Having witnessed the connection between Rick Ross and the Miami Heat’s Big Three of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, Heat center Bam Adebayo said Friday it only seems natural to have the Carol City-raised rapper at the voice of this season’s FTX Arena player-introduction video.
“I mean Ross comes around here often,” Adebayo said ahead of Friday night’s game against the visiting Boston Celtics. “And for me, I listened to Rick Ross since I was younger. So being able to meet the guy is a big moment for me, because he’s been one of the best artists out.”
The Heat debuted Ross’ Push It as their intro theme before Wednesday night’s season-opening loss to the Chicago Bulls.
“Having him on our Jumbotron, really trying to be in the community, trying to breathe his life into the culture way, it’s just respect,” Adebayo said. “And then obviously he’s been with the Big Three and he’s had that history.
“So just trying to carry that torch, it’s just respect to me.”
Adebayo spoke at the morning shootaround about Thursday’s death of NBA referee Tony Brown at 55 from pancreatic cancer.
“Tony was one of those referees, he never let us get under his skin,” Adebayo said. “You know, throughout the 50-50 calls and us blowing up about it, intense moments, he was one of those referees I could go up to and say it with my emotion, but he wouldn’t take it that way.”
That, Adebayo said, made Brown different.
“You’ll get teched up pretty quick in this league,” Adebayo said. “They don’t care about your twenty-five hundred. But that’s the thing, we could blow up and have our moment because we’re human. If we think that’s a bad call, we’ve got the right to express ourselves. Some referees get offended about it.
“Tony was one of those guys, I could blow up, he would be like, ‘Well, man, from my angle it’s a foul.’ He kept it cool, calm and collected. So for me, man, I’m sad he’s gone. Sending my condolences to his family.”
Give it time
Adebayo smiled when asked Friday about first-round pick Nikola Jovic being held out of Wednesday’s season opener.
“I mean, when I got here I didn’ play until, what, November, mid-November, early December, something like that? So it’s a pecking order,” said Adebayo, who was held out of two of the Heat’s first three games as a rookie in 2017 and did not get full rotation traction until late November that season.
“But when his moment’s called, be ready,” he said of Jovic, the No. 27 pick out of Serbia. “We got the saying, UD [Udonis Haslem] created it, ‘Stay ready so you ain’t got to get ready.’ And he’s been doing that, day in and day out.
“You all see him at the game not playing, but behind the scenes he’s working out, watching film, staying ready.”
Guard Max Strus said Friday that it would be taking the easy way out to cite any dropoff in Heat defense due to the offseason loss of power forward P.J. Tucker to the Philadelphia 76ers in free agency.
“Defense is a team thing, so it’s not one guy that’s going to make or break us,” he said. “So we’ll be alright. I know P.J.’s a great player and we loved having him here. But we just need to be better all around, and we’ve got the guys to do it, so we’ll figure it out.”
To the point
Adebayo was succinct when asked about the emotions of facing the Celtics for the first time since Boston eliminated the Heat in Game 7 of last season’s Eastern Conference finals.
“I mean, we all went home,” he said. “That’s the bottom line. The team, organization, the staff, we got sent home. So that’s something to think about when you go out on that court.”