WHO HAS THE BEST SIDELINE MOM? LeBron, Dwyane, Kevin, Russell, say any of those first names and everyone who'll watch these finals knows exactly who you're talking about. It might not be long before the same can be said about Jolinda and Wanda. Really. Jolinda Wade (Dwyane Wade's mom) and Wanda Pratt (Kevin Durant's mom) will be getting plenty of airtime in this series. The Heat guard always makes a point to hug his mother just before tipoff, and maybe the most compelling image of the Western Conference finals was Durant falling into his mother's arms when the Thunder knew they were going to the title round. (Side note: Those envelopes Heat players were handed after the East finals ended? They were cards from Jolinda Wade.)
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If you have a minute go to nba.com and watch the video of the trophy presentation. As they get their hats and shirts they also suddenly wind up with little yellow envelopes. Spo was asked after the game what was in them, telling the media he'll let the players say if they'd like.What yellow envelopes? I didnt notice anything?
And they weren't buzz words, Riles went with full sentences. Reading the whole article now is really interesting, as it was shortly before 2010 free agency. Here's a little on LeBron's choices. (No wonder Simmons had a post-Decision melt-down. He saw him going to the Heat as good for winning, but Dwyane as almost "too good.")I once heard a great story about Game 6 of the 2006 Finals, when Miami was trying to clinch the title in Dallas, from someone who has seen the unedited footage of Miami's huddles in the second-half timeouts. Pat Riley basically stopped coaching. Threw out his X's and O's. Quit giving advice. Stopped drawing up plays.
So what did he do? He screamed at his guys like a boxing trainer. You're tougher than them! YOU'RE TOUGHER THAN THEM! Don't let up! They are ready to quit! They are ready to fold! Keep attacking them! Keep getting to the rim! Keep knocking their asses down! No layups! No dunks! Stay together! YOU ARE TOUGHER THAN THEM! YOU ARE TOUGHER THAN THEM! That's what he did for the entire second half. Eventually, his players believed him.
3. If he cares about winning titles (multiple) and reaching his full potential as a player, he has only one move: the Chicago Bulls. That's always been the play. If you've been listening to my podcast or reading this column, you know that I've been touting this possibility since the winter, and here's why: Deep down, I think LeBron (and, just as important, the people around him) realizes that he needs one more kick-ass player to make his life easier. That means Miami or Chicago. And really, I can't imagine him signing with Miami because Dwyane Wade is almost too good. LeBron wants help, but he doesn't want to be perceived as riding someone else's coattails, either. Wade might be the best player alive for all we know -- he certainly was in 2006, and he's been banged-up and trapped on bad teams ever since.