The media work room at AmericanAirlines Arena is the last thing you would expect in South Florida. It is a frosty experience.
How cold? A certain transplanted journalist brought in to cover the team this season has been known to wear a ski cap while filing his articulate-yet-arctic postgame viewpoints.
Yet the chill doesn’t stop there.
Already this season, after a series of profanity laced Twitter posts regarding LeBron James, Esquire essayist Scott Raab has had his media credential revoked.
He showed up for Wednesday night’s game against the Suns as a spectator in a seat that would make any journalist envious of Esquire’s apparent expense budget, not far from where Heat President Pat Riley sits.
And yet when it comes to picking at the carcass, the sense is the chill only figures to increase.
For their part, the Heat’s Big Three largely have been gracious with their interview access. James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh each make podium appearances after games, staying until the last question is asked, including several bordering on banal. Wade also speaks after morning shootarounds, as does Bosh. James offers his pregame thoughts about 90 minutes before each tipoff.
Just about every question is answered. Such pregame access has becoming increasingly rare in a league heretofore known for its expansive pregame access.
And yet, you may want to get your fill now, because patience may be running thin.
Take Wednesday’s ESPN postgame walkoff interview with Bosh, the type of innocuous hit-and-run that tends to offer more sweat than substance.
Asked about particularly intense work leading into Wednesday’s game, after the Heat has lost three of their previous five, Bosh responded of coach Erik Spoelstra, “He knows he has to meet us halfway. He wants to work; we want to chill.”
The instant Twitter feedback? Bosh doesn’t want to play for Spoelstra.
The nearly as instant Twitter feedback? Pat Riley won’t be sitting close to Esquire essayists in the stands much longer.
The reaction was similar to the fallout from James quotes a week ago, when he first addressed Spoelstra playing him 44 minutes against the Celtics and Utah coach Jerry Sloan having the ability to get his team to close out last week’s comeback victory against the Heat.
It is not what the Big Three are saying; it is what is being interpreted.
There were a couple of other such moments Wednesday. First, James offered about Bosh, “It was great to see him finally crack the 30 point barrier that D-Wade and I have already accomplished this season.”
There was a brief post-interview debate in the media room about how that would play out, if it would be taken as an it’s-about-time comment.
Later, James offered, “D-Wade is, for the most part, going to always be our leading scorer. He’s going to be the guy that’s going to get the most shots.”
Because the words came after a win, there was no follow up about James perhaps wanting some of those shots, envious, if you will.
Yes, the Heat certainly will make things interesting this season. They already have with their rollercoaster start.
But it is the wordplay that thus far has been the most fascinating.