So much for the feel-good, welcome-back Derrick Rose vibe.
The Miami Heat prepared for their season opener tonight against Rose and the Chicago Bulls by being pummeled during practices by assistant coaches wielding football pads.
“We don’t like them, they don’t like us,” James said Monday (via ESPN). “It’s not unheard of. We all know how it is.”
Rose, the only NBA MVP winner (2010-11) not named LeBron James in the last five years, hasn’t played since tearing his anterior cruciate ligament in May 2012. Rose took some heat for missing all of last season but says he used the time to improve.
“I think I’m way better as a player,” Rose said Tuesday (via ESPN Chicago). “My I.Q. has gotten higher and just the way that I play I think I’m a more efficient player. And my teammates that allow me to play the way I normally play so that’s a blessing.”
The Heat will get their NBA championship rings in a pregame ceremony, one the Bulls will choose to skip.
“It’s a regular game to me. Going out here, doing something, I’ve been missing this game for a whole year so [I’m] coming out here enjoying myself and playing this game that I love playing.”
James was a little less eager to dial it back.
“It don’t matter who it is,” James said of the Heat’s opponent. “But we like the fact that it’s the Bulls.”