Of Course the Miami Heat Are NBA Champions

Of Course the Miami Heat Are NBA Champions

Love LeBron? Hate him? Aside from how he handled his free agency ("The Decision"), how about apathy?

Personally, I couldn't care less that LeBron James abandoned Cleveland in pursuit of a ring -- not my problem -- but it wasn't worthy of its own television special. Whether you appreciate his larger-than-life persona or not though, you can't deny LBJ's place as one of the greatest pro basketball players in the NBA, now and forever.

Winning the NBA Finals solidified that, as if somehow it wasn't cemented already.

In his second season with the franchise, the Miami Heat took down the Oklahoma City Thunder in five games, finally crowning King James with his first World Championship. Naturally he was named the Finals MVP, averaging 28.6 PPG, 10.2 rebounds, and 7.4 assists for the series.

There's a ton of debate out there over how we're supposed to feel about LeBron, but I suspect a large portion of Philly fans are like myself, not fully engaged. However he measures up historically, James is just another superstar basketball player who is not presently a member of the 76ers roster. His trials and tribulations -- invented and otherwise -- don't resonate with everybody.

But there are plenty of folks deeply invested, a handful of whom probably began beating the "LeBron is great" drum when he was just a high school kid posing for the cover of SI. For them, this was vindication. I don't suspect James converted many new fans during a Finals run, but certainly "haters" must admit he's deserving of some credit after leading his team to the ultimate prize.

Did he take the easy way out? I don't know. The greats always seem to have an excellent supporting cast, and Miami backed James with precisely that. A veteran club systematically dismantled an exciting and likely still up-and-coming Thunder squad laden with superstars of their own. Can't see the issue with an organization putting a championship team together when the opportunity presents, or players who wish to be a part of it.

So congrats to the Heat. I hope it ends the rather ridiculous back-and-forth over LeBron's greatness, even though it won't change the fact that legions of sports fans will inevitably still dislike him intensely today.

You really need another reason why? I can think of at least one more reason: he's the winner, our team isn't.

Even Mike Trout wants to see Sam Bradford's return to Philly

Even Mike Trout wants to see Sam Bradford's return to Philly

When Angels All-Star outfielder Mike Trout's six-year, $144.5 million contract ends in 2020, the Millville, New Jersey, native will be in his prime at 29 years old, and Phillies' fans dream of seeing Trout playing at Citizens Bank Park could be come true.

For the time being, though, Trout, a season-ticket holder, is just chilling at Lincoln Financial Field as the Eagles play the Vikings on Sunday because the Angels are almost as bad as the Phillies and even he couldn't stay away from Sam Bradford's return to Philadelphia.

Michael Del Zotto, Scott Laughton return to practice

Michael Del Zotto, Scott Laughton return to practice

VOORHEES, N.J. — The Flyers welcomed two more players out on to the rink for their practice following Saturday’s 6-3 win over Carolina. 

Michael Del Zotto (lower body) and Scott Laughton (lower body) returned to the ice for the first time since suffering injuries within days of each other. Before Sunday’s light practice, Del Zotto and Laughton had skated two consecutive days prior to work on their conditioning. 

“It’s nice to see them back with the group,” head coach Dave Hakstol said. 

Laughton, who injured himself during a training camp practice after losing an edge, was a bit more forward than Del Zotto on when he hopes to return. 

“I would say within the next five to seven days,” Laughton said.

The 22-year-old pointed to Saturday’s game with Pittsburgh as his target to return. 

As for Del Zotto, the defenseman didn’t want to jinx anything, saying it’s a “day-by-day” situation. He would like to think he’s working on the same timetable as Laughton. If that’s the case, he would be back either a few days before or right on cue with the projected four to five weeks he was scheduled to miss after suffering an injury to his left knee in the preseason against the New York Rangers on Oct. 6. 

“It’s kind of trial and error,” Del Zotto said. 

Above all else, though, the two were just happy to be back with their teammates. Del Zotto said that being around everyone really rejuvenated his spirits. 

“Just being back around the guys and having that team chemistry and camaraderie and being able to joke with the guys,” Del Zotto said, “it’s probably been the best thing for me.”

This past month has especially been hard on the two because of the timing and how last season ended for them. 

While there’s never an ideal time to suffer an injury, the pair saw training camp and the approaching start of the regular season in a different light than most of their teammates.

It was supposed to be their new start. Last season, Del Zotto missed the final few months, including the postseason, after ligament damage to his left wrist. He was having a strong preseason, arguably the top defenseman in camp at the time before suffering his setback.

“Being out so long last year and having to sit and watch playoffs than having six months of grueling rehab to get back into it … that made it sting that much more,” Del Zotto said. “That’s part of the game. It’s a contact sport. I signed up for this.”

The same can be said for Laughton, who experienced a scary injury in Game 4 against Washington after being dumped head first into the boards. 

“I was really excited to have camp and start the year here,” Laughton said. 

The two will be traveling to Montreal with the rest of the Flyers for Monday’s contest. They will each do the morning skate with another bag skate afterward.