LeBron James makes an impression on troops at OKC airport

Mar 28 2012 - 3:10pm

OKLAHOMA CITY -- First, it was being the catalyst in the Heat team photograph showing support for Trayvon Martin's family.

Sunday, Miami Heat forward LeBron James impressed with another feel-good moment. The Oklahoman reported James' nice gesture when the team stopped to refuel on the way to Portland three weeks ago.

The newspaper, quoting an airport worker, said James urged the Heat players to take photos and sign autographs for military personnel. They, too, had stopped to refuel a dozen helicopters, according to the article.

James confirmed the story after the morning shootaround, saying he felt it was necessary to show support of the troops.

"These are guys who put their life in danger every day," James said.

"If it wasn't for them, we wouldn't be free. They give us freedom every day. It's ironic that they would be there at the airport the same time we were there. I got the team together. We all took a picture with all of them. I had a great conversation with them. They do so many great things for America, for all of us. The least we could do was take a picture with them."

Before Friday's game against the Detroit Pistons, James was the ringleader in the team taking a photograph with all players wearing a hoodie.

It was a move to show support for Martin, a black teen who was shot and killed in Sanford while wearing a hoodie. The story has drawn national attention because many believe Martin was racially profiled.

MORE FLAG FOOTBALL FOR LEBRON-DURANT

James and Oklahoma City forward Kevin Durant drew lots of attention for their flag football contest in December during the NBA lockout.

There are plans for a rematch, but it may have to wait until after next season. Both players considered doing it during the summer, but will be unavailable because of the Olympics in London.

"The rematch in flag football will happen," James said. "I don't know if it's this summer because of the Olympics but it will happen at some point."

James' team won 73-63 in a game that was streamed live on the Internet. The moment showed the strength of their friendship that began when Durant was in high school. They remained in contact over the years and worked out together last offseason.

"We called it 'Hell Week,' " James said. "Monday through Friday, we went twice a day. It was one of the toughest weeks we've both had as workouts. It was some great work that we've got out of it."

HOMECOMING FOR HARRIS

Heat guard Terell Harris was in familiar surroundings for Sunday's game. It was a homecoming of sort for Harris, who played at Oklahoma State from 2005-09.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said he realized early Harris was a former member of the Cowboys program, known for its defensive tenacity.

"It wasn't a coincidence," Spoelstra said.

"He plays like an Oklahoma State player. He was tough, physical. He had a defensive mentality from the first day of training camp. We basically brought him in for training camp just to put on Dwayne and LeBron for 10 days and he was dogging them for a week."

SCORING DOWN

Before Sunday, the Heat had scored less than 100 points in nine of the last 11 games.

Spoelstra said it's a result of opponents making postseason pushes, causing an increased level of intensity. He said there was no concern with the low-scoring numbers.

"Things have picked (up) since the All-Star break," Spoelstra said.

"We're seeing a little more playoff intensity from a lot of the teams we're playing. Plus, we're playing of lot of these games on the road. None of these are excuses. When we're able to defend and finish off our defensive efforts with rebounding like we did (Friday), that usually translates into open-court opportunities. Our running numbers were better the other night."

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