McHale wonders if LeBron and Miami Heat are tough enough
December 2nd, 2010
10:04 AM ET

McHale wonders if LeBron and Miami Heat are tough enough

NBA hall-of-famer Kevin McHale played 13 years for the Boston Celtics and made the all-star team six times. He played on three championship teams and is currently an analyst on NBA TV. He spoke to CNN about LeBron James’ return to Cleveland tonight. Below is an edited transcript of that interview. The game can be seen on TNT at 8pm ET.

CNN: What’s the most hostile crowd you ever played in front of?

McHale: Probably the Philadelphia crowds in the 1980’s when we were playing for the conference championships. It was entertaining they would curse you out in ways that you never heard before. There was so much venom but the combinations of the cursing were really interesting. It never bothered me, I never felt in danger. It made me ready to play.

CNN: How do you think that will compare to what LeBron James sees when he goes into Cleveland tonight?

McHale: It will be a little different. I was playing on the Celtics and the Philadelphia fans didn’t like us as a team. It wasn’t personal toward me {like it will be for LeBron). I just get the sense, even though I haven’t heard LeBron say it, that he wishes he’d handled the way he left Cleveland differently. Again I haven’t spoken to him but I’m sure he expects to get hammered and he realizes that he didn’t handle things the best way he could have.

CNN: The Heat are off to a slow start, can a hostile environment like they’ll face tonight this bring the team together?

McHale: The Heat need to go in and start playing hard enough that other teams get upset, it’s OK if there’s some yelling and screaming. You look at the Celtics and they’re like a big pack of wolves, backing each other up.

CNN:Do you think LeBron and the Heat are tough enough to handle the crowd?

McHale: That will be interesting. That’s the biggest question I have for this team. Will they play hard, get an edge on, and show some real competitiveness that comes out of hard play.

CNN: A casual observer would wonder why the Heat, with three great players, aren’t winning more. Why isn’t the record better than the current 11-8?

McHale: There’s one ball and there’s five guys on the floor. It’s not necessarily the five most talented guys that win; it’s the five guys that play best together. Basketball is not an individual sport. It is 5 guys in complete harmony. Right now the Heat players aren’t very comfortable with each other. They don’t play fast enough and they don’t look like they’re all pulling in the same direction.

CNN: Will they improve as the season goes on?

McHale: I certainly hope so from their standpoint but I don’t know. I’ve seen teams start off 20-1 and stumble to make the playoffs, you never say never but when you’ve played 19 games, almost a quarter of the season, you say this might be who they are. It will be interesting. The questions you have to answer are: Are they tough enough? Are they together enough? Are they all pulling in the right direction? All those questions have yet to be answered but up to this point the answer to those questions are no, no, and no.

CNN: Where did you think the Heat would finish when the season started, what do you think now?

McHaleI’ve changed my mind so many times I don’t remember what I thought! When they first signed (James and Bosh) I said let me see who they get to play with these guys. They signed Mike Miller who is a tremendous shooter who has been hurt; they re-signed Udonis Haslem which I thought was key. I didn’t think that their big men were at the level they needed to be to beat t a team like the Lakers. So I thought OK, they have some problems.

Then I went and saw them in a pre-season game in early October and I was like holy cow they’re going to be good. They ran, they moved, they shared the ball, I went like wow! So I jumped on the bandwagon and starting touting how good they were going to be.

Then I watched them play a few games in the regular season and I’m thinking oh my goodness, wow, they’re just not very good. So as of today I’m officially off the bandwagon but I reserve the right to jump back on.

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Filed under: Basketball • LeBron James • Sports
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Nay99

    Can't wait for the game tonight! I'll say this, I was expecting Lebron to be injured and miss this trip. Kudos to him for maning up and not punking out. Even if you don't like him anymore, he should be givin props for this. For a great preview of the matchup tonight check out:

    December 2, 2010 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Homer Simpson

    watch the panda or the boones? Hard to tell the difference

    December 2, 2010 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  3. blyzex

    wow idol

    December 7, 2010 at 3:54 am | Report abuse |