SAN ANTONIO — In our world of instant analysis (guilty, as charged), the idea that a player’s career having time to unfold naturally, to wait to try to define a legacy before a player has left the game and there is perspective has been largely washed away.
As has the perspective that a player can be three dimensional and have a life and legacy besides what happens in the arena.
Just more than an hour before tip-off of Game 1 of the 2014 NBA Finals — a series that will have a big say ultimately in his on-the-court legacy LeBron James returned to calling the legacy talk stupid, saying it misses the big picture.
“Our guys are still trying to define what they are trying to accomplish in the course of their careers,” James said in the Heat locker room. “To talk about it right now is stupid. Let guys play out their years…
“And for me a legacy isn’t just basketball. I think people get caught up in what you do on the floor, what you do on the gridiron, what you do on the diamond and so on and so on, and just try to define your legacy just by how you play the sport. I think my calling is much bigger than just basketball, to say what my legacy is on the floor and to say that’s all it is stupid.”
Stupid or not, legacy talk will be all over these NBA Finals.
As will comparisons to last season.
Is this the same Miami Heat team as last season, the one that beat the Spurs in a thrilling seven-game series? Depends on who you ask.
“We talked about it from the first day of training camp that it wouldn’t benefit us to try to compare too much to the previous year,” Heat coach Eric Spoelstra said. “Let’s get on to the new journey, the new challenge and this one already feels a little bit different than last year.”
“We’re pretty much the same,” LeBron said. “We’ve grown together as far as being together for another year, but as far as our mental toughness we’re just like we were last year. We don’t get too high, we don’t get too low over the course of a series, we just play even keel.”
They better have grown, because this Heat team is about to run into a Spurs team that has grown, that is better than a year ago.