Besides, here’s what the fogeys don’t get: they all have tats, the Heat’s backup point guard works a “Word Up” flattop, and the best player’s hairline has been in a French Army retreat since before he got here. Cool, let’s play.
As Wade said earlier this season, the Heat locker room houses many an alpha dog. It’s also a locker room of those who have matured from extended childhood to being responsible fathers and uncles. And, at times, they can sound like the grown folks room at the family gathering.
“We didn’t necessarily need another guy to keep it light,” Spoelstra said. “We have quite a few of those guys in our locker room. The key point with Chris is he’s able to fit into a complex locker room. You have to have a confidence about you. It’s not the easiest locker room to step into. You can get torn apart if you don’t have the right personality. It’s a blend of professionalism and personality. He’s a fun guy to be around. He’s got an engaging personality. He’s a worker. He’s diligent.”
Said Andersen: “You’ve definitely got to be yourself and a little bit of craziness, too.”
He came in knowing Mike Miller, Rashard Lewis and Juwan Howard. As noted by Shane Battier, another veteran closer to the end of his career than the start, that’s easier to do when you’re a veteran secure enough to be a role player.
“Now, if we brought in a bunch of 25-year-old guys who were trying to spread their wings and trying to make a name for themselves in the league, this probably isn’t the best place for them,” Battier said. “I think Norris [Cole] and Rio [Mario Chalmers] have done a great job being young guys, establishing their roles and still building NBA cachet.”
Also, Battier said, “We have a pretty good group of guys. We don’t really have any jerks. You have to have your game at all times on and off the court or you’ll hear about it. So you’ve got to have a thick skin to be in this locker room. Everyone dishes it out, and everyone takes it.”
Though the Birdman looks like he flies his own way — and he does — it’s the Heat’s way. And he’s a big part of the flock flying toward what looks like another NBA championship.