After an off-season circus that ended with LeBron James taking his talents to South Beach via "The Decision," training camp, and actual basketball, is upon us.
In his first practice as a member of the Miami Heat, James brought defensive energy to the court, according to coach Erik Spoelstra, and even had a war of words with Dwayne Wade over the final score of a drill.
"That's what we're trying to get from everybody, no possessions off, to have that mentality," Spoelstra said. "It was a good start."
An intense day at Heat camp, Miami players, including James, seemed to bring extra effort playing before a a crowd of reporters in their practice facility at the U.S Air Force Base in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. As Wade and James battled each other, sometimes even manning up on one another, all day, and the other players responded to their attitudes early.
"It is, and it was very intense from start to finish," Heat power forward Udonis Haslem said. "The intensity was high. No one was slacking. We got our work done. Everything was good."
Participating in his first organized basketball activity since Cleveland's Game 6 collapse against Boston in last year's playoffs, LeBron was a vocal leader during drills, especially defensive ones, as he seemed to fit in seamlessly with his new teammates.
Although James has said it will take time for him to adjust to his new team, his first practice showed no indication that he felt uncomfortable at anytime during the day. Even his spat with Dwayne Wade was good-natured, ending with assistant coach Bob McAdoo nominating James the winner, forcing Wade to run an extra sprint.
James still appears to be the dominating presence both on the court and in the media, not letting this summer affect his play nor his media personality. His intensity on the hardwood reflected what is sure to be a storm brewing inside, example being his angry dunk during a defensive station that left onlookers in shock.
Motivated by a tumultuous summer that saw an entire country turn against him, LeBron will no doubt use his new-found naysayers to add fuel to his burning desire to win. While questions still remain on whether James, Bosh, and Wade can all coexist on the same court for 82-plus games, early indications show that the trio is doing just fine adapting to each other's game.
In the words of King James, "I'm always going to continue to be a leader, no matter what team I'm on."