Training camps have opened up ahead of the National Basketball Association season, but much of the attention is sure to be focused on the Miami Heat. That's where Cavaliers star free agent guard LeBron James landed after his often criticized decision to leave Cleveland to join good friends Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh with the Heat. But the three players are anxious to put the attention back on basketball.
In July, after weeks of speculation as to whether LeBron James would stay with the Cavaliers, the response was overwhelmingly negative when the NBA superstar chose to reveal his plans to go to Miami in a highly publicized national TV special known as "The Decision." James was vilified by Cleveland's media as a traitor and fans responded by gathering to burn his jerseys and posters in protest.
But with pre-season games fast approaching and the anti-LeBron backlash a fading memory, Miami's new Big-Three was presented to the media at their first joint news conference. James says he is ready to start playing. "It seems like it has been a year since July. There's been a lot said and a lot done since then, so we're happy just to get to the basketball side of things. I know I'm excited - I know these two guys up here are excited just to focus on basketball," he said.
James was obviously hurt by the harsh criticism he received over the past three months. But he says he will use it for motivation. "I've moved forward. I don't want to dwell on the past. You know, there's been a lot of things said about me, about my family, about this organization about me and Dwayne and C- [Chris] Bosh. But I'm moving forward," he said.
With each of the men being a star in his own right, some have questioned if their different styles can meld together on the court and whether there will be enough room in the spotlight for all of them. But Wade discounted the idea, saying all three would play unselfishly. "If ego was going to be a problem, I don't think all three of us would be sitting here with the same jerseys on playing for the same team," he said.
Chris Bosh, who joined Miami as a free agent from the Toronto Raptors, echoed Wade's opinion. "Well we came here to play together. We came here to play as a team. I think people are taking the individualism a little bit too much. We are all going to be good players, but we are all going to work together," he said.
With three such high-powered players on the Heat, Miami fans are expecting their "super" team to win the NBA championship. James says he does not think the fans will be disappointed. "That's our only reason for coming here. Me and C-Bosh and D-Wade, united to win a championship. I mean, we are going to bring our "A" game every night and play as hard as we can and try to bring a championship to South Florida. But we don't feel too much pressure. We're going to go out there and let our game do the talking," he said.
Miami head coach Eric Spoelstra says all three of his star players showed up to training camp "in superb shape." The team plays its first pre-season game at home against the Detroit Pistons on October 5.