HEAT Insider: Stephen A. Smith

HEAT Insider Interview
with Stephen A. Smith

HEAT Insider caught up with ESPN NBA analyst Stephen A. Smith to talk about the HEAT’s start to the season, MVP candidates, and his love for South Beach.

HEAT Insider: Are you surprise by the HEAT’s start to the season?

Stephen A. Smith: “I was getting ready to say a little bit, but honestly, I’m shocked. The way that they’ve been playing has been good. They play hard. They’re such a young team, but you see the talent that they have. They still have a ways to go. Honestly, I didn’t expect this. You have a rookie coach and two rookies (playing significant minutes). No one would have thought they would be looking this good or playing this hard. It’s all starts with their superstar, Dwyane Wade.”

HI: Is Wade, in your opinion, an early candidate for MVP honors?

SAS: “As far as I’m concerned it’s a two-horse race for MVP – it’s between him and LeBron (James). And I don’t see anyone coming close to those two. Dwyane’s been sensational and Miami is benefiting.”

HI: What’s the difference between Dwyane Wade this year from previous years?

SAS: “Wade in previous years, he was just balling. Now, he’s on a mission – he has something to prove. To be the MVP of the NBA Finals, to bring a championship to Miami in 2006, missing games, I feel he feels that he fell off the map a little bit – like people forgot that he’s a superstar. He’s a superstar in his own right. He wants to remind people that when you talk about Kobe (Bryant), when you talk about LeBron James, you would need to mention him as well. He’s making a statement and he’s using this season and he used the Olympics to make that statement. Everybody needs to watch out because he’s coming.”

HI: How good can Michael Beasley be?

SAS: “He can be a star in this league. He has those requisite skills. What he did at the collegiate level, one year at Kansas State, was dominate. You know he can ball. He was the No. 2 overall pick in the draft because he was worthy of it. But when you get on this level, it’s not just about your skills. It’s about the work that you’re willing to put in, the dedication that you’re willing to put in, and, most importantly, the humility that you’re willing to exhibit. There’s a thin line between confidence that you must have and the humility that you have to have. He can play – he can really play. He will be a star in this league.”

HI: You often talk about South Beach when you’re broadcasting. What do you love so much about it?

SAS: “It’s gorgeous. It’s a potpourri – a gorgeous mosaic. They say New York, which is where I’m from, being that way, but South Beach is that way. Also, the night life, the parties, all of that stuff. I’m not saying that’s the type of lifestyle that I live – anymore. I’m imagining that I’m a young guy making millions, where would I want to live? This is one of the top three places.”

HI: Come playoff time, will the HEAT be hosting playoffs games here in Miami?

SAS: “I can see them making a push towards the post-season – they may make it in. I’m not sure how much noise they’re going to make. They are still young. When you think about Cleveland, Boston, Detroit, and Orlando – anyone who wants to get out of the first round has to get past one of those teams. That’s a tough task for anyone.”