Miami’s Big Three forecast a bright future
CORAL GABLES, Fla. – They weren’t going to mix it up yet. Not on this day. Monday was all about looking ahead for the Miami Heat and their Big Three of Dwyane Wade(notes), LeBron James(notes) and Chris Bosh(notes). James even said as much as he spoke at the Heat’s media day at the University of Miami.
“For me I’ve moved forward,” James said, trying to stay out of the fray. “I don’t want to dwell in the past. There’s been a lot of things said about me, about my family, about this organization and me and Dwyane and C-Bosh, but I’m moving forward. I’m looking forward to training camp. There’s not much you can say once the ball is tossed in the air.”
But all kinds of things have been said in the months leading up to the celebrated start of the Heat’s camp. After James made the July 8 announcement that he was joining Wade and Bosh with the Heat, there’s been a never-ending barrage of slings and arrows cast Miami’s way.
Critics have slapped numerous tags and labels on this new Heat team. Some have called them prima donnas – and worse. Legends Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Charles Barkley have even questioned why The Big Three would want to unite.
“I still respect Mike and I still respect Magic and Charles and the rest of those guys. … I have nothing bad to say about them,” James said. “But I can’t live through those guys. I have to make my own destiny and this is the route I feel like I need to go.”
Barkley, Wade’s buddy from television commercials, said the union of James, Bosh and Wade, and Miami’s ensuing welcome celebration – which featured pyrotechnics, smoke and thousands of cheering fans – was a “punk move.” Still others have tried to heap additional pressure onto the Heat by declaring this one of the greatest teams ever assembled. People have also spoken of how there’s no way this superstar trio can play together because their egos are way too big.
The Heat wanted none of that chatter Monday. As they addressed the more than 300 assembled media members – more than twice the usual media day gathering – they talked about staying focused and staying away from distraction.
“A lot of people are going to try to make it about all these other things,” coach Erik Spoelstra said.
The Heat did their best to diffuse such talk. At one point in Monday’s media session, as Wade sat on the stage flanked by his superstar friends, the batteries in his microphone went dead.
Right on cue, both Bosh and James pushed their microphones in front of Wade.
“Thank you for passing the ball,” Wade quipped.
Translation: Selfishness won’t be a problem.
“The time leading up to training camp a lot of people have got it confused – we came here to play together, we came here to play as a team,” Bosh said. “People are taking the individualism a little bit too much. We’re all going to be good players but we’re all going to work together.”
The Heat stayed above all the trash talk Monday. There were moments of defiance, times when the questions sounded like they would set someone off. James, for example, was asked about going from national hero to national villain.
“I’m cool,” he said. “It’s the game of basketball. I’m having fun, I’m enjoying it. At the end of the day you’ve just got to win. Winning takes care of all that. I’ll go out and let my game do the talking. All that hero-villain mess is bizarre.”
Wade was asked about possibly being booed at visiting arenas.
“If they boo us, they’re not booing us because of the people that we are because a lot of people don’t necessarily know the people that you are,” Wade said. “They’re supporting their team, they’re trying to get their team riled up. That’s just what people do. You can’t take it to heart. We’re going to take the boos and it’s going to be cheers to us on the road. And you’d like to turn those fans into cheering at the end of the game. That’s always the goal.”
The Heat open training camp Tuesday at Eglin Air Force Base in Fort Walton Beach in Florida’s panhandle. It’s a bit unusual for the Heat to leave Miami for a few days, but the team wanted to escape the media crush and other hometown distractions. The only goal for this team is to win the title.
“No one knows who’s going to win the championship until the buzzer sounds in that last game,” Wade said. “We understand the steps we’ve got to take to get to that point. It’s going to be a long journey. But it’s going to be a fun one.”