MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) — With his first Championship ring, an Olympic gold medal and the title of 2011-12’s NBA MVP, LeBron James has dominated the basketball court both in the US and overseas.
On Saturday, he received his latest accolade – he was honored with his own Olympic banner.
“To have a banner go up for the United States of America, you’re not just representing the respective city that you’re in or a team,” James said after Miami’s 119-116 win over the Denver Nuggets. “You’re representing everybody in America.”
Other current and former Heat players have won Olympic gold medals, including Chris Bosh, but the team has only presented banners to those who were part of the organization at the time of their victories; which is why the Miami Heat unveiled the banner to honor James’ participation on the gold-medal winning U.S. men’s basketball team at this summer’s London Olympics.
James averaged 13.3 points at the London Olympics with the U.S. winning all eight of its games.
Saturday night’s unveiling was the team’s second banner ceremony at a home game. The first banner was raised honoring the 2012 NBA championship team before their season opener on Tuesday.
James stood midcourt smiling throughout the pregame ceremony with Dwyane Wade and Tim Hardaway standing beside him.
When the black drape was lifted, a beautiful white banner was displayed with London Olympics’ symbol, Olympic rings and Jame’s name.
His banner sways next to those honoring previous Heat players who were gold-medal winners; Dwyane Wade (2008), Alonzo Mourning (2000) and Tim Hardaway (2000).
Before the game, Wade discussed the banner with the reigning NBA MVP and James said he was “honored” by the gesture.
“We don’t take it for granted,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “Players, the great ones who have that type of mentality, they can’t get enough of competition and taking down that next hurdle. That’s what LeBron’s all about. That’s what he’s been about his whole career. It just finally took an NBA championship for people to view him as such.”
Bosh and Wade both skipped this year’s Olympics because of injuries.
“I went through a lot of mixed emotions this summer,” Bosh said. “Yes, I was having a good time. But when I watched the Olympics, it’s like, ‘Man, I want to be out there. It looks like so much fun.’ They played a fun style of basketball.”
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