It took no more than 60 seconds.
A minute or so into the game that former player and NBA TV analyst Steve Smith called “the most anticipated pre-season game of all time,” I actually started to laugh out loud.
I laughed, not because of how ridiculously overhyped this preseason game was or because Smith was trying to predict LeBron’s stats for the season without having seen the team play one game.
I laughed because I realized just how good the Miami Heat are going to be .
The first time the Heat brought the ball down the court, they dumped it into Chris Bosh, who got double-teamed. He got double teamed, while Lebron James and Dwyane Wade were on the court, on his team. Think about that.
Unguardable. Unstoppable. The best team we’ve ever seen play basketball. This is all possible. It was one thing to talk about it all summer, but it’s another thing to see it happen. It was just a preseason game, but I know what I saw.
I saw Lebron James, the two-time reigning MVP, at 6’9” and 265 pounds cross over his defender and get to the rim and score. I saw him draw four defenders himself, and throw a no-look pass to Chris Bosh for a dunk, who was all alone under the rim.
Watching Lebron James alone reminded me just how good that guy is. Somehow, through all of the nonsense during this offseason, we’ve underrated the most talented player in the world.
Dwyane Wade was only on the court for two minutes before he left with a strained hamstring. And the scary thing is, they still looked like the best team in the NBA without him. Lebron James has won 60+ games before, and this is the best team he’s ever played on, without Wade.
Mike Miller open for three-point shots. Bosh open for dunks. James, being James. Put Wade back in the game, and it’s scary.
It wasn’t just offense either. The Heat caused three shot clock violations in the first half. They’re going to get steals and block shots. They’re going to get stops when they need them.
There was James, not smiling. Not laughing like we’re accustomed to. He looked determined. He looked angry. Who knows? Maybe the controversy was exactly what he needed to toughen him into the player we’d always hoped he could be. The winner we always hoped he could be.
For sure, we still don’t know how they’ll gel as a team, both physically and mentally. They haven’t figured out who is taking shots at the end of games. They haven’t faced the intense media and fan scrutiny that will no doubt follow them for their entire careers. They haven’t been put through any adversity together.
It was just one preseason game, but I know I what I saw.
Forget “The Decision” for a minute. Forget Cleveland. Forget the circus that led up to all of this. Don’t think about Q ratings or what Charles Barkley and Michael Jordan would have done.
Just think about basketball. Think about the game. Think about the fact that we are about to “witness” (sorry) the most talented non-All-Star team to ever step on an NBA floor.
If you love basketball, you’re going to want to see it. Whether you’re cheering for them to win or lose, you’re going to want to see it.
Think about basketball and watch them play. It’s going to be incredible.