I was going to start this off by saying ‘the biggest star to play for the Miami Heat..." when talking about LeBron James and his interview in GQ Magazine. Before even getting to that, the statement I was going to make sprung up a debate in my head. Who is the biggest star to ever play for the Heat?
Thinking of the candidates on that list, its pretty cool that our franchise has had so many great players. Obviously there is Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and LeBron. In our teams past, the next guy would be Shaquille O'Neal and then the lesser guys like Zo and Timmy. And a step below that you can add Glen Rice, Dan Majerle and even Penny Hardaway, who played for the Heat but had all his best years elsewhere.
It makes me think about how our franchise cant be considered a young one anymore. The Heat are over 20 years old now, they have won an NBA title and 7 division titles. In 14 of their 22 seasons the Heat have made the playoffs, and without looking up every other team in the NBA's first 22 seasons I can it's a safe bet that only a few teams could make that same claim.
Also, over the last 15 years the Heat have only missed the playoffs 3 times. When you think about how much the face of the team has changed in that time, it's a real testament to Pat Riley and Micky Arison and their dedication to winning. While the roster has changed, the franchise has been a consistent winner.
So yeah, back to my original point...it's amazing how we have been able to watch the Heat grow from an expansion team to a playoff threat to an NBA champion and now to being on the verge of possibly becoming one of the best teams to ever play this game. But who would you say is the biggest star to play for Miami? Was Shaq a bigger NBA name when he played for the Heat then LeBron or D-Wade is now?
Getting back to LeBron's GQ comments, he opened up a little and gave some insight into things that many of us had been wondering since ‘The Decision'. The thing that I found most interesting was that the ultimate reason he joined Miami was to join his good friends and feel the team camaraderie that he hasn't felt since playing in high school.
I'll let you read the article for yourselves, but here are some highlights.
On his family: "They're happy to see me happy. That's what they can see in my face. They say: ‘It's been a while since we've seen you look like that.'"
On Cavs owner Dan Gilbert: "I don't think he ever cared about LeBron. My mother always told me: ‘You will see the light of people when they hit adversity. You'll get a good sense of their character.' Me and my family have seen the character of that man."
On possibly returning to play for the Cavs someday: "If there was an opportunity for me to return and those fans welcome me back, that'd be a great story.... Maybe the ones burning my jersey were never LeBron fans anyway."
On how his upbringing helps him now: "That's what keeps me humble, because I know my background, know what my mother went through. I never get too high on my stardom or what I can do. My mom always says, and my friends say, ‘You're just a very low-maintenance guy.'"
I'm very happy that LeBron chose to play with the Heat because it makes our team that much better, but I'm really looking forward to getting to know what kind of guy he is. I never really had much of an opinion of him other then knowing he was an amazing basketball player.
Any time there was a reason to poke fun or to hate on him, it was an easy thing to do. When you are on top there are always a ton of people looking to knock you down. Now that he is part of our ‘family' down here in Miami, I really want to know more about him and learn all the positive things that he brings to the table.
Outside of Miami not many people are going to know or even care about any of that stuff, which is why I feel like its important to find out all the positive things he can do other then his on-court abilities. But hey...that's just me. You all can do and think whatever you want about James, but regardless I know we'll all be cheering for him when he steps on the court as a Miami Heat.
Heat 2nd round pick Jarvis Varnado to play in Italy
Jarvis Varnado, who the Heat took with the 41st overall pick in last summer's draft, has signed with Carmatic Pistoia of the Italian League for the 2010-11 season. This move means that the Heat will keep the rights to re-sign Varnado after the season if they so choose.
The shot-blocking specialist did a decent job with the Heat in their summer league, and giving him a year to hone his craft in Europe will only help his chances of someday joining Miami's star-studded roster.