Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul to Blake Griffin alley-oop over Mario Chalmers of the Miami Heat.
The new year is already off to a hot start for Miami Heat forward LeBron James, who rang in 2012 by proposing to longtime girlfriend Savannah Brinson at his 27th birthday party Saturday night in Miami.
Brinson and James are high-school sweethearts, dating back to James’ days as a standout at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in Akron, Ohio. Brinson is the mother of LeBron’s two kids, LeBron, Jr., 7, and Bryce, 4.
LeBron turned 27 on Friday, and in addition to the engagement, Saturday night’s bash also featured the kind of extravagant birthday cake that you’d expect at a party thrown by King James, a towering rum cake adorned with edible 18-carat lions and Swarovski crystals.
Another potential 2012 free agent is off the market. The Miami Heat, concerned he might attract interest from other teams and pleased with his performance, signed coach Erik Spoelstra to a contract extension Friday.
Spoelstra, 41, was entering the last year of his deal after leading the Heat to the NBA Finals last season. Despite intense scrutiny the past year since LeBron James and Chris Bosh joined Dwyane Wade in Miami, Spoelstra has created a strong reputation within the league.
Shane Battier announced on his Twitter account Thursday that he plans to sign with the Miami Heat when free agency opens on Friday afternoon. A number of contending teams had been courting Battier over the last few days, including the Orlando Magic and San Antonio Spurs.
BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) — Dwyane Wade’s body is spent. He’s in absolute agony. He’s gritting his teeth and taking huge gasps of air as the clock is ticking down, all while people surround and implore him to keep going all the way to the finish.
This isn’t a 48-minute NBA game watched by thousands of fans.
It’s a 30-second stationary bike ride watched by a few scientists.
“If there’s an edge that we can find,” Wade said afterward, “I want to find it.”
So he went looking for it at the Gatorade Sports Science Institute, becoming the first athlete tested at the company’s new lab on the campus of IMG Academies in southwest Florida.
For the better part of a day, Wade went through a battery of tests. Some were typical, like blood work. Some were not particularly taxing, like when he simply lay still for a few minutes while a machine scanned his body to determine its composition. Some were arduous, like a treadmill that could show how quickly he burns through carbohydrates while exercising, and that diabolical, high-resistance exercise bike.
Take the data, add it up, and an already elite player for the Miami Heat might be able to get a little bit better.
“It’s kind of exciting,” said Dr. JohnEric Smith, the associate principal scientist at the lab who monitored Wade’s tests. “My research focus has always kind of been on wanting to know what are the limits of human performance. And having access to athletes like a Dwyane Wade, who’s already on top of his sport. and try to identify ways to make him a little better, that’s exciting to me.”
In basic terms, the institute takes its studies on the effects of exercise and nutrition and tries to turn those findings into better products. More labs are planned to open internationally in the coming months.
For everyday people, subtle changes to a sports-drink formula may not necessarily have much of an effect.
But for Wade and athletes of his ilk, that’s not the case.
One of the tests — Wade running on a treadmill, breathing through high-tech headgear — showed he burns through carbohydrates faster than most athletes. By adjusting what he eats and drinks a bit on game day, just based on that one finding, Wade could very easily find himself able to be more effective in the closing minutes of games.
“If it makes me 1 percent better, it makes me a better player,” Wade said.
One thing scientists came away from Wade’s testing particularly pleased with was that he was willing to do whatever they suggested, with no problem.
And some of it, well, made Wade look just a little silly.
Here’s the scene: He’s facing the wall, palms out, looking at what’s called a DynaVision Training Device. He had to keep his eyes fixed on the center of the device, which was about 3 feet wide and 3 feet high. A small screen would generate a four-digit number every few seconds, and Wade would have to call it out at the same time he tapped whichever of dozens of lights that would randomly turn red.
The first time, Wade didn’t do as well as he liked.
The second time, he saw his score and raised his arms in celebration.
“It’s come a long way,” said Dr. Asker Jeukendrup, the global senior director of Illinois-based GSSI, when asked how research into athletic performance is evolving. “Where the big advances will be is in how we actually educate the athletes. Products will develop, but what really needs to happen is the education, and traditionally that’s something that GSSI has always been very good at. We have a lot of education to do.”
Wade went to the testing with specific requests.
Like any athlete, he’s always looking for more endurance. But he’s also been prone to cramping throughout his basketball career, no matter how much he drinks on game days or replenishes during workouts or games. He hopes his trip to the lab, where sports nutrition, as well as hydration, is studied, leads to better answers.
“Just trying to get myself that edge, so I don’t have to deal with that as much,” Wade said. “Hydration is so important, so huge, especially with me. I lose five pounds after each game. Just trying to get that competitive edge that I need, especially as I get older, you can’t rely on your youth as much, so you keep trying to find that something.”
He came away from the five hours or so of work convinced that the testing was worthwhile. Wade has tried to stay as close to game shape as he can during the NBA lockout, simply because he — like all players — doesn’t know when the call will come to announce that it’s time to head to training camp with a new labor deal.
On this particular day, Glen Davis of the Boston Celtics was also training at IMG, albeit in a different area than the GSSI lab. Davis popped into the testing briefly and chatted with Wade for a bit, but collected no secrets about what the 2006 NBA finals MVP was trying to learn about himself.
For that matter, no one else will get those secrets, either. Wade said it was humbling to be the first athlete to go through the new lab, and can’t wait to put the newfound knowledge to use.
“At first, you don’t want it out. At first, if you do find something that can help you and give you an edge, you want to keep that edge,” Wade said. “And then eventually, you pass it on. It might get passed on to a close friend, a teammate. And then if it’s something that’s game-changing, then you pass it on to everyone else. But before I say anything, I want to make sure it works for me.”
AKRON, Ohio (AP) — LeBron James has cut the ribbon to open a clubhouse for children in Ohio named for him.
In a gym he played in as a kid, the NBA superstar Tuesday opened the LeBron James Clubhouse at an Akron Boys & Girls Club, which was renovated with $240,000 he donated through his family foundation. James said he was humbled to be able to help area youth. The Miami Heat forward promised to keep giving back to a city that will “always be home no matter where I am.”
It likely will be an emotional day for James, who later will be inducted into the athletic Hall of Fame at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School, his alma mater. James said he was overwhelmed by the honor.
© 2011 The Associated Press
AKRON, Ohio (AP) — LeBron James says he is so “optimistic” that the coming NBA season will be played that he is not considering any possible international options – except for the 2012 Olympics.
In an interview with The Associated Press, James says he is committed to helping the United States defend its gold medal at next summer’s London Games. James has been working in Houston with Hakeem Olajuwon this offseason, and insists he will be “even better” this coming season for the Miami Heat, who lost in the NBA finals.
James was in his hometown Monday to open “Wheels for Education,” a program with State Farm to provide more than 300 third-graders from Akron Public Schools academic tools they need. The program will follow those kids through high school.
© 2011 The Associated Press
The Miami Heat couldn’t quite get the job done last season against the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Finals and now LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh get to sit around and wait till a new collective bargaining agreement is worked out before getting to try it all again.
The supporting cast to the Big Three is set to change whenever a new season gets underway. The Miami Herald reports that General Manager Pat Riley is planning to go after Shane Battier, Grant Hill, and Tayshaun Prince once the lockout is finally lifted.
If those three don’t work out, the Herald notes, the team will then turn its attention to Michael Redd and Tracy McGrady.
Source: Yahoo Sports
Miami Heat backup center Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who came along for the ride with LeBron James from the Cleveland Cavaliers to South Florida last summer, recently exercised his player option for next season.
Read more at Yahoo Sports
A source familiar with the situation confirmed Sunday to the Sun Sentinel that veteran center Eddy Curry has been working with the Miami Heat in recent days, as the Heat look at free-agent options.
By league rules, teams cannot currently work out free agents who finished the season on an NBA roster. Workouts of those types of free agents cannot begin until July 1, when a lockout is expected to be imposed, shutting down all league activity.
Curry was waived by the Minnesota Timberwolves on March 1. In ensuing weeks he worked out for several NBA teams, including the Heat, in a bid to secure a place on a playoff roster.
Heat President Pat Riley says he will not return to coaching, and says the team has a strong leader in Erik Spoelstra.
Riley spoke Tuesday at his annual end-of-season wrapup and touched on several topics including the disappointment of Miami’s loss in the NBA finals to the Dallas Mavericks. He lauded the Mavericks for winning the title, plus says he still believed the first Heat season with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh as teammates was “a great year.”
Spoelstra has a 148-98 record in three regular seasons, along with a 18-15 mark in postseason play.
Other pages of interest NBA News
The Miami Heat entered the bookkeeping portion of their schedule Wednesday by extending a qualifying offer to guard Mario Chalmers, an impending free agent.
By extending the qualifying offer of just over $1 million for the 2011-12 season, Chalmers becomes a restricted free agent, allowing the Heat to match outside offers, regardless of the salary-cap implications.
What happens next remains unclear. With the current collective-bargaining agreement to expire June 30, it is unclear if restricted free agency will remain part of a new agreement. As it is, while Chalmers becomes a free agent on July 1, no free-agent signings will be allowed until a new CBA is reached. In the void of an agreement, the NBA is expected to impose a lockout on July 1.
While Chalmers has spent three uneven seasons with the Heat after he was added out of Kansas in the second round of the 2008 NBA Draft, he is coming off a strong performance in the NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks, regaining his starting position for Sunday’s series finale.
Read more at Sun-Sentinel.com
Other pages of interest NBA News
Well @KingJames on Twitter has been very quiet since LeBron tweeted “Now or Never!!” at 2:32AM the morning of Game 5 of the Finals. What does this mean? No more proclamations or is silence golden.
Either way we find out tonight what is King James is really made of. With Dallas being up 3 to 2 in the Series the Heat’s backs are nailed to the wall….No pressure.
Other pages of interest Miami Heat News
So far in these NBA finals, the Miami Heat have been in position to win all five games. A series of late-game collapses instead has the Heat on the brink of elimination.
In each Miami loss to the Dallas Mavericks in this series, the Heat have seen fourth-quarter leads erased by epic comebacks. Dallas outscored Miami 22-5 down the stretch to win Game 2, 21-9 in the final minutes of Game 4 and then 17-4 to wrap up Game 5 on Thursday night.
One of the big problems is that LeBron James has been practicing his Houdini act. Where in the world have you gone LeBron?
Read more at AP Sports
Charles Barkley lobbed another verbal salvo on Wednesday in his war of words with the Miami Heat and their fans.
When asked if Miami is the worst professional sports town, Barkley, who reiterated his admiration of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, said: “Yeah they have the worst fans. No question. It’s not even loud in there. You’re at the game and you are like, ‘Man this place isn’t even loud.’ At least when you go to Chicago, it’s loud in there, it’s crazy down in Dallas but it’s not even loud in Miami.”
“Listen, if the Miami Heat were playing the Washington Generals I would pick the Washington Generals,” Barkley said with a chuckle. “It’s something about that team that annoys me.
“They just a whiny bunch and I can’t root for them.”
I agree wholeheartedly Chuck.
Read more at ESPN
Former Miami Heat star Glen Rice certainly knows how to entertain a crowd; he scored over 18,000 career points during 15 NBA seasons.
But you probably didn’t expect Rice to take his experience in pro sports and apply it to the octagon as a mixed martial arts promoter.
“I’ve been a big fan for, wow, this is going back to the (Royce) Gracie days and the Shamrocks,” Rice said. “I’ve got a lot of friends around here that are involved in mixed martial arts and I’ve had an opportunity to watch some of the people handle (the fighters), you know, the different promoters. And I just decided, wow, they need someone to try and give them a fair shake.”
Read more at Yahoo Sports
After two days of intense film study and painstaking analysis of the final 14 possessions in their end-of-game collapse in Game 2 of the NBA finals, the Miami Heat finally came up with the reason why.
It wasn’t a highly technical reason.
“We let one go,” Dwyane Wade said.
And entering Game 3 of the NBA finals, the Heat will try to let Game 2 go again. The way Miami sees it, carrying over the stigma of that loss – one of the worst late-game collapses in finals history – would only doom them again Sunday night when the scene shifts to steamy Dallas for the first of three games on the Mavericks’ home floor.
Dallas rallied from 15 points down in the final 7 minutes to beat Miami in Game 2, outscoring the Heat 22-5 to finish the game and knot the series. Thanks to that win, Mavs’ fans still may see another NBA championship celebration, only this time, by the Western Conference champions and not a Heat team that hoisted a trophy at Dallas after the 2006 finals.
Read more at AP Sports
Before Dwyane Wade even sat down for a post-practice news conference Monday, he offered a pre-emptive strike.
“I’m not hurt,” he said.
And that was news Miami Heat fans wanted to hear on the eve of the NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks.
Wade, Udonis Haslem, Mike Miller and James Jones were all back in practice Monday, one day after being held out of contact drills for precautionary reasons. Everyone fully participated in the workout, which coach Erik Spoelstra said he had to cut a bit short because of how physical things were getting in the practice, during which the Heat had players in knee pads and mouthguards.
Not much to say here…They got a little rest, now everybody is ready to go.
Read more at ESPN
The Miami Heat battled the Detroit Pistons Friday night, coming away with a 106-92 victory and a banged-up Mike Miller(notes), who had taken “a hit near his head” that had him meeting with a doctor after the game, according to ESPN.
Before the team took on the Boston Celtics and lost yesterday, 85-82, Miller met with doctors again to test him “for concussion-related symptoms,” the site reports.
Read more at Yahoo Sports