The Miami Heat shook up the NBA world reeling in the trio of Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Lebron James last month, and with it many are now looking at the Heat as being one of the favorites to win the title next year.
Since LeBron made his decision public, hoop fans seem to have developed an instant hate-on for Miami and at the same time, it seems Kobe Bryant's popularity has soared. Ok, maybe that's a reach.
With all due respect to Steve Nash's Phoenix Suns, Miami just might now be Canada's unofficial NBA squad with Canucks Joel Anthony and Jamal Magloire on the Heat roster. With the World Basketball Championships looming later this month, Anthony gave us his thoughts on Canada's chances at the Worlds and life with the NBA's equivalent of the NWO...
Q-What's it like being a part of the most hated team in the NBA now?
There's a big bullseye on our backs. Everyone is coming at us each and every night and I'm looking forward to the challenge.
Q-Do you feel slighted or disrespected when people say the Miami's Big 3 has no one else around them?
When you have 3 of the top players in the game and unless you're one of them you're going to be slighted. I've heard people say we're not deep enough. I'm confident with the team we have we can prove and of the doubters wrong.
Q-With a 3 headed monster like Lebron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh leading the charge, is there a sense that you better not screw this opportunity up?
A-(laughter) you can't think like that, because if you do, that's when you screw up!
Q-Who is going to play in next year's NBA Finals?
I don't make predictions.
Q-Toronto has been hammered by both Bosh and Tom 'Magnum PI' Sellick in recent days. What's the perception of Toronto or Canada for that matter amongst NBA teammates and colleagues?
A lot of guys I know in the league really like visiting Toronto. For some there's still a concern about taxes, the weather and the currency change. Some find having to go through customs constantly is a real pain. Its just a matter of educating players more about the country and the city.
Do other players tease you about being Canadian?
I lost my 'Eh's' when I was younger so a lot of guys are surprised when they find out I'm Canadian. I used to defend Canada a lot when I was younger. I'm very proud to be Canadian.
Q-What are your expectations for team Canada at the World Basketball Championship at the end of the month?
A whole lot of upsets...everyone is doubting us. I feel like we can (make final 8.)
Canada plays China in an exhibition game August 10th in Vancouver and will face France in a 2 game series August 12th and 13th in Toronto. For more details visit www.basketball.ca