Perhaps you’re wondering what far-stretched angle I’m going to use to justify blogging about a LeBron James-Dwyane Wade tennis match. Well, first, here’s Wade talking about taking the King to the Sony Ericsson Open:
The Miami Heat stars showed up at the Sony Ericsson Open to be part of a coin toss before world No. 1 Rafael Nadal played against Japan’s Kei Nishikori. Wade’s two sons, Zaire — the actual flipper of the coin — and Zion, were there as well, on the court for handshakes from Nadal and a quick photo or two just before the match.
“There’s certain things in Miami that guys should experience,” Wade said. “So I had to drag LeBron out here, but I think this is something he’ll probably come back to next year and come back for years after that. This is a good experience. It’s something different and it’s a great day off, getting over here with the kids.”
via Dwyane Wade ‘drags’ Miami Heat teammate LeBron James to Florida tennis tourney – ESPN.
Basically, this is a nice example of the Heat stars doing something as friends. The two are assumed to be best buddies but in reality they have had different friends for years. Things like this are important for keeping chemistry between the two, especially with James taking a different role lately. Or at least, it’s important for convincing the public of that through PR events. Really, they’re one in the same.
James admits he’s terrible at tennis, which deserves its own post right there. This is stunning in that I wasn’t aware LeBron had ever been bad at any physical activity ever. I kind of assumed he could whip Nadal when he came out of the womb, that’s how gifted he is, physically. I mean, a grown Nadal. Not a child Nadal as he would be when LeBron was born. That would just be awkward. I’ve lost track of this.
Suspiciously absent was Chris Bosh, fueling more rumors that Bosh isn’t actually as close with the other two superstars. Not really, but wouldn’t that be a great angle to spin in the most ridiculous manner possible?
The Celtics are getting back to that whole “chemistry first” thing that took them so far in 2008. That’s been a primary focus for them at camp and in the preseason, trying to get close to one another like the “Ubuntu” crowd was two years ago. They’ve spent a lot of nights just doing team togetherness things, like Friday’s movie night. But Rajon Rondo had a different idea for Saturday. He put together a team softball game. Just some fellas, hanging out, playing softball…
At Fenway Park.
And the effect was apparently pretty tremendous, considering the Celtics are swooning over it like pregnant women talking about how you can’t explain how it feels to be knocked up. From the Boston Herald, Paul Pierce on the experience:
“That was one of the best days of my life, actually, man,” he said. “You had to be there to know what I’m talking about.”
And then Garnett, from WEEI:
“Danny [Ainge] hit a couple to me,” Garnett said. “Some I dropped, some I didn’t. Good day. 50-50. I’ll take it. It was fun day. Beautiful day at Fenway. Dream come true. I felt like I was 10 years old.”
Aw, that’s sweet. Do you think Garnett swore the same amount when he was ten? Did he slam his head into things then? Regardless of the jokes, these kinds of opportunities do illustrate a difference between the Celtics and the rest of the league. They are more together than any other team, outside of maybe the Thunder and possibly tied with the Lakers. That chemistry that they’re always trying to build, always trying to bring together, is strengthened from stuff like this, which approaches each player on a personal level.
You also have to thank your lucky stars no one got hurt from a one-hopper. But then, considering the injuries basketball players deal with on a regular basis, baseball injuries probably aren’t nearly as scary. Garnett facing down the Green Monster, though? That must have been actually scary.
Kyle Korver thinks the Chicago Bulls need to be mentioned in the top tier of the East, with Miami and Boston (and maybe Orlando, we like them there but you can argue that one). Most people have them as good but a notch below.
How is Chicago going to get to that elite level, you ask? No, not Carmelo Anthony. Korver told SLAM Magazine that the answer is chemistry.
I think we have guys that can play off each other really well, especially with three guys coming over from Utah. We know each other’s games inside and out being that we’ve played with each other for several years now. We know what each other does well and we know what we don’t do so well and we’re able to kind of cover for that and help each other do what it is that we do well. So I think it’s just a combination of a lot of things and not just one big thing, but a whole lot of small things.
Chicago is going to be close. You know they are going to defend and be well coached under Tom Thibodeau (well, we don’t know for sure but it feels like a safe bet). You know they’ve got talent. But there are questions. If Chicago was right there for the Eastern crown, it would not be a shock. But if they were the fifth best team in the East it would not be a shock either.
We’ll see how good their chemistry really is, and now much that really matters.
A recent study of the NBA outlined in the New York Times this morning states that there is a high correlation between the frequency of touching between teammates on the floor and their performance. From the NYTimes:
In a paper due out this year in the journal Emotion, Mr. Kraus and his co-authors, Cassy Huang and Dr. Keltner, report that with a few exceptions, good teams tended to be touchier than bad ones. The most touch-bonded teams were the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers, currently two of the league’s top teams; at the bottom were the mediocre Sacramento Kings and Charlotte Bobcats.
The same was true, more or less, for players. The touchiest player was Kevin Garnett, the Celtics’ star big man, followed by star forwards Chris Bosh of the Toronto Raptors and Carlos Boozer of the Utah Jazz. “Within 600 milliseconds of shooting a free throw, Garnett has reached out and touched four guys,” Dr. Keltner said.
It’s important to note that this is a correlation, not a causation study, as the principal investigator goes on to say, but they do hope to test for causation in the future in a controlled environment to see if hugs and high-fives actually impact performance.
The study also factored in for better teams being more successful and therefore touching more, to control for that variable, and the result was the same. There are some interesting questions once you get past the initial components. Does a hip-bump count? How about a butt slap? Are there players who are negatively impacted by touching?
I think we can say for certain that Andrew Bogut subscribes to this theory.