It's Media Day again at the AmericanAirlines Arena and coach Erik Spoelstra was the first to face the huge media crowd that had assembled in the interview room near the team's locker room. Looking rested and content, Spoelstra opened with how excited he was to see everyone back and working together for the common goal of another successful run at the championship.
"It's invigorating for us to be back," Spoelstra remarked. "It's great to see all the guys in the locker room. The majority of them have already been in for the last two to three weeks but this is an exciting time of the year. I already starting to feel this about the middle of August."
Spoelstra wasted no time in observing how far they've come since assembling the Big 3 two years ago, what lies ahead to win another title and the challenges they face in keeping their place on top of the mountain.
"This whole thing started two years ago and one of the big words we mentioned was ‘sacrifice'. Everybody had to sacrifice a large part of who they were...and their time, role, money, all these things to be a part of a special team. We're all going to start together again from the beginning. None of us have been through this before and that type of opportunity is really invigorating to be able to play for it again. We know how difficult it is to start from the very beginning of the starting line and trying to climb that mountain again. We're looking forward to the challenge...and our guys are looking forward to starting tomorrow."
For his part, Spoelstra refuses to keep the perspective that the Miami Heat will attempt to repeat as champions. What's done is done and the 2011-12 NBA Championship has been attained, but now the team is starting at the same point as all the other NBA teams are.
"I'm not even going to use the word ‘repeat'. We have an opportunity to win another title. Being around winning teams and two championship teams, I have a deep seated respect for how hard it is. It's hard to win one. Everybody will be gunning for us this year. Teams have loaded up. They're primed and ready to take on the champions. It's a different challenge for us this year. It's a cliche to say it's harder to win the second time. It's just difficult. You have to commit fully, reinvest into the team. We think we've improved in the offseason. Our veteran players have great perspective, they came in, in good condition and with a good mindset.
"We're looking at this as an opportunity to win a title. This is a completely new journey for us. To go be able to go through an 82 game season, try to improve, hopefully peak at the right time and persevere through moments of truth of that second season. We're looking forward to it. We're the only team right now that has an opportunity to win two titles in a row."
More exclusive Heat coverage of the Media Day will continue on Hot Hot Hoops. Stay tuned for more...