7 nights, in Miami, covering the Heat, livin’ the dream.
At the Heat’s off-day practice on Friday I managed to get a few quick questions in to starting point guard Mario Chalmers. He’s been known to drop the odd ripper quote so I thought I’d try my luck.
Obviously you’ve improved your game over the last couple of seasons to the point where you are now a very important part of the team. Do you sometimes feel under appreciated with all the attention that is focused on the Big 3? (Note: I sort of felt sorry for the guy in the locker room post-game vs. the Clippers. There were hoards of reporters in there but no one wanted to talk to him; he sat on his own at his locker.)
MC: Na, I mean that’s the way the team is. I mean we’ve got All-Stars and future Hall of Famers on the team. I like to fly under the radar.
In the offseason other point guards like Jeff Teague, Brandon Jennings and Jose Calderon earned $7-8 million per year contracts. Clearly, you’re underpaid on your current contract in comparison to those numbers (he earns $4 million per year; expiring after this season). Does that annoy you in any way, or just gives you more motivation?
MC: I don’t think about it right now. You know, my main focus right now is to get through the season and we’ve got to focus on winning another championship and when that time comes we’ll look at.
Is there any extra pressure this season being a free agent at the end of the year?
MC: Na, I know what I got to do, I know what helps the team and hopefully my hard work pays off.
Well, I tried. Stock standard responses there, but I don’t believe him. From his past comments we know he feels differently. Not to knock him though because he is a very important part of this team and he probably is under appreciated in some ways.
I think Dwyane Wade said it best in this recent interview with SB Nation: “He’s big for us. We’re not sitting here as back-to-back champions without the heart, play-making ability, three-point shooting and defense that Mario Chalmers brings to us. He doesn’t get a lot of the credit because he’s not one of the big-name point guards, he doesn’t score a big amounts of points, but he’s huge for our team. The growth in him has been great, both on and off the court.”
Just one thing on the Big Three. The media interest in them is still massive. The Heat are very good at making them accessible to the media but it’s very structured and EVERYONE wants a piece. By structured, I mean after a few minutes the media relations guys wrap it up. So it’s certainly a challenge working amongst the media vets who know how to work the scrum.
Check out some more pictures below from yesterday’s practice.
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