Is it football season yet?

Published 8:39 am Tuesday, July 13, 2010

It was like watching a soap opera unfold, just without all the sexual overtones.

Unless you were hiding under a rock and oblivious to what was unfolding in the world, LaBron James bolted the sports mecca of Cleveland (just kidding) for sunny Miami last week. “King” James (I didn’t know he was descended from royalty) took his two-time NBA MVP game to the famed South Beach and pocketed a cool $110 million in the process.

Not bad for a 25-year-old kid that never cracked open a book in college…he skipped that part of his life, taking his enormous talents to the NBA in 2003 straight from St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in Ohio.

I’m not a big fan of the NBA; never have been; never expect to be in the future. I’m a football and hockey guy…basketball and baseball bore me to no end. Perhaps it’s the physical contact of football and hockey that I find intriguing. Basketball has evolved into a contact sport, but it wasn’t designed that way; perhaps it was in an effort to draw real sports fans to that game….us football fans.

Did you know that the inventor of basketball, Dr. James Naismith, was a football player? Under orders from Dr. Luther Gulick, head of Springfield YMCA Physical Education, Naismith was given a two-week period in 1891 to create an indoor game that would provide an “athletic distraction.” Gulick demanded that it would not take up much room, could help its track athletes to keep in shape and explicitly emphasized to “make it fair for all players and not too rough.”

If only Dr. Naismith could now see how his sport has evolved.

Anyway, back to King James version of this column.

With Dwayne Wade coming back to the Heat and some guy named Chris Bosh (as a non-NBA follower; I never heard of the guy until last week) Miami hasn’t seen such glitz and glamour since the “T-shirt under Armani jacket”-style days of Sonny Crockett (Don Johnson) and Ricardo Tubbs (Phillip Michael Thomas), a pair of Metro-Dade Police Department detectives working undercover on the TV series Miami Vice. The show ran for five seasons on NBC from 1984–1989.

On the day after the news was announced that James, Wade and Bosh had all signed with the Heat, the headline in the Miami Herald proclaimed – The New Kingdom. Perhaps the back issues of the M-Herald (kind’a catchy, ain’t it…a rip-off of D-Wade) were mistaken for drugs by Crockett and Tubbs and buried in evidence room of the Metro-Dade PD.

Has anybody ever heard of Larry Csonka, Jim Kiick and Bob Griese (with Paul Warfield thrown in for good measure)? Respectively, they comprised the best set of running backs, quarterback and wide receiver thrown together on the same team in Miami Dolphins history. Together they won back-to-back Super Bowls in 1972 and ’73. And who will ever forget the 1972 Dolphins – the first and, to date, only team to win every game in an NFL season. I’d like to see the Heat’s new Fab-3 go through a full season undefeated.

How ‘bout this terrific threesome – Dan Marino throwing to receivers such as Mark Clayton and Mark Duper in the 1980’s. Those were some glory days down in Miami as well.

While many in the sports world are giddy with excitement over this new basketball kingdom, the real question among real men is…when does football season start?

(Cal Bryant is Editor of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald and Gates County Index. He can be reached at or 252-332-7207. Go Dolphins!)