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Larger Than Life ... Or Zo, At Least

The fact that LeBron James brought a larger-than-life image to the Miami Heat when he decided to take  LeBron-Heat his  "talents to South Beach" came as no surprise to his new organization.

But seeing how LeBron stacks up - literally - around AmericanAirlines Arena these days was enough to leave Heat president Pat Riley astonished. And if you've been around Poker-face Pat long enough, you'd understand just how difficult it is to leave this man awestruck.

LeBron might not actually be bigger than life. But he's apparently just as large as Alonzo Mourning - both in image and mass - according to Riley.

During his conference call with select local beat writers entering the weekend, Riley could do nothing but gush over the physical presence of LeBron when he arrived at the arena for a recent workout.

"We just weighed him the other day, and we were even more surprised than other people," Riley said. "He's 6-9, two hundred and - no, 6-9 and 333 pounds, and six percent body fat. He's got a power forward's body. He's standing next to Zo the other day, and he's the same size as Zo. Same length. And there's a guy that's probably going to play point guard for us, but is also going to play (power forward)."

That "Zo" is the same Alonzo Mourning who was listed at 6-10 and 261 pounds during his playing days. It's almost sick to imagine someone his size and weight pushing the ball at point guard. But that's what seems to be in store for the Heat.

Riley, of course, was kidding about James weighing 333 pounds. We think. You'd be getting into Shaq territory then. But there's no doubt that LeBron is built like the Incredible Hulk of the hardwood. He's a guy you can put at any position and create a highly favorable mismatch.

At guard, LeBron is too big and powerful to defend.

At forward, James is too skilled for defenders to contend.

And at center, he wouldn't even have to pretend.

Bron-Bron (or is it Bam-Bam) is strong enough to bang defensively for limited stretches, and can practically do whatever he wants in the post against most centers outside of Los Angeles, Orlando and Boston.

So Riley isn't just dreaming big, he's seeing big - right in front of his eyes.

LeBron's presence is impacting the organization in numerous other ways, too. Importing LeBron is unlike incorporating any other player in the NBA. He's his own entity as an employment stimulus package.

The Heat is making room on its training staff for LeBron's conditioning guy. The team also is beefing up its security structure, which will include LeBron's personal overseer. And there's even discussions to bulk up the organization's public relations and marketing departments because of the demands associated with this man, his team and what this new-look Big 3 of Wade, Bosh and Bron represents.

Riley has agreed to similar arrangements in the past, most notably bring in Shaq's personal support team and also adding Tim Grover, Wade's fitness guru of choice, as a consultant.

"We're going to beef up the security part of this thing, because we feel like there might be a lot of attention with our guys," Riley said. "We have to staff up in some areas."

WadeOlympics Riley joked he also must alter his personal moniker for Dwyane Wade. During Wade's remarkable run to an Olympic Gold medal two years ago, followed by an MVP-worthy season in 2008-09, Riley used to text Wade with the message: B.I.W.

"(Wade) asked me what that meant one night," Riley said. "And I said, 'Best in the World.' But I just can't say that randomly anymore. When you're talking about conceivably the best player in the world, we can have a debate with Dwyane also."

LeBron has yet to get through his first practice with the Heat. But his larger-than-life presence alone already has carved out territory alongside the greatest players in franchise history.

(For live news, notes and updates on the Heat, follow me on Twitter @ twitter.com/WallaceNBAHeat. To post a question or join our live Heat chat each Thursday from 1-2 p.m., click here.)

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