FT. WALTON BEACH, Fla. — After he walked on the set of a photo shoot for LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade, Mike Miller felt compelled to bull-horn his arrival.
“Heads up,” he said. “Token white boy coming through.”
Well, doesn’t the public perceive everyone on this team not named Bron, Wade and Bosh as a token, regardless of color?
That’s the perception outside the locker room. There’s three guys on the roster, then everyone else. The trick for Miami is to make the other nine players feel welcome and a reasonable part of the scheme of things, because Miami will not win a championship unless the cheaply hired help chip in.
This was always a chore for the Bulls in the Michael Jordan era. Especially when Dennis Rodman came aboard. That’s where all the attention went, Jordan, Rodman and Scottie Pippen, and for good reason. Those guys won the majority of the games. Luc Longley probably still has footprints all over him, the result of the media trampling through him to interview Jordan.
But remind me again: Didn’t Steve Kerr hit a big shot to help win one of those rings? And earlier, John Paxson?
Neither Miller, Udonis Haslem nor Zydrunas Ilgauskas are the reason fans will Tivo the Heat 82 times this year or fill the seats. But there will come a time or two when a key rebound or big shot falls in someone’s hands other than the Big Three. Maybe next summer, deep in June. Then what?
“This is not just about us three,” said Wade. “It’s about the whole team. Three guys have never won an NBA championship.”
Coach Erik Spoelstra said if the clock is winding down, and there’s time for one shot to win, the ball will go to whoever’s open. He meant Bron, Wade or Bosh. I think. But those guys might be covered (if the defense is smart) and Miller could be the one waving his arms. Just saying.