Courtesy of Tom D’Angelo
Q: What are your impressions of the Heat?
MB: It’s hard sometimes for fans to hear it but they’re rebuilding, obviously. But it’s impossible to get a barometer because there’s been guys out and key guys out and they just simply don’t have the margin for error when one or two key guys are out to make up for that. I think they have some really nice young players but this process can be a little painful at times.
Q: What do you think of Hassan Whiteside?
MB: I do think the consistency is coming. He has moments of brilliance and then he’ll have games where he disappears. It’s much less this year. I think he’s had more consistent energy. He has to understand it’s his responsibility to bring it every night. And I think he’s done a better job of that.
Q: Where you surprised when Dwyane Wade left Miami?
MB: Shocked. You don’t realize what a player means to a franchise let alone just the team on the court until he’s gone. And I think you’re seeing what he meant to so many people. Obviously on the court he’s a leader, but during practice, with the fans, the viewers at home. … it’s impossible to replace somebody like that and it’s going to take some time because he was such a powerful presence both in the way he handled himself and by the way he played. A future Hall of Famer who always handled himself with grace and professionalism.
Q: What will you remember most about the years you came to Miami during the Big Three?
MB: It was the place to be. You had the best players in the game. They got every team’s best shot so most games were like a playoff game because everybody wanted to beat the Heat. And the crowd realized they had something special here. When every single year you know there’s a chance for a title it energizes a city, it energizes a franchise and it energizes a building. There was a long time I came here early when I was doing Knicks games that it was always more Knicks fans than Heat fans. When LeBron came and Bosh came it just changed everything.
Q: Which team is closer to those Heat teams with their rock-star-type following, the Cavaliers or Warriors?
MB: I think they’re both up there. LeBron could play with you, me and eight other guys in the press room and there would be that rock-star following. Wherever he goes there’s a buzz in the building other players just don’t bring. But Golden State with their style, the players’ charisma, has the same affect. It’s crazy to see on the road with Golden State the cheers that go up when they go on one of those patented runs.
Q: What is your most vivid memory of the Big Three era at AmericanAirlines Arena?
MB: It has to be Game 6 (of the 2013 Finals). Looking around and how the Spurs were ready to celebrate, the ropes were up, Ray Allen hits that shot. Whenever I see Ray he talks about how people every day ask him about the shot. I can’t tell you. … it might not be every day but it’s close people always bring up that shot to me. ‘Was that your favorite moment of all time?’ For me as a broadcaster it doesn’t get any better and then to follow that game up with such thrilling Game 7 and to see the joy on their faces. There’s always a moment when these great star players when they finally achieve what they worked so hard for there’s that humble feeling they get, the humility of ‘Wow, we actually did it.’
Q: Of all your games, is there another moment that matches it?
MB: In terms of stakes, one single shot that decided whether or not a team was going to win a championship or not, it has to be up there. Game 7 (between Golden State and Cleveland) last year was one of the most incredible games start to finish. But for that moment it’s hard to imagine one better than that because if he misses that shot and San Antonio wins the championship, who knows how the narrative changes.