The expectations for this Miami Heat team have been unthinkably high, even before they opened training camp this week. Now their first public viewing is only a few days away. The Heat open up the preseason on Tuesday night against the Detroit Pistons. All eyes will be on Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh. All ears however, might be on LeBron James. You see, while Head Coach Eric Spoelstra has been focusing on defense during training camp, James continues to divert focus away from the basketball court, by continuing to comment on all the reasons people don’t like him the way they used to.
Dear Pat Riley, please keep LeBron James away from any microphone or recording device until after the All-Star break. Of course, we might be able to make an exception for ESPN reporter Rachel Nichols. She has been staying away from questions where James might start driving the interview down pity street. Besides, I believe the U.S. would rather see her on TV over Jim Gray any day of the week. Well, all of America except for Mr. Gray. LeBron seems to be using every media encounter as a chance to defend himself and his decision to play for the Heat. The unfortunate byproduct of this is that he keeps digging a bigger and bigger hole for himself public image wise. I have to wonder when he brought race in to the conversation, if it was his idea or something suggested to him by his ever-so-wise advisers. As Wade acknowledged, the subject of race is always out there, but is that really why James’ popularity dipped so dramatically? Please. I think the biggest issue with the race card is that it’s divisive in general. If you are trying to rebuild your image, playing that hand only makes the process longer, not to mention potentially undermining instances where race has been a real factor. To be clear, I am not saying that people aren’t more loyal to people of there own race sometimes. It is not necessarily a good thing, but it is a fact. To think however, that a large part of the reason that people outside of Miami don’t like what LeBron did is based on his race vs. theirs, just seems like a very big stretch. On top of that, nobody is going to want to feel sorry for a multimillionaire athlete in his prime, no matter what his ethnicity. Everybody is ready for the drama to be pushed aside and the playing to begin.
When the focus turns to the court, the sense of anticipation is heightened to say the least. The reality of seeing Wade share his house with James and Bosh this season should be unreal. Plus, after Riley assembled the rest of the team, it doesn’t appear like a team of “hired guns”. In fact, by keeping such mainstays as Udonis Haslem, Joel Anthony, and Mario Chalmers, this Heat team looks very familiar. It will be very interesting to see how this team plays against the other top-tier clubs like Boston, Orlando, and of course the Lakers. So it is time to play some ball, and Mr. James, when the microphone heads your way, please dish it to D-Wade, Bosh, Riley, or even Carlos Arroyo. It will be a welcome assist.
About the Author
Written by Sean Eckhardt
Univ of Alabama alumni. Born and raised outside Chicago, IL. Currently live in Florida. Some of my favorite teams include the Chicago Cubs, Minnesota Vikings, Miami Heat, and the Florida Panthers. My interests outside of sports include music, outdoor activities, and anything with a motor(cars, bikes, boats, etc...).