to watch two of the NBA’s biggest stars take on the Spurs, but just before tip-off the Miami Heat announced that LeBron James and Dwyane Wade would not play.
Heat team officials said the James and Wade, along with point guard Mario Chalmers, were injured.
Many Spurs fans believe the move was payback for coach Gregg Popovich’s decision to send Tim Duncan, Manu Ginóbili, Tony Parker, and Danny Green home before a highly anticipated early season matchup with the Heat in November.
“They're not hurt,” said Ricky Geoerges. “I was telling all my friends for about a week that they're going to do the same thing we did to them over there in Miami,” said Ray Faz.
Poppovich’s decision earned the Spurs a $250,000 fine from the NBA.
Reactions were mixed when fans were asked if the Heat deserved to be fined.
“They deserve a bigger fine because more people are looking forward to this game because it's at the end of the season,” said Miami Heat fan William Hall.
“They're still in attendance,” said Faz. “We get to see them. At least they’re present, so they shouldn’t get fined.”
Other fans simply did not care. “I come to watch the Spurs,” said Geoerges. “The other guys are secondary.”