Even WWE Superstar Big Show believes in Pat Riley.
WWE will be in Miami on Tuesday, June 28 for SmackDown TV tapings at Riley’s sactuary, the AmericanAirlines Arena, home of the three-time NBA champion Miami Heat.
Big Show, a former college basketball player who lives in Miami, is a big fan of the hometown Heat.
“I got a chance to meet a few of the guys here and there,” Big Show said. “I met D-Wade. I ran into Chris Bosh. I went to games, too, when LeBron [James] was still here, and I was really amazed at how powerful an athlete he is.
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“Then to see LeBron leave and do his thing and how the Heat have pulled together, I’m really excited to see what [Heat President] Pat Riley’s gonna do this [off-season], because he’s really focused about rebuilding this team and making it a lot stronger.
“I thought they did well this year. They played good together. It’s just that when you have an integral part of your team leave, it’s hard to regroup, but the Heat will pull through.”
How ‘bout that analysis from the big guy.
Take notice ESPN, TNT.
This 7-foot, 450-pound giant from Aiken, S.C. knows a little something something about the game. He played college ball at NCAA Division I Wichita State University in Wichita, Kan.
To reciprocate, the Heat players and administrators know a little something something about WWE. Heat lifer Udonis Haslem, a Miami High and University of Florida grad, is a regular at WWE events in South Florida, especially the AAA. The great Andy Ellisburg, Senior Vice President, Basketball Operations/General Manager for the Heat, can be spotted at WWE shows there, too.
Ellisburg and Haslem may again be joining thousands of South Floridians when WWE tapes SmackDown on Tuesday, June 28 at the AAA.
That suits Big Show fine.
“Miami is always my favorite town to work, because it’s a short drive home,” Big Show noted.
And it’s a Tuesday, the last show of the WWE work week.
“No early morning flights out. No airport crowds. Just a nice little ride home.”
So after the WWE SmackDown show, Big Show will be going to his South Florida home. What about before the show?
A South Florida landmark.
“Arbetter’s is the bomb,” Big Show said. “I’ve been training real hard, doing a lot of biking and weight training, so I can try to get myself an Arbetter’s Day at least once a month. You kind of have to...to keep your sanity.”
Big Show’s go-to Arbetter’s hot dog is chilli cheese and onions -- three of them -- and a big helping of fries with cheese and a lot of garlic powder.
“It’s definitely avoid Big Show day,” he chuckled. “Between the chilli and the garlic, I’m my own weapon of mass destruction that day.”
His opponent that night...Beware.
His opponents the past 20-plus years helped him attain a Hall of Fame career, and even though he’s scaled back on TV matches these days, that successful journey continues.
“We’ve got a lot of young, new, great talent deserving of TV time; they’re building their brand. New storylines for them. It’s a changing of the guard,” Big Show said. “I came in as the youngest in the locker-room by 10 years in 1995, and now I’m one of the old ones still out there. I get to go out on weekends and do the live events and help some of the younger kids not make the same mistakes that I made and help them along.”
With plenty of big moments under his belt, Big Show understand his role at this stage of his stellar career.
“All great things come to an end,” the 44-year-old said. “So for me I’m looking at projects outside of WWE and maybe moving into something else in the future, but my heart is with WWE. I love helping the younger talent. I love representing WWE like with Make-A-Wish, Be a STAR, Special Olympics. I think I’ll always have a home in WWE.”
Big Show parlayed his WWE stature into roles on the big screen and other TV shows (i.e. Burn Notice, Jingle All The Way, Knucklehead, MacGruber, MADtv, Psych, Royal Pains, Saturday Night Live, Star Trek: Enterprise, The Waterboy).
“I’ve had a great career and had a lot of fun. So whatever happens in the future, I’m gonna take it,” he said. “If I get a phone call tomorrow, and Vince [McMahon] says, ‘Thank you very much. I appreciate everything you’ve done.’ Well, that said, I can hold my head high and go on and do other things. I don’t want to ever look back and say, ‘I wish I could have,’ or ‘I wish I would have.’ I’m just a guy who is very thankful. I still have my health, and I still get a chance to do something I love every now and then.”
Hopefully we’ll see him bring that love during SmackDown in Miami on Tuesday, June 28 at the AmericanAirlines Arena.
WWE SmackDown in Miami
Tuesday, June 28
Scheduled to appear are Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, Charlotte, Bray Wyatt & the Wyatt Family, The Big Show, Chris Jericho, Sasha Banks, A.J. Styles, Kevin Owens, Alberto del Rio, Sheamus, Becky Lynch, Dolph Ziggler, Rusev, The Dudley Boyz, Paige, The Miz, New Day, and more.
Bell time is 7 p.m.
WWE SmackDown is 8 p.m. Thursdays on the USA Network.
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