Saying that my hometown Miami Heat is the most hated team in the NBA isn't even open for debate. If you're not from around here, you hate the cocky smugness of the three superstars coming together to take their talents to South Beach.

You cringed at ESPN's The Decision. You hated the over-the-top player introductions a few days later. You loved it when Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks crushed the Eastern Conference champs in Game 6 on Sunday night.

The venom was great for advertisers on Disney's (NYSE: DIS) ABC. Sunday night's game drew its largest Game 6 audience in 11 years, 22% ahead of the ratings during last year's hotly contested matchup between the Lakers and Celtics.

Big drama creates big audiences.

Does it end there, though? Can Heat Hate translate into boycotts of the team's biggest backers?

The Heat play at American Airlines Arena, but that's a push. The Mavs play in American Airlines Center. Parent company AMR (NYSE: AMR) can rest easily and probably milk the extra attention of having hosted all six games in this championship series.

Carnival (NYSE: CCL) may not get off so easily. CEO Micky Arison is also the owner of the Heat. Decades of festive travelers afforded the Arison family the opportunity to buy an NBA franchise for Carnival's home city. Will Arison and Carnival feel the same backlash as the team?

It's easy to shake your head at my suggestion, but consider this: If you're a travel agent in Cleveland, how many Carnival cruises do you think you're going to sell?

Just hours after the Mavs ended the Heat's season, Carnival issued an earnings warning. The Monday morning missive claims that unrest in the Middle East and the earthquake in Japan have resulted in 300 deployment changes. That will be good enough for a $0.15 hit in earnings per share during the second half of the year. Pesky fuel costs and weakness in bookings through southern Europe and the United Kingdom will also hold back results. Do the British hate LeBron, too?

You're wondering if I'm being serious, right? Well, kind of, though Carnival is the one brand in its niche that can't afford to have its good name sullied.

Carnival's flagship brand is the cruise line for the masses. Carnival operates several high-end ships, but its namesake vessels are priced for mainstream seafarers. Price similar itineraries through Disney, NCL, and Royal Caribbean (NYSE: RCL), and Carnival will rarely be the critical fave, but it will probably be the cheapest option.

Cruising is awesome. As a shareholder in Steiner Leisure (Nasdaq: STNR) -- the spa operator that runs the pampering palaces aboard most of the industry's largest ships -- I don't want to dissuade anyone from the onboard experience. The deck parties, midnight buffets, and exotic shore excursions will create lasting memories.

However, the Heat Hate is real. And until I see Royal Caribbean, Disney, and NCL parrot Carnival's concerns, I really can't help wondering whether, a few quarters down the line, Carnival's board does the same thing misguided sports journalists have been doing all week in blaming LeBron for coming up short.

Do you still hate LeBron James? Share your thoughts in the comments box below.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.