The Miami Heat play the Chicago Bulls as part of the NBA's opening slate on Tuesday night, and as is tradition, the league will present the defending champions with giant rings in a celebration of their achievements from the previous season. But LeBron James and Co. wish they'd schedule the ceremony for another night.
It's a fairly common complaint from year to year — that the ring presentation often distracts from the task at hand and the focus of the game on opening night. But it's a problem the Heat will just have to deal with.
"It is what it is -- there's nothing we can do about it," James said Sunday as the Heat prepared for Tuesday's ring ceremony that will take place before the season opener against Chicago. "It's something we'd rather do [earlier], take care of last year. After we get our rings, then that's last year. And then we'll go from there."
James and teammates Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem said they wish there could be a separate ceremony unassociated with an impending game that has real consequences, however minor they might be in an 82-game season. Haslem suggested it take place on the same day as the parade — which would no doubt put far too much stress on the jeweler put in charge of the design task — and Wade mentioned he thought it'd be good to set up an event that would be televised and made available for fans to attend.
Holding a ring ceremony on opening night is ideal for the NBA, given all the eyeballs on television screens across the world. But it seems that year after year teams talk about the level of distraction the presentation causes, so perhaps it is something that could be taken into consideration.
Still, when big ratings are involved for a national television audience, persuading the NBA to change a tradition like this is a tall task. Even for the game's best player.