So, I made it to the Bahamas. Let me paint you a picture. The Atlantis Resort Paradise Island is a mix between Cheesecake Factory, Disney World and a fish tank. Before I run down and watch Dolphins-Saints, here are some highlights from media day ...
The comfort level LeBron James finds himself at entering the Miami Heat’s training camp was measured in jokes Monday during the team’s Media Day at AmericanAirlines Arena.
So at ease with his surroundings, the back-to-back MVP poked fun at himself during his news conference, saying he wasn’t going to be happy in Miami until he won “not 11, not 12, not 13, not 14” championships.
James drew criticism in 2010 when he stated during a party introducing the Heat’s Big 3 that they intended to win, “not one, not two … not six, not seven” titles. When the Heat lost to the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Finals in James’ first season in Miami, his detractors got louder. But the criticism has waned somewhat with James’ two rings the past two seasons.
Some other highlights from today:
• Staying healthy during the long season was the connective theme between nearly all interviews with players. James came back to the theme twice, repeating, “Health is the major thing.”
“If we can stay healthy and we can improve each month then we’ll put ourselves in position to compete for another championship,” James said.
James then reiterated his concern over the team’s health.
“If we’re healthy as a ball club, it doesn’t matter who you put up against us, we can compete with anybody,” James said. “If we’re not healthy, then it’s going to be tougher. It was tougher last year when we weren’t healthy and it was tougher the first year we won it when we weren’t healthy.
“If we can stay healthy or as close to 100 percent healthy as possible, then we’ll be fine.”
• On Dwyane Wade’s knee, coach Erik Spoelstra said, “There’s a major misconception about his health and where he was last year. He had one of his most efficient productive years up until the point he had a bone bruise. It was a bone bruise. It wasn’t a knee issue of wear and tear, something completely different. But that’s fine, the misconception.”
• Spoelstra said the Heat chose to begin training camp in the Bahamas as a reward for last season, but also to cut down on distraction of too many TV cameras.
• The coach’s goal for the Bahamas trip: “At some point during this week … we have to let go of what we did last year. Not going to do it today, but we’re going to have to let it go, but we also have to focus on now and not be obsessed with the future.”
By “future” Spoelstra means the contract decisions looming for so many players on the team after this season.
“Our guys aren’t naive to the business of basketball and I think you have to respect everybody’s point in their careers when they become a free agent,” Spoelstra said. “There is nothing wrong with it, and we absolute respect a player’s opportunity to be free when they earn that opportunity. It doesn’t come along very often.
“So, when you have a team built like this with a big picture, and we understand that we have to come together, we’ve been trained and conditioned probably for this type of moment more than any other team. What we talk about all the time is just focus on now.”
• Wade, looking thin, delivered perhaps the quote of the day when he declared, “I’m the second option on this team. Point blank. Let’s say it. … But I’m a pretty good second option and one of the only second options that averages 20 points a game.”
SOME LEBRON QUOTES
• On his motivation: "I want to be the greatest of all time and that's my motivation. It's that simple, and it's not that simple."
• How close is LeBron to being the greatest? "I'm far, but I can see the light."
• On his marriage: "I got three rings now."
• LeBron on some silly question about vindication: "I don't need to vindicate my decision to come here. I knew I made the right decision when I said it."
• On contract chatter: "For me being the leader of this team I owe it to this organization not to get involved in it."
WADE'S BIG BOMBSHELL QUOTE
• "I’m the second option on this team. Point blank. Let’s say it...But I'm a pretty good second option and one of the only second options that averages 20 points a game."
• Wade on how his health might affect LeBron's decision: "Don't try to put that pressure on me. You can stop that right now."
• Wade on LeBron: "We all know inside our locker room that LeBron is committed to this team."
• On the Heat's potential place in history: "I think we understand this is a once in a lifetime opportunity."
QUOTE OF THE DAY
Goes to Shane Battier, who told me he "drank fewer beers this offseason than any time in his career."
SPOISM OF THE DAY
On Dan Craig's quick rise from the team's video coordinator to assistant coach: "It's been an 11-year overnight process."