The Heat is back from China and five games into its eight-game exhibition schedule before opening the regular season in a mere nine days — raising the NBA championship banner at home against the rival Celtics.
Reigning league MVP LeBron James leads Miami’s bid to repeat, of course, and fittingly he stars in a special Marvel Comics edition in the latest ESPN The Magazine entitled, LeBron James: King of the Rings.
The comic follows LeBron’s quest for seven rings, many of them after Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh depart because of the NBA luxury tax. To compensate, our superhero counsels with Tibetan monks, develops bionic legs and learns how to levitate and make himself invisible.
James becomes so unstoppably great that he continues to win Heat championships even with a starting lineup that includes a 395-pound Eddy Curry, Mike Miller using a walker, and Shane Battier as a corpse who comes back as a zombie.
Did I mention that Pat Riley, using DNA obtained from one of James’ headbands, eventually clones an entire team of LeBrons?
Of course, the entire comic is absolutely preposterous and not containing a scintilla of anything that is the least bit believable.
Well, I mean other than the 395-pound Eddy Curry.• NBA is putting time limits on pregame rituals such as James’ powder toss, Wade’s rim chin-ups and many players’ elaborate series of hand-slaps. Heck, that’s the fun stuff. I say we shorten games to allow more time for pregame rituals!
• Disgraced Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong was dropped by Nike and Anheuser-Busch and resigned from his own Livestrong Foundation. Lance is desperate. His new credo is, “Hey, at least I’m not as bad as Jerry Sandusky.”
• Gators tried to protect their No. 2 ranking in welcoming the Ol’ Ball Coach Steve Spurrier back to The Swamp. Most Florida fans still love Spurrier. Except, not Saturday.
South Florida is a finalist to host the 2016 or 2017 Super Bowl. I’m as excited as I can be about something that might or might not happen in four or five years.• NHL lockout bulletin: Hockey’s players and owners continue to act like idiots who don’t particularly want to have a season. Updates as warranted.
• College basketball preseason polls are out. UM men were picked to finish fourth in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Indiana was ranked No. 1 nationally. Former coach Bobby Knight was so happy, he threw a folding metal chair.
• The U.S. men’s soccer team advanced to next year’s final round of World Cup qualifying, meaning the team’s eventual inevitable disappointing finish is still in play.
• Jimmie Johnson chasing his record sixth championship as NASCAR is less than a month now from its big finish at Homestead. Johnson has a new biography out called On The Road. Because I guess all of the even duller book titles already were taken.
• In 1992, McDonald’s offered a short-lived, regionally sold McJordan burger named after Michael Jordan, and this week a sealed gallon of its barbecue sauce sold for $10,000. If I’m paying $10K for an inedible 20-year-old jar of sauce, there’d better be a 5-karat diamond floating in it.
• A Texas judge ruled that high school cheerleaders may continue to display banners with Biblical phrases. Thou shalt hit ’em again, hit ’em again, harder, harder!
• Michael Vick admitted he is a dog owner again and animal-rights groups are concerned. Are they kidding? With all the scrutiny, that’ll be the most pampered pet in America. Dog’s probably munching filet mignon, lapping from a bowl of beef-flavored champagne and getting a pedicure as we speak.
• NASCAR, now in its Chase for the Cup playoffs, announced Fox Deportes would carry its 2013 races in Spanish. NASCAR races currently are broadcast in only two languages: English and Redneck.
• Congrats to South Plantation’s Erin Dimeglio for being the first female to play quarterback in a Florida high school football game. Aside to her teammates: Probably best to go with the fist-bump, not the butt-slap.
• Answer: Davie hosted a Florida Gay Rodeo Association event, and competitions included (seriously) steer decorating. Question: Is it true some statements require no punchline?
• IndyCar eyes a race in downtown Fort Lauderdale, which would be exciting if it wasn’t IndyCar, whose races, but for the Indy 500, are a better-kept secret than the federal witness protection program.
• Parting thought: Hitting abysmally and being benched in the ALCS didn’t stop the Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez from reportedly trying to pick up a woman during a game by inviting her to write her number on a baseball and toss it back. Cannot confirm the woman wrote, “Sorry. You just struck out again.”
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