MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) — There is going to be some strong competition between playing trying to make the Miami Heat’s roster for the upcoming season.
One of those guys is John Lucas.
He’s been on their wall of fame for a while.
It’s probably his most famous — or infamous — NBA moment. He was playing for Chicago on Jan. 29, 2012 in the first quarter of a game at Miami, and LeBron James leaped over the 5-foot-11 Lucas to slam an alley-oop pass from Dwyane Wade. The play has been viewed millions of times on YouTube, and the image is included in the giant photo collages on the walls leading to the Heat locker room.
And when Lucas’ plane landed in Miami on Sunday, he was greeted by someone saying “Hey, that’s the dude LeBron jumped over.”
“Hey, it was a hell of a play,” Lucas said at Heat media day, when he didn’t mind talking about it whatsoever. “I haven’t watched it in a while but every time I walk into the locker room, they’ve got a big picture of him jumping over me so I’m always reminded of what happened here.”
He didn’t see the photo by accident: When he arrived, Heat assistant coach Juwan Howard quickly pointed it out to him.
Lucas didn’t do anything wrong on the play. He was guarding Mario Chalmers, who set a backscreen on Richard Hamilton — who was guarding James. Hamilton either never saw the screen or simply lost track of the play, James took off toward the rim from the right wing, and Wade threw the lob several feet over Lucas’ head.
James never saw Lucas. Turns out, Lucas never saw him, either.
“I can recall the play,” Lucas said. “Rip Hamilton got backscreened, he was supposed to get through the screen, I had to end up taking that and I caught the bad end of it. I didn’t even really know what happened until I got subbed out of the game and I saw the replay. I turned my phones off when I got into the locker room.”
Monday was media day, a day for fun and games and memories like that dunk.
Tuesday marks the start of Heat training camp, and Lucas will get far more serious.
He’s under contract with an NBA team for the 18th time, and like virtually all the other deals this one comes with no real guarantees. He turns 33 in November, is nearly 10 years removed from his pro debut and has been with 11 different NBA clubs — actually making the court for a regular-season game with five of them.
Lucas nearly made the Heat roster out of camp in 2009. He’s now got another chance.
“A lot of teams were interested in bringing me in,” Lucas said. “But I felt like this was the right fit for me just the way they play, the style of basketball, I feel like I know their system from playing here six years ago, same coaching staff, same everything. … It just felt like a perfect fit for me.”
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