Monday Hotness

  • Sam Smith of Bulls.com, who chronicled Michael Jordan's career, writes about LeBron James' decision to, as conventional wisdom now puts it, embrace the villain role: "In some respects, this remarkable transition of James from basketball deity to reprobate is the merging of pro basketball with pro wrestling, as James, like no one before him, has become some sort of personification of sporting evil, if not entirely clear why this all occurred. We know it’s real now, and we know James has decided to accept the role." Smith then draws a distinction between the scripted nature of pro wrestling and this turn in James career. In Smith's eyes, James didn't deliberately seek out this role. "He walked innocently into that 'Decision' TV show," Smith writes. But powerless to reverse the tide, LeBron has surrendered to this new caricature. Having watched James try to explain a way his tweet last Wednesday, I'm not sure it's a persona he's as comfortable with as we're making him out to be.

  • Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports that Derrick Rose reluctantly conceded to a request by Bulls' management over the summer to recruit James to Chicago: "Rose didn’t want LeBron taking the ball out of his hands, nor respect out of the room. Eventually, Rose reached out, but only out of a sense of duty. Rose didn’t want James, nor did Rose particularly want Wade to make a Chicago homecoming. During early July, Rose shut himself in the gym and worked on his game. The soap opera bored him."

  • Bill Reiter of Fox Sports cautions LeBron James to abide by Pascal's Wager: "I'm not saying citing karma -- and then backpedaling -- means he's now experiencing some of his own. I'm just saying, why risk it?"

  • Zach Lowe of Point Forward presents a smart, succinct, definitive case for Chris Bosh as All-Star: "The early-season object of mockery has been one of the most consistently productive players in the league. He is really the fulcrum of Miami’s offense because of his pick-and-pop skills, and the Heat’s top-flight defense is based partly on Bosh’s ability to run out on pick-and-rolls, cut off ball-handlers and scramble back to his guy (or the opponent’s other big man). His elite plus/minus numbers tell the story. Bosh is an All-Star. Whether he’s ready for the intensity of a seven-game blood bath against Boston or Orlando is a different story."

  • Ethan J. Skolnick of the Palm Beach Post writes that Bulls' big man Kurt Thomas could've helped the Heat. Thomas attributes his longevity in the league to his first coach, Pat Riley.

  • We might be in the digital age of video recaps, but chalk one up for the centuries-old medium of illustrated storytelling with another irresistible cartoon by the Palm Beach Post's John Bisognano.

  • According to advanced statistician Wayne Winston's weighted team rankings, it's the Heat's offense -- not their struggling defense -- that's holding them back.

  • SportsScanInfo.com tweets: "Lebron James had the top three best selling jerseys-(Mia-black, Mia-youth black, Cle-youth red). Kobe @ #4."

  • Thursday night's Heats-Nuggets matchup was the Heat's least-viewed game of the season on TNT, but still drew a relatively healthy rating.