It's no secret that NBA players like to watch football. On any random fall Sunday, their Twitter accounts abound with commentary on the week's biggest games, whether it involves repping for their hometown teams or just providing their own form of analysis on the matchups.
Unless you've avoided all media for a week, you're probably aware that the Super Bowl is this Sunday. While the NBA isn't attempting to go head-to-head with the game, they have scheduled three games on Sunday. The last of them tips off at 2 p.m. E.T. and features the Miami Heat facing off against the Raptors in Toronto. While the Heat should be able to leave the arena before the 49ers and Ravens kick off, NBA standard operating procedure dictates that they'll fly back to Miami for Monday's home game against the Charlotte Bobcats as soon as possible. That means that they'll be in the air for the game itself.
LeBron James is not happy. In fact, he complained about it to reporters on Wednesday. From Ira Winderman for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel (via SLAM):
Like other teammates, James is upset that the 2 p.m. start against the Toronto Raptors means the team will miss a significant part, if not all, of the Super Bowl, with the Heat's current team plane lacking satellite television or wi-fi service. [...]
"How disgusting is that?" he said after Wednesday's shootaround at the Barclays Center prior to the game against the Brooklyn Nets.
"If the Cowboys were in the Super Bowl, I'd stay there for the game," he said of his passionate football rooting interest.
"Disgusting" seems like an exaggeration, and it's hard to feel too sorry for anyone whose work flights involve very comfortable private planes. There are certainly many people who do have to work on Super Bowl Sunday, and they put up with the hassle as best they can. Missing cool things due to other responsibilites is a fact of adult life.
But this obviously stinks for LeBron and the rest of the Heat, because they're high-level athletes with an appreciation for their colleagues in other sports. More generally, it's also a reminder that they can be fans just like us, with the same desires to kick back and watch a really important game as an interested observer.
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Many NBA players have been involved in football as players, too. James was an accomplished high school receiver before opting for basketball full-time, and there are some who think he could have played in the NFL if he'd stuck to football. He even expressed interest in signing with an NFL squad as the NBA lockout raged on in 2011, although it's fair to wonder if he was just bored and/or looking for some publicity.
Whatever the case, we hope LeBron finds a way to watch a recording of the game on Sunday night without hearing the score ahead of time. He just needs to remember to stay off Twitter.
Super Bowl video from Yahoo! Sports:
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