Over the last week, Heat players and executives have been as busy off of the court as they have been on it, as they have been spreading holiday cheer throughout the Miami community.
This is and isn't about LeBron James returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers. This is about a man growing up and breaking free. To understand the magnitude of LeBron's decision, we need to examine the Decision.
It's almost comical to think back to the first season of the Heat's Big Three and remember that there was a serious power struggle between LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. Fans everywhere were legitimately unsure of who was truly the better player and who should be the alpha dog.
If Kawhi, Ginobili, Duncan and Parker are all part of the engine that make the Spurs go, as Pop said in his post-game interview, then James is the Heat's entire car (and he's dragging a giant camper full of all his teammates).
The one guy for the Spurs who can change this series is Kawhi Leonard -- nobody else on the roster can defend LeBron James that well. But what Leonard did in Game 3 was not only bother James (22 points and seven turnovers) as well as force him to use screens for offense, but also completely take over the game offensively. Leonard -- who, ironically, hails from Los Angeles and went unrecruited by the LA schools before going to San Diego State -- scored a career-high 29 points on 10-13 shooting.
The Heat ask Bosh to fill a near-impossible role: to play like a Nowitzki-Aldridge hybrid, but without the post-touches that help those guys get into an offensive rhythm.
Summoning the strength to play in unplayable conditions, the Spurs outlasted then blasted the Heat late, beating them by a final score of 110 to 95.
It took less than a full quarter of the first game of the NBA Finals to see how the rest of the series between Miami and San Antonio will go: Coach Gregg Popovich wants his team to control the pace of play at all costs.
This is the Final's rematch we've all been waiting for: the two best teams in the NBA set to square off -- the Lone Star Loners vs. the Heatles. One team is in desperate need of redemption, the other has a chance to cement their legacy as a team for the ages.
Despite what Charles Barkley might have said once upon a time, athletes are absolutely role models. It's not a job offer to be declined as one would decline an invitation to a party. There is no RSVP required and attendance is mandatory.
Five bold predictions for the rest of the NBA season, because anything is still possible.
The NBA season is less than three weeks away. After one of the best Finals series' in recent history, it is the best time to be a basketball fan since the days of Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls, tearing through the league in the 1990s.
We've seen Durant act in commercials and this didn't appear to follow "KD Investigates, Take 2." Harden and Dwight Howard were both told CSN Houston that Durant's comments were sincere and on Friday, Darren Rovell tweeted that Durant and Gatorade were breaking up.
With so many children in America growing up with parents who have struggled with drug use and are struggling in their own way to make sense of their experiences, D. Wade's testimony is a breath of fresh air.
Game 6 of the NBA Finals was such a seesaw battle of emotions and just sheer basketball that nobody, perhaps not even the San Antonio or Miami players, knew what Game 7 would bring us. And, after a two-point Heat lead at halftime where a series of jabs and hooks were thrown, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade offered a solution: Play like the superstars they are.
Los de Miami siguen siendo los mejores aunque eso pese a todo Estados Unidos, exceptuando, por supuesto, a Florida. El equipo de Lebron James se ha llevado el tercer anillo de su historia y se proclaman campeones de la NBA por segunda vez consecutiva por un 95-88 ante los Spurs.