Whether you love Stephen A. Smith, you hate him or you are indifferent towards him, he got this one right. He called the LeBron James move to Miami correctly before just about anyone else.
Smith predicted that Chris Bosh and James would join Dwyane Wade in South Beach during his morning radio show on June 28, saying, “You’re only as good as your sources. LeBron James is going to play with Dwyane Wade in South Beach. Chris Bosh and LeBron James are going to Miami Heat. It’s not official, but I’m telling you LeBron is going to the Miami Heat.”
To the dismay of the “Screamin’ A” doubters and critics, 10 days later that’s exactly how the dominoes fell.
Stephen A. Smith joined Into the Night with Tony Bruno to discuss his correct prediction, the impact of James’ decision to go to Miami and whether the Heat have to win a championship this year to avoid disappointment.
On the historical importance of Thursday night’s decision:
“I think you’ve got to put it in its proper perspective. The fact of the matter is he generates tens of millions of dollars for any city that he’s a part of. What that transponds into is for more job opportunities for a lot of people because you’re generating revenue and the more revenue people have, the more they can spend. And the more they are going to spend it on other people. It does a lot for the economy, it does a lot for the local economy. It does a lot for the spirit of the city. … You can’t diminish its impact, I don’t think there’s any way around that. We sit there and try to look at these guys as just basketball players, but there’s a reason so many people clamor towards them.”
On whether NBA commissioner David Stern likes James’ move:
“I think he would be because I think when you look at it for what it’s worth, the fact of the matter is that you’ve got a juggernaut. You’ve got a franchise that everybody’s going to be chasing and everybody’s going to be trying to measure up to. I think that’s incredibly significant, there’s just no way around it. That’s the way I look at it. I’m a die-hard Yankees fan. I like the evil empire. I like the team that everybody’s shooting for, trying to knock them off their pedestal. I think that’s what ultimately made the [NBA] great.”
On whether James’ legacy will diminish because he chose to join up with other stars:
“No, because I think the first thing, you have to crawl before you walk. You have to get a championship first. Kobe didn’t want to get rid of Shaq until he had three titles. The reality is, is that when you don’t have anything, you’ve got 10 fingers and they’re all fine and none of them are broken but they are empty because no championship rings are on them, that’s a problem, especially when you’re King James, the chosen one, the guy with the legacy to consider. The fact of the matter is, if he wasn’t putting himself in the best position to win a world championship, then he would’ve been a fool.”
On the expectations of the Miami Heat this season:
“The Miami Heat, they don’t have to beat the Lakers, but if the Miami Heat don’t get to the NBA Finals or they lose to anybody else other than the Lakers, this season is an abject failure. They must get out of the Eastern Conference, they must be playing in the NBA Finals, and unless they go against Kobe Bryant, they have no excuse to lose in the NBA Finals.”
Listen to the full interview with Stephen A. on Into the Night with Tony Bruno here (Interview begins just prior to the 12:00-minute mark)