October 25, 2016 | 2:04 pm EDT Update
Once the championship banner is raised, the Cleveland rafters will have nine titles represented: five Central Division, three Eastern Conference and one NBA. The Cavs had to order a trophy case to be built in their facility to house all the hardware James has helped them win. “I’m looking forward to seeing that banner go up and it saying world champions,” James said. “And another one for Eastern Conference champion and for a division title. It’s great to see those accomplishments and be a part of it.”
What do you think of the NBA’s fixation on championships over everything else? Do you think that’s fair? Carmelo Anthony: Yes and no. I don’t think you should be defined—I don’t think that should be who you are, whether you win or lose [a championship], even off the court. Just because you don’t win a championship, that shouldn’t be turned into how you think about me all the way through, you know what I mean? But in sports, somebody’s got to win and somebody’s got to lose. That’s just what it’s about. It’s competitive—I want to beat you and you want to beat me.
Will you be satisfied if you don’t have a ring when you hang it up? Carmelo Anthony: I wouldn’t be satisfied, but what can I do at that point? I’m not going to be depressed that I didn’t win if I didn’t at that time. I’m not going to be depressed or down inside. But yeah, I wouldn’t be satisfied because that’s what we play for. We play to be at the highest level. So there’s no way I would be satisfied.
When most people think of Red Rocks Amphitheatre 15 miles west of Denver, they think of a live music venue that has almost no equal for sheer scenic beauty. When Gary Harris and a handful of his NBA teammates on the Denver Nuggets think about Red Rocks, they think about an outdoor gym. Perched at 6,450 feet above sea level, Red Rocks turns out to be a pretty amazing place for offseason altitude training.
Next, he moves to the 83 steps and sprints up three times.“I’m usually pretty dead by now,” Mr. Harris says. Then he runs the 70 bleacher-style seats as hard as possible twice in a row, with a three-minute recovery in between. The workout ends with climbs up the sides of a set of high planter boxes. Mr. Harris strides up to each and recruits explosive power to attempt to jump onto the top edge of each planter’s wall. “It takes superhuman power,” says. Mr. Harris. “Day One, you think it’s impossible.”
He didn’t. Powell’s monster jam tied the score, and the Raptors went on to win the game and the series, their first in 15 long years. The clutch play was Powell’s first signature moment in the NBA, the kind of big-stage performance that can signal a star turn for a young player. Factor in the stellar Summer League showing that followed it and the noticeable improvements he’s displayed in the pre-season, and you can understand why Powell has already been anointed by many as the Raptors next breakout star. And he just may be. But Norman Powell isn’t buying it. Not yet, at least. “People think ‘Oh, you did it in the playoffs, you got minutes, you’ve made it,’” Powell says on the eve of a Raptors’ pre-season game in Detroit. “I made a couple of shots. I made a couple of plays. That’s great, sure, but I worked for that. I’m not where I want to be… I’m nowhere close.”