Can’t say I write this Friday if the Heat won Game 3 over Indiana here Saturday night (I’d have bet on it), but I can say this with fair certainty: What happens with LeBron James later this summer is more compelling and of greater interest than whether the Heat wins a third consecutive NBA championship.
In fact, the greatest value in a three-peat would be its impact on LeBron’s pending free agency decision; no way he bolts a triple champ.
But there is a big chance James re-signs with Miami even if the Heat falls short this time. There also is a viable in-between option in which James might opt-in for another season and defer his free agency until summer 2015.
The not knowing naturally feeds the Professional Noisemakers in the national media, especially the LeBronologists known to skew Anti-Heat. They don’t stop.
Just this week, Charles Barkley — and the mental image of him dressed as a Cavaliers cheerleader is both unsettling and unavoidable — directly campaigned for James’ return to Cleveland, saying he hoped it would happen. (Accompanied by the recycled Standard Chuck slam at Heat fans.)
The odd thing is, Miami is doing something very noisy — going for a third consecutive title — but the volume on LeBron speculation is in some ways even louder.
People, can we enjoy the MVP-level postseason James is having now and just sort of table the gnashing and gnawing over what might happen next?
What LeBron is doing right now deserves every decibel of thunder you heard here Saturday night and will again Monday.
But what he might do in July? That, right now, deserves one of those signs you see held up at golf tournaments:
• Mavericks ownerMark Cuban
invited controversy by admitting his prejudices, saying he would walk across the street to avoid “a black kid in a hoodie” or “a guy that has tattoos all over his face.” I, too, have my prejudices. I’d walk across the street to avoid a guy who wants to talk sports with me nonstop.
• Heat prezPat Riley
has expanded his trademark rights to “3-peat.” Not to be outdone, I now have a patent on “RodneyPeete.”
• U.S. coachJurgen Klinsmann
surprisingly leftLandon Donovan
off the World Cup roster. It’s an outrage, according to quadrennial American soccer experts who have not watched a match since 2010 and could not name another U.S. player.
• The World Cup begins in 18 days, with host Brazil still under fire because not all stadiums are ready. “What!? We thought we were hosting in 2018,” said Brazil. “We’d better get moving!”
, after failing to land the PortMiami site for his Miami MLS team’s new soccer stadium, now is meeting fierce opposition to his alternate site near the Heat’s arena. I imagine Becks thinking how easy he had it when all he had to do was model underwear and look sexy.
• Tennis’ French Open is starting. It would be exciting if it wasn’t pretty forgone that the winners would beRafael Nadal
, for the ninth time, andSerena Williams
, because she always wins.
• California Chrome’s Triple Crown dream is alive after New York racing officials ruled the colt may compete in the June 7 Belmont wearing his customary nasal strips. The horse started winning after using the nasal strips. “And I started sleeping, free from that snoring!” said Mrs. California Chrome.
• The New York Rangers on home ice Sunday have a chance to take a 3-1 series lead over Montreal as the NHL playoffs are down to the final four. As a lifelong Yankees/Jets hater but a jingoist hoping the U.S. team beats Canada, I cannot tell you how dirty I feel rooting for New York.
• ManagerMike Redmond
was ejected from a Marlins home game after an expletive-filled tirade that ended with him kicking dirt on home plate. If there is a heaven,Earl Weaver
• That reminds me. Umpires in town this week dropped in on patients at Miami Children’s Hospital. Imagine you’re a kid told to expect a visitor from professional sports and in walks an umpire. It’s like hoping forBrad Pitt
and getting the movie-theater manager.
• The Dodgers released catcherMiguel Olivo
after he bit off part of the ear of a Triple A teammate. Alas, I’m already at my year’s quota ofMike Tyson
references, so let’s move on.
• MLB Network took analystMitch Williams
off the air after a reported tirade at a youth tournament. The players were 10 and under. Williams aspires to reach their maturity level.
, 55, is a player-coach for the minor-league Fort Worth Cats. “This most definitely is not a publicity stunt,” the team lied.
wisely agreed to cancel plans for a reality documentary about being the NFL’s first openly gay player, to air on Oprah Winfrey Network. You want to fit in? Play football. Make the team.
Barry won the NCAA Division II championship in women’s tennis. Wait. Is that fair they let Barry play in a women’s tournament?