Sep 19, 2012, 10:33 AM EST
LeBron James returned to Cleveland last season saying he would not rule out perhaps one day again playing for the Cavaliers.
Ray Allen took out a full-page ad in Boston to remind Celtics fans how much he cherishes their time together.
Grant Hill is back in Phoenix speaking fondly about his time with the Suns, even after moving to a division rival, with the Suns talking about Hill one day moving into their front office.
Know what the NBA needs just about now? Something along the lines of bounty-gate.
Because leagues are at their best when rivalries are pure, lines are drawn, when you’re either with us or against us.
Oh, there’s still some of that in today’s NBA, including the surliness of Kevin Garnett and Kendrick Perkins toward anyone not in their team’s colors, and the one-upmanship between the front offices of the Nets and Knicks, but at a time when Kevin Durant is working out alongside LeBron, it does tend to take the edge of what the NBA once was, the pulsating chants of “Beat L.A.!” even when you weren’t actually playing L.A.
During a recent community even in Boston, Celtics coach Doc Rivers urged a singular approach for the coming season for his players: “I bring up Miami every single day to them. I want them to hate them. I want them to beat them. That’s gotta be our focus.”
Instead, we’re getting Hornets players working out alongside Spurs players in San Antonio, open gyms around the NBA featuring visits by opposing players, including one just the other day from Derek Fisher at the Lakers’ facility.
To a degree, this is a global community the NBA has forged, a shared bond of furthering the game, if not necessarily furthering rivalries.
It is why Mark Cuban remains somewhat refreshing with his Mavs-vs.-the-world approach, why we now, more than ever, can appreciate how Pat Riley had so fervently preached against fraternization.
The Heat were fun last season because they were compelling. They might have been more fun the season before, when they were loathed.
You may not condone what Greg Schiano pulled this week against the Giants, but he made it clear this was not about winning friends. It was about competition, a line that sometimes gets blurred in today’s NBA.
- Training like the Pros: Recapping a month-long Nike Basketball workout experience 0
- Report: JaVale McGee can’t reach deal with Celtics 8
- Craig Sager makes long-awaited return to TNT after 11-month battle with leukemia 3
- Five Things We Learned in NBA Wednesday: Masked Russell Westbrook just needs a cape 19
- George Karl: Knicks could use a strong point guard next to Carmelo Anthony 14
- Ray Allen announces he will not play this season 14
- Pelicans’ Anthony Davis a gametime decision Wednesday vs. Pistons 1
- Derek Fisher questions ‘character and integrity’ of players after Knicks lose to Kings by 38 points 30