LeBron James Football

LeBron ticked he, Heat will not get to watch Super Bowl


The NBA isn’t stupid — they don’t schedule any games directly up against the Super Bowl.

But it’s close enough this year that LeBron James and his Miami Heat teammates are not going to get to see the San Francisco 49ers make Ray Lewis cry and beat the Baltimore Ravens. (Well, Ray will cry either way.) Ira Winderman had LeBron’s reaction at the Sun Sentinel.

“How disgusting is that?” he said after Wednesday’s shootaround at the Barclays Center prior to the game against the Brooklyn Nets….

“If the Cowboys were in the Super Bowl, I’d stay there for the game,” he said of his passionate football rooting interest.

Miami tips off against Toronto at 2 p.m. Eastern and for viewers at home that works out pretty well because after the final buzzer you can flip over and catch the last hour and a half of pregame then watch the big game.

But for James and teammates there is the post-game routine of showers and media obligations, followed by a bus to the airport and a flight home to Miami — a flight that can’t be delayed to watch the game because the Heat have a game the next night at home. Staying and watching the Super Bowl then flying would leave a very tired team the next day.

While the Heat do fly a charter plane (like all NBA teams), their current one doesn’t have the modern conveniences of satellite television of wi-fi on board, Winderman reports. So they will be without the game and updates (save what the pilot can pass along).

It’s a sacrifice for work, and life is not hard for these guys, but if your job made you sacrifice the Super Bowl you’d be pissed, too.

James Harden: “I am the best player in the league. I believe that.”

James Harden, Stephen Curry
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James Harden was the MVP last season — if you ask his fellow NBA players.

The traditional award (based on a media vote) went to Stephen Curry (in the closest vote in four years), and that was the right call (in my mind). But from the time it happened Harden did not buy it. And he still doesn’t buy it. In the least — and he’s using that as fuel for this season. That’s what he told Fran Blinebury over at NBA.com.

“I am the best player in the league. I believe that,” he said. “I thought I was last year, too.”

Well, it’s a more realistic claim than Paul George’s.

“But that award means most valuable to your team. We finished second in the West, which nobody thought we were going to do at the beginning of the year even when everybody was healthy. We were near the top in having the most injuries. We won our division in a division where every single team made the playoffs.

“There’s so many factors. I led the league in total points scored, minutes played. Like I said, I’m not taking anything away from Steph, but I felt I deserved the Most Valuable Player. That stays with me.”

That’s very Kobe Bryant of you to turn that into fuel. Defining the MVP Award is an annual discussion that nobody agrees on.

I could get into how Harden was the old-school, traditional stats MVP, how that ignores how Steve Kerr used Curry, and how that opened up the Warriors’ offense to championship levels. Curry put up numbers, but he was also the distraction, the bright star that Kerr used to open up looks for Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and others. Curry’s strength was not just what he did with the ball in his hands, but his gravity to draw defenders even when he didn’t. Did the Warriors stay healthier than the Rockets? No doubt. Should Curry be penalized for that?

It’s simple for Harden — if he can put up those numbers again, if he can be the fulcrum of a top offense, he will be in the discussion for MVP again. And, if he can lead the Rockets beyond the conference finals, nobody will talk about that MVP snub anyway.