Miami Heat 'Fast 5': Ray Allen on Donald Sterling, LeBron James on NBA Ownership

Ethan Skolnick@@EthanJSkolnickNBA Senior WriterApril 27, 2014

Five quick-hitting Miami Heat items as they look to close out the Charlotte Bobcats:


1. Ray Allen has spent 18 years in the NBA.

That represents nearly half his life.

For that investment, he has been highly decorated and handsomely rewarded. 

Saturday night, however, he was among the many NBA players who couldn't help feeling a little less respected, as the word of TMZ's (alleged) Donald Sterling racist audiotape spread around the Internet and the NBA. And, unlike most of those players, Allen was reasonably close to becoming one of Sterling's employees, since he considered the Los Angeles Clippers in the summer of 2012 before signing with the Heat. He acknowledged that he did speak to Clippers team officials before signing with Miami, but never met with the owner. 

Would a free agent think twice about signing with the Clippers now? 

"Yes," Allen told Bleacher Report. "But what do Clippers players do now, how do they feel? It's a tough situation for those players, because I would have real mixed feelings about who I'm playing for now. If that's how he feels about us in this locker room. This guy is signing their paychecks. And he doesn't respect them. By saying what he says, he doesn't respect his own players. Doc Rivers is the coach. What do you really feel about (him)? What are you saying? Your whole coaching staff is minority. It's a terrible situation." 

Allen, like others, didn't confine the damage to the Clippers organization.

"I don't play for him, but I play in this league, and as an owner in this league to have that perception or representation of us, that's hurtful to this whole league," Allen said. "That's hurtful to everybody in America."

Allen sees the controversy in the context of changing times. 

"We, as players, basketball, most of our lives, it's physical, it's always been our actions," Allen said. "And we got to college, we had to learn to use our voices in a more constructive and philanthropic way, because we do things in our communities. And then, even now, you get to this level, and you have to do it even more. And I always said, basketball, because we are so visible, we have to do the right thing, we've got so many people watching us at all times. And social media, we have to fight through it even more, because people are always taking pictures and video."

When Allen entered the NBA in 1996-97, he didn't have a cellular phone. Over the course of his career, the technology revolution has altered attitudes and invaded privacy.

"It's made us a little bit more jaded towards life, and I hate to feel that way or say it, but it just is, because some people do things for their own benefit," Allen said. "So we know how we have to live. But those rules aren't cut short from the media, or from the people who run organizations or work for organizations. The same thing applies. It's just a shame, because we know how we feel, but once we play for an organization, this is our family. And to know that they have to deal with this now..."

And so, do the owners need to ostracize Sterling?

"They do," Allen said. "Every owner. Because you can't be on his side. What he said now, regardless of what format it was in, he's ostracized himself. He's put himself in a situation where his day in court, and every ownerto make me feel better about what we're doing, we're NBA Cares, we're selfless. We make good money, we play a game to encourage kids to be better and to bring people together through sports, but this is so far outside of the realm that we're supposed to be experiencing and dealing with."

It's not the respect they deserve.


2. Michael Jordan doesn't always appear to be relishing his tenure as Bobcats chairman. Take Saturday, for instance, when he spent most of the night cupping his clasped hands under his chin, as he watched LeBron James bury his squad. Will James someday sit in Jordan's spot, as an owner of an NBA team? He didn't dismiss the notion entirely after Sunday's practice.

"I mean, it would be great," James said. "I mean, obviously, you'd have to be financially, very, very wealthy."

A reporter noted that he is.

"Which I'm not," James replied, laughing. "I'm doing all right, would be great, honestly. But it's a lot of pressure on that side as well. To put together a team."

James did speak of his desire to stay around the game. And he did tout his eye for talent.

"Obviously, if you hire the right people, they can do it, too," James said. "If I could find me a Riles, that would be great."


3. LeBron James watches other NBA games.

He just doesn't watch like the rest of us.

Like anyone who is exposed to the work of others in the same profession, James can't help asking himself this question: "What would I do in that position?"

Often, he comes to this conclusion that he "would make some different choices and different plays down the stretch," though he recognizes "everybody's in the playoffs for a reason." The experience can be frustrating at times.

"I can enjoy it, though," James said. "Knowing that I have no strain or stress."


4. James Jones doesn't see what LeBron James does after the latter skips a pass to him in his shooting position.

Jones is too busy watching the ball go through.

James doesn't bother.

The star's faith in the veteran sharpshooter was evident again Saturday, when he turned his head and started slow-walking back on defense before Jones rose to fire. It turned out to be the only one of five three-point attempts that Jones made in Game 3, but he's still at 4-of-10 in the series, right at his career mark of 40.3 percent.

"It's fun," Jones said, smiling. "He must think I'm gonna make every shot. He's got a lot of confidence in me. I just got to make that shot."

He made that one.

"I got to make 'em all, though," Jones said.

Erik Spoelstra making Jones a rotation player is one of the surprises of this series, and the results have rewarded him: Miami is plus-38 in the 41 minutes that Jones has been on the floor, per, with 40 of those minutes coming with James out there too.

That's the best plus-minus on the team, with Chris Andersen second at plus-35.

"I think I add a different dynamic for this team, I add spacing," Jones said. "And when our guys have spacing, and you can't commit five guys to the paint, it makes it that much easier for our guys to be great."

Defensively, Jones has done the job, too, though the matchups will change against either Brooklyn or Toronto, and may dictate more use of Shane Battier. Either way, Spoelstra's rotation decisions for this series have clearly worked. Just check the 20 two-man combinations that are at least plus-eight through three games. All feature at least one sub, led by Jones and James.


5. Udonis Haslem, while hoping to ride to another NBA title, is also focusing on helping others get rides around the state.

For the past several months, Haslemwho otherwise uses Twitter sparinglyhas been posting the hashtag #MiamiNeedsUber to promote the Smartphone application that connects users to a luxury car service.

"When I'm out of town, I use it faithfully," Haslem said. "I love it, it's amazing."

The service is not available in most areas of Florida, including Miami and Fort Lauderdale, largely because it has come under fire from the existing taxicab companies. So, with Florida's legislative session winding down, Haslem has recorded a radio spot in support of SB 1618 and HB 1389, bills that wouldn't allow for statewide service, but by clearing the path in Hillsborough County, they might lead to later expansion elsewhere.

Haslem said that Dwyane Wade actually got him involved first.

But he wanted to make something clear.

"No knock on Aventura Limo," Haslem said. "When I'm here in town, I'm using Aventura Limo, I don't want no beef."

In the past, Haslem has hinted at someday running for mayor of Miami or Miami-Dade, where he grew up and attended high school, even though he now lives in Southwest Broward County.

It looks like local residents will need to look for someone else.

"I'm rethinking that mayor thing," Haslem said. "I don't know, man. Not much faith in politics right now."


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