Posted on: August 22, 2011 2:58 pm
Posted by Royce Young
Dwyane Wade loved playing up the "us against the world" idea last season. He'd makes jokes like, "Oh, a bunch of reporters here today so I guess the Heat lost last night." He said that everyone got what they wanted with Miami falling in The Finals.
He was mostly right, but the "woe is us" theme was kind of annoying. Actually check that. Really annoying. Especially when it was pretty much entirely brought on by themselves with "The Decision" and then the celebration party before they'd even practiced.
In an interview with ESPN Radio in Milwaukee, Wade was asked about his comments after Game 6 how he said everyone was happy the Heat lost. His response:
“At that point it was me. Obviously we went through a lot last year. It was unfair some of the stuff that we had to endure but we grew from it. That’s over with. We move on to whenever we play basketball again and we will be a different team.”
Was it unfair? Yeah, probably so. The Heat were under an incredible microscope all season long with every loss, every bad possession, every accidental bump, every locker room cry being broken down and analyzed every which way. But like I said, they knew this way coming because they kind of asked for it. Going out and proclaiming multiple titles are coming their way and basically acting like everything would be cake is what raised everyone's ire.
Were people happy the Heat lost? Absolutely. Was the coverage and treatment of them probably unfair? Yeah, most likely. But is that any kind of excuse? No way. You've got to play with distractions whatever they may be. Just because the Heat column ratio between wins and losses was something like one to 100 doesn't mean it's an excuse. Like Wade said, you've got to endure.
Problem was, they didn't ever even learn. Remember when they intentionally made fun of Dirk's sickness during The Finals? At least that's what Wade said they were doing. They were just "testing" the media. I guess they got us good because everyone made a big stink. But that lack of awareness is ultimately one of the reasons the Heat didn't work this first season. Wade can say it was unfair all he wants, but if that's the case, don't ask for more of it. Handle your business, play ball and shut up. And eventually, everyone else will too.
Posted on: August 22, 2011 11:00 am
Edited on: August 22, 2011 11:02 am
Posted by Ben Golliver.
Don't bother with condolence cards or bouquets of flowers. We've learned at least one thing during the NBA lockout: NBA superstars today prefer suffering in silence.
Miami Heat All-Star forward adds his name to the list of All-Stars who transformed into shut-ins following their elimination from the 2011 NBA playoffs.
"It was the worst week I ever had," James told HoopsHype.com when asked about the week following his NBA Finals loss to the Dallas Mavericks. "I hate losing."
And what did he do to pass the time?
"I did nothing," James replied. "Nothing at all."
James' comments mirror those made to the Sun-Sentinel back in July by his teammate, Heat All-Star guard Dwyane Wade.
"The sting is always going to be there when you lose," Wade said at the time. "Obviously, it was my first time ever losing the Finals. The sting is there, no question about it."
Wade also admitted that he purposefully avoided watching basketballl on television.
"I haven't watched ESPN in a long time," Wade added. "It's still hard to watch basketball."
It wasn't just the Heat who took their elimination hard. NBA MVP Derrick Rose, whose Chicago Bulls were eliminated in the Eastern Conference Finals by Miami, said in a Yahoo! Sports interview that he locked himself in his house after losing.
"Being that close [to the NBA Finals], and not getting it, hurt," Rose said. “I just stayed inside the whole time. I didn’t go anywhere else. I wore pajamas, watched a lot of movies, drank Powerade and got delivery food."
Three players at the top of the game with three distinct personalities all responding to losing in the same way. It's no great revelation, but it is interesting.
I suppose it shouldn't be surprising. With the physical toll of a long season, the disappointment that goes with falling short of a goal, the increasingly intense media scrutiny and the heavy travel schedule that comes with the playoffs, the default setting at the start of the offseason for players asked to play huge minutes and carry the load on offense would be recuperation. Not to mention, licking wounds is usually a very personal endeavor.
Posted on: August 21, 2011 12:59 pm
Edited on: August 21, 2011 1:24 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver.
If you're like me, you read the extensive accusations levied against the University of Miami last week -- charges of arranged prostitution, millions of illegal benefits, strip club parties and the like -- and wondered one thing: Where are the professional athletes in this picture?
While dozens of University of Miami football players were implicated by jailed ponzi schemer Nevin Shapiro in the Yahoo! Sports article, there was really no mention made of the presence of professional athletes. Given how hard Shapiro's boostering allowed the Hurricanes to party, it was a touch surprising there were no cameo appearances from members of the Heat, Dolphins, Marlins or Panthers. Those circles certainly must have crossed on a yacht, in a strip club or at a luxury hotel at some point, right?
The Miami Herald reports that Brian D. Elias, a bowling alley operator and friend of Shapiro's, said that Shapiro's social circle did include two prominent members of the 2006 NBA Champion Heat: guard Dwyane Wade and center Shaquille O'Neal.
The nice thing about being a professional athlete is that the artificial barriers to enjoyment and excess imposed by the NCAA simply don't exist. Making it rain at a strip club with stock market titans is just another day in the week. Sure, compliance officers are replaced by the paparazzi, but, all things considered, that's not the worst trade in the world. As long as you conduct yourself as something resembling a gentleman and pay your tab, the threat of future lawsuits or NCAA violations don't cross your mind or kill the buzz.
All things considered, this is a shaky secondhand link. Knowing Shapiro, though, you've got to wonder whether he's got three boxes full of pictures and autographed photos. One wonders if this is the tip of the iceberg or if this will prove to be an isolated statement by an associate. It could always have been a lying boast by Shapiro in the first place, too.
Posted on: August 20, 2011 11:01 am
Edited on: August 20, 2011 11:02 am
Posted by Ben Golliver.
This weekend, Miami Heat All-Star guard Dwyane Wade hosted a fantasy basketball camp for a bunch of adults who wish they could play like him.
The Associated Press reports that all Wade could think about were the two guys who he wishes he could play like: Chicago Bulls guard Michael Jordan and Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant.
Wade is 29 years old, that magical point where an NBA player generally reaches his athletic apex and has the right amount of experience to get the most out of it. While his career has been sensational to this point, the next two seasons represent Wade's prime, even if his numbers might be compromised to some degree because he plays with two All-Stars now in James and Bosh.
In other words, this really is winning time for Wade. By comparison, at the same age, Bryant was about to embark on back-to-back NBA titles after losing to the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals. Jordan, meanwhile, was just putting the finishing touches on his first three-peat, about to take some time off to play baseball before putting together another three-peat.
We noted a few weeks back that Jordan is essentially out of reach for Bryant to catch him. That goes for Wade too. Unless the Heat are capable of putting together a massive dynasty unlike anything the modern NBA has seen, Wade won't be able to catch Jordan in the winning department and earlier injuries virtually ensure he can't catch Jordan on the statistics front.
Bryant is an excellent model for Wade, though. Both went through mid-career swoons after early success, although Wade's one title certainly wasn't quite the same as Bryant's three-peat. Both waited patiently (or impatiently) for a new cast to assemble, one loaded with talent and more than capable of bringing home the hardware. Each suffered a Finals defeat -- Bryant to the Celtics, Wade to the Mavericks -- as the group got its postseason bearings. Bryant then brought home two more titles while Wade and the Heat appear to be the odds-on favorites to win the next two titles.
There's a lot at stake here. If the Heat manage to roll off a three-peat, Wade vaults into the conversation as the best two-guard not named Michael Jordan. If he's only able to net one -- or, in a worst case scenario -- if the Heat can never assemble the right scrap parts around the Big 3, history isn't likely to treat him nearly as kindly. It's unusual for a player as skilled and successful as Wade to have such a wide range of possibilities for his legacy this late in his career, but that's the situation facing him.
And that's why he's putting the onus on his team's improvement on his own shoulders.
Posted on: August 15, 2011 5:35 pm
Edited on: August 15, 2011 5:37 pm
Posted by Royce Young
This time last year, the smoke was finally starting to clear from LeBron James' one-hour special announcing his free agency destination. Finally, the dust was settling and we were all continuing with our regularly scheduled programming of being bored (and hot) in August.
There's been a lot of time to reflect on "The Decision" with LeBron even saying things probably could've been handled differently. And while LeBron's taken most of the beating from that night, it really had a large impact on his new team. Immediately, with a strong contribution from the way LeBron announced his intentions, the Heat were America's most hated team. Not just LeBron. But joining him was Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh at the front of the table.
Bosh joined ESPN Radio to talk about the usual list of stuff you talk about while the NBA's locked out in August -- playing overseas, last season, next season, etc -- but he was also asked about "The Decision." Specifically, do you think it should've been handled differently or should everyone just own up to it?
“I say you own up to it. We all make mistakes. I think anybody would be kidding themselves if they thought they were perfect at anything. I mean why change it? We’ve already went through with everything. Whether good or bad, whether it was a good decision or bad decision, or we should have done this, could of done that, if we would of done this. We are here now. Everything has happened, so let’s just own up to it. Yeah we did it. Yes. If it was a mistake? If I see it as a mistake and here’s the reasons why, but here’s the reasons why it is going to help us in the long run.”
I think there's a bit of confusion here as to if we're talking about just the one-hour program, or the whole process of it, which would include the crazy South Beach celebration party before the team even practiced. (I think that's what Bosh means here, along with the three players coming together.)
But he's certainly keen on taking responsibilty for whatever he feels like taking responsibility for. He's right: You can't wish you would've signed with the Mavericks or Bulls now. You're with the Heat. Unless they decide to trade you, you're there and it's your job to figure out how to win. That was the commitment those guys made when they put their names on the paper with Pat Riley and they're going to try and follow through.
"The Decision" was a huge mistake. The events that took place immediately after were too. You can't change it now, you can just move forward. And the best way to make everyone forget, or at least maybe forgive, is to win. That's how it works.
Posted on: August 5, 2011 10:35 am
By Matt Moore
In the ever-escalating battle between those who do and do not think that players heading to China to play is a viable option, we have some new developments.
First there was a report last weekendthat the Chinese government and CBA (that's Chinese Basketball, not Collective Bargaining) officials were working on a rule change to prohibit opt-out clauses from being included in any contract for an NBA player during the lockout. Many skeptics of the "China plan" ho-ho-ho'd the development, laughing off the absurdity squashed beneath the ruling of such a powerful entity. On Wednesday, noted Chinese basketball site NIUBBall.com reported that teams are examining ways to circumvent the ruling, essentially because they don't really care what that powerful entity says. The quick answer? Why not just make an agreement with the player to release them instead of instituting a formal contract provision? From NIUBBall.com:
The answer is unclear, which is why teams are growing more and more convinced that they can negotiate an under-the-table agreement with players that would guarantee a return to America after a set period of time or after the lockout ends. To remain in line with CBA policy, the team would then sign an official one-year deal consistent with the CBA’s rules prohibiting an out-clause, which would be turned in to and approved by the league office. After the player left, the team could point to the official contract and state a variety of reasons for why the player left — breach of contract, injury, inability to adapt to China, etc. — and claim no responsibility for the player’s departure. With a league approved contract on file in league headquarters, there wouldn’t be any way for the league to prove foul-play.via NiuBBall.com » Teams searching for ways to get NBA superstars to China.
So now the question becomes whether players can trust their Chinese teams to uphold terms of the under-the-table agreement, and what response the CBA would have to breach of contract if the team did not wish to pursue any action against the player. Oddly enough, the CBA should learn something the NBA is already very familiar with: the teams make the rules. It doesn't really matter what the organizing body says if the teams that comprise the league choose to ignore it.
People are still very doubtful that there's enough money in China to make the trip worth it to players, but again I'll ask about the sponsorship money. Salary money to NBA stars is often the lowest total they get in a year, at least in a per-hour manner. And the financial ramifications of building a base in China go far beyond this season. Developing that by playing there for a year will cement income for years to come. It's tapping a wide-open market that they can only barely scratch in the offseasons, and yet they try to anyway, like Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony, and Chris Paul's Chinese tour a few weeks ago. Imagine that potential augmented by actually playing for a local team.
One thing that has been confirmed by NIUBBall.com is that the contract offer for Dwyane Wade from one of the clubs, reported by a local newspaper earlier this week, was denied by the team's general manager. Wade's the kind of player you can't believe will go overseas, based solely on his injury history. Kobe Bryant is older, and has had knee, finger, and ankle injuries in the past two years and is still in better shape than Wade physically. Bryant's also much more likely to ignore sound medical advice and go off of what he "feels."
But still, no one's signed in China. The cupboard is full (or bare, depending on how you look at it). So clearly the rush is not on. There will continue to be questions about how this whole thing will work out, and the only thing that's truly certain is that no one really knows. We're in uncharted territory, feeling our way through just like the players, the NBA, the CBA, and its teams.
Posted on: August 4, 2011 5:51 pm
Edited on: August 4, 2011 6:04 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver.
The criticism has finally become too much for Miami Heat All-Star forward LeBron James. The criticism of Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow, that is.
James took to Twitter on Wednesday night to lash out at a television analyst critical of Tebow's skills and defend the second year quarterback out of the University of Florida.
"Tim Tebow will succeed in the NFL," James declared. "He's a hard worker, a student of the game, a natural born leader and most of all a WINNER! It takes time and he'll be nice ... The man hasn't even play a full season and its only his 2nd year in. Guys get on that TV and act like they was all WORLD when they played. How [about] encouraging him and wishing him the best instead of hating!!"
The CBSSports.com Eye On Football guys have more here.
Those tweets are just a goldmine for armchair psychoanalysts. Think James is taking out all of his frustration with being the most criticized player in the NBA by defending Tebow? Run wild. Think James is fed up with the NBA's broadcasting core that is filled with second-tier players taking shots at him? That will play. Think James feels that he is above criticism because no one else can play the way he does? A bit of a stretch, but definitely possible.
Before we celebrate and praise James standing up for a maligned, well-intentioned athlete like Tebow, let's not forget the complete hypocrisy in his statements.
Let's take a quick trip back to June when the Dallas Mavericks were stomping James' Heat in the NBA Finals. Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki could be described exactly how James describes Tebow: hard worker, student of the game, natural born leader and winner. When Nowitzki was mopping the floor with the Heat did James offer Nowitzki nothing but encouragement, wishing him the best on his way to his first title?
Absolutely not. Instead, James pursued the definition of "hating", teaming up with guard Dwyane Wade to mock Nowitzki for being sick in a lame attempt to besmirch his toughness and diminish his team's accomplishments. Unable to process the fact that he was losing on the NBA's biggest stage, he copped out by trying to tear down Nowitzki, an action that spoke a lot louder than whatever critique Tebow had to endure about his game.
James certainly has received more than his fair share of criticism over the last year or so. But the media exists, in part, to provide sober -- often harsh -- judgements of athletes. Blind cheerleading is a job best left for groupies, entourages, handlers, diehard fans (should they choose) and team public relations staffs. Nobody wants to watch or listen to that.
Posted on: August 1, 2011 1:58 pm
Edited on: August 1, 2011 2:10 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver.
Miami Heat All-Star forward LeBron James is reportedly not interested in playing basketball overseas if the the ongoing NBA lockout leads to a work stoppage; Heat All-Star guard Dwyane Wade said he would reportedly consider it.
The Miami Herald reports that All-Star forward Chris Bosh, the final member of Miami's so-called "Big 3", might be interested too.
Not only is Dwyane Wade open to considering overseas overtures should the lockout extend into the season, but Chris Bosh is, too, according to their agent, Henry Thomas.Europe and Asia just exchanged glances with each other and then simultaneously blurted out, "No, thank you, we're good."
In just one season in Miami, Bosh emerged as the third wheel of the group. While all three are All-Star talents making comparable sums of money, James and Wade are significantly better on the court and are massively more recognizable and marketable off the court, especially globally.
Bosh is on the books next season for $16 million with steady increases through 2015-2016. In other words, he has a load of guaranteed money coming to him and jeopardizing that by playing and taking a chance with injuries would be a huge risk. That risk looks even worse because Bosh would only be able to command a small fraction of his salary overseas, as major international teams aren't exactly looking to shell out top dollar for often-mocked, second-tier star, perimeter-oriented big men.
Further, Bosh is just 27 years old and has yet to win a ring, so he's got nothing but time to wait out a lockout and start anew on another long road to the NBA Finals.
The only way a premier star with a contract situation like Bosh would go overseas is if someone gives them a "Godfather" offer, one so large that it simply can't be refused. Who is going to shell out such dough for the Heat's Fredo?