By the end, the patience had run thin, razor thin.
The patience with a teammate who wasn't there for 28 games during the regular season.
The patience with a center who at times came up small.
The patience for a coach who ran the same defensive schemes that the
The patience with a front office that made reducing the luxury tax a priority.
Or you could believe the Madison Avenue spin, which assuredly is playing on your television right now.
By the end of his
And that's fine. When you're bigger than the game, you have that right.
LeBron James can do anything he wants.
But what he can't expect from others is what he has shown precious little of himself:
The self-acknowledged quest is to one day become viewed as the greatest ever. The perspective requires championships.
And that makes every season LeBron James plays, especially now that he turns 30 in December . . . THE MOST IMPORTANT SEASON OF HIS CAREER.
He'll claim different, because the pressure at times the previous four seasons grew surreal, where two championships in four years drove him to look for something better.
So now he is preaching patience, quoting Aaron Rodgers in a tweet about how everyone should relax, downplaying what initially was reported as a spat with Cleveland Cavaliers teammate Kyrie Irving.
When you're LeBron James, when you, correctly, talk about how there should be no maximum salary for your services, you can't expect anything less than maximum inspection.
And if there truly was a perspective of patience, if there truly was a long view, would Heat Saturday night opponent Andrew Wiggins have been so quickly dispatched to the
To a degree, patience was in place before any of the fervor arrived. The hiring of
Now that takes patience, just as it did with Erik Spoelstra, who had not won a single playoff series before James was added by the Heat.
The type of patience James is seeking is based on his Heat experience, of how 9-8 in 2010-11 and of how four- and five-game losing streaks that followed still led to the first of four consecutive
Had James stayed, the Heat would have been favored for a fifth consecutive Finals.
But he wanted some things else: Relocation and renovation.
He got both.
But what he can't have is patience. He has moved well beyond the mile marker.
IN THE LANE
RATINGS GAME: Sometimes you get too close and lose perspective. Enter Sports Illustrated's Basketball Greatest, the magazine's coffee-table book of NBA rankings. Included in the various top-10 ratings were players with various lengths of Heat tenures. So where does the greatest player in Heat franchise history stand? The book has Dwyane Wade at No. 4 all-time among shooting guards, behind the top three of Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and
OVER THERE: A glance at the league leaders in the Chinese Basketball Association, which is into its first week of play, shows just how significant the exodus has been by borderline talent lured by guaranteed dollars. Former Heat forward
NEW AGE: Among those in attendance at the Heat's road opener last weekend against the Philadelphia 76ers was former Heat part-owner Billy Cunningham. Cunningham who helped guide the Heat's front office during the franchise's first seven seasons but is best known for his time playing for and coaching the 76ers, admitted being intrigued by the 76ers staking their entire outlook on hoarding future draft picks and cap space. "I tell you what, I tip my hat that they have the fortitude to try it," Cunningham told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "I don't think I would have had the fortitude to try it." To a degree, Cunningham said the 76rers are starting from scratch like the expansion Heat. "We took a player from this team and that team," he said of the 1988 expansion draft and basically what the 76ers have assembled, "and tried to build up some draft picks. It's hard. It's not an easy chore. Plus, you've got to get lucky."
3. Heat players who have scored at least 100 points in their first four games of the season. Chris Bosh fell short this season at 98. It was done by Dwyane Wade (2004, '09), LeBron James (2011) and