Heat unveil Olympic banner for LeBron James
By TIM REYNOLDS
MIAMI (AP) Another game, another banner for LeBron James.
The Miami Heat unveiled a banner Saturday night to commemorate James' participation on the gold-medal winning U.S. men's basketball team at this summer's London Olympics. It was the second banner ceremony in as many home games for the Heat, who raised one honoring the 2012 NBA championship team before their season opener on Tuesday.
James was at midcourt before the brief pregame ceremony, nodding and smiling when a black drape hiding the banner from view was lifted. His banner sways next to those honoring previous Heat players who were gold-medal winners: Dwyane Wade (2008), Alonzo Mourning (2000) and Tim Hardaway (2000).
"To have a banner go up for the United States of America, you're not just representing the respective city that you're in or a team," James said after Miami's 119-116 win over the Denver Nuggets. "You're representing everybody in America."
Wade and Hardaway were also at midcourt for the ceremony. James and Wade discussed the banner before the game, with the reigning NBA MVP saying he was "honored" by the gesture.
"We don't take it for granted," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "Players, the great ones who have that type of mentality ... they can't get enough of competition and taking down that next hurdle. That's what LeBron's all about. That's what he's been about his whole career. It just finally took an NBA championship for people to view him as such."
James averaged 13.3 points at the London Olympics, with the U.S. winning all eight of its games.
Other current and former Heat players have won Olympic gold medals, including Chris Bosh, but the team has only presented banners to those who were part of the organization at the time of their victories.
Bosh and Wade both skipped this year's Olympics because of injuries.
"I went through a lot of mixed emotions this summer," Bosh said. "Yes, I was having a good time. But when I watched the Olympics, it's like, `Man, I want to be out there. It looks like so much fun.' They played a fun style of basketball."
Updated November 3, 2012