When he arrived in Miami in 1995, he said the only team banners the Heat would display would be championship banners. Then it became clear he no longer was with the Showtime Lakers, so a steady flow of division-title reminders began to stream from the rafters.
Then, in a move that still confounds many, Riley decided that Michael Jordan's No. 23 should be retired in every NBA arena for what Jordan did for the game. It does, in Chicago. And, because of Riley's convictions, at AmericanAirlines Arena, as well.
Making sure not to snub a local legend, Riley followed by hoisting Dan Marino's No. 13 Miami Dolphins jersey.
With only the jerseys of Alonzo Mourning and Tim Hardaway retired by the franchise, it essentially left the score high above at AmericanAirlines Arena tied: Heat 2, non-Heat 2. So Riley decided to also honor Dwyane Wade with a banner of his own, for returning from the 2008 Beijing Olympics with gold, following with similar belated tributes to Mourning and Hardaway for their 2000 Sydney Olympics gold.
And now? And now should come perhaps the ultimate moment for LeBron James, with not only the Heat's 2012 NBA championship banner to be raised on opening night Oct. 30 against the visiting Celtics, but his own Heat Olympic gold-medal banner likely to follow.
By Sunday night in London, LeBron James might just have it all.
And to think, just a year ago, he stood where Dwight Howard stands today, a player with immense talent but also one with questions about an ability to lead.
If June didn't answer all those questions, when he emerged as MVP of the NBA Finals, then these two weeks in London assuredly will.
Because for as dynamic as Kevin Durant has been from the 3-point line, for a streaky as Carmelo Anthony has been with his offense, none of Mike Krzyzewski's players have been as essential as LeBron.
The nation grieved for those hurt, killed and affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. After one of the suspects was caught on Friday — following a day-long lockdown and manhunt — sports returned to Boston over the weekend.
As Kobe Bryant comes to disdain FIBA ball almost as much as Tim Duncan, as Chris Paul lands a low blow that erupts into an international incident, as Tyson Chandler comes to the reality that five FIBA fouls simply aren't enough, James has made a statement in London that he couldn't make in Miami:
That he can do it without Wade and Bosh, albeit with similar stars now alongside.
And, just as significantly, that his move into the post last season with the Heat was not a mere novelty act, now playing as backup center in London behind Chandler, with his post play at the start of the second half against Argentina providing needed breathing room before Durant sucked the life out of Ginobili & Co. with his 3-point shooting.
For now, there is humility.
PBT: San Antonio found what worked and it’s on the Grizzlies to raise their level enough in Game 2 in San Antonio on Tuesday to get a split in the series.
PBT: The Pacers were too tough for the Knicks, but Miami is a different animal. The clubs face off in the East finals, starting Wednesday night.
Video: NBA from NBC Sports
Metta World Peace the weatherman
The Crossover: Lakers forward Metta World Peace gives the world of meteorology a try as he fills in at a local weather station. Let’s just say he has an interesting way of giving the forecast. Also, in Boston there is a bathroom that has rival team’s logos inside the urinal in the men’s room.
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