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July 9, 2010

Chris Bosh

LeBron James

Dwyane Wade

THE MODERATOR: As you see, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, this is going to be your opportunity to ask them questions. If you have a question, please raise your hand and we'll send a mic.

Q. LeBron, about 24 hours ago you were sitting in Connecticut. And you know what the reaction was in Cleveland, what your former owner, his reaction to your decision. And then you come to Miami and you have this show tonight. Can you just sort of take us through emotionally what these 24 hours have been like for you?
LEBRON JAMES: It's been the process -- the process that I believe that I wanted to go through when I did my short-term deal a few years ago. And it's been emotionally draining at times.
It's been exciting. It's been nerve-racking. I've been scared at times. I've been afraid. But at the same time I've accepted the challenge to move on. And I feel great. I feel great now and the fans and this organization has put me back in a family-oriented place where I've always been.

Q. LeBron, what would you like to say directly in response to what Gilbert put out last night, and what do you have to say to the fans in Northeast Ohio that you left behind?
LEBRON JAMES: First off, I don't have a reaction to what Dan said. You know, when things hit the fan you see guys' true colors. And I understand that. I wish that organization the best of luck.
I wish those fans the best of luck, because I still do love those fans, no matter where I put myself for the rest of my life. I still got a lot of friends on that team. And I wish them the best of luck.
But as far as me responding to what Dan has to say, I don't have a reaction, because at the end of the day Dan's comments will not stop me and my family from sleeping at night. It just won't do it. It's only just going to make us powerful, more powerful.

Q. Now that everything is settled, you guys are all here. Can you go ahead and end the madness and explain when this partnership really was formed and how many meetings you all had together and dispel some of the rumors and all that kind of stuff?
LEBRON JAMES: I can take it. The partnership was formed, I think it was June 25th of 2003, I think, or around -- it was one of those days, the day of the Draft. That was the day when this partnership was formed.
No one even knew. We didn't know. But we was all drafted 1, 4 and 5. And then once again, being a part of the same Olympic team. Once again, we was a part of a team but didn't know this would happen. But we was forming then.
Losing in the world championship, and then winning a gold medal, once again, another opportunity where we were together but didn't know we would be together like this.
As far as the rumors and allegations about us having a meeting in Miami and us having meetings on Mars and all these other places, that stuff was all rumors. We talk. We're friends. We talk throughout the year all year long about our lives, about our seasons, how they're going.
But we followed the process just like everybody did, after that July 1st date. I hate to speak for all of us, but we're here now. And we're here for a long time.

Q. LeBron, this question is for you. What did Pat Riley say to you during that visit that really stuck out with you? And the reports that he brought championship rings, if he did, what did you think?
LEBRON JAMES: I think from a basketball standpoint, Pat threw out the possibility of us teaming up together. That was great. The possibility of us All-Stars, us superstars uniting to become one, that was great. But that wasn't the best thing about it.
As good as Dwyane Wade is and as good as Chris Bosh and as good as I am individually, that wasn't even the best part of the meeting. The best part of the meeting was the whole family thing, how we are a close-knit family.
We do everything as a family. We win. We lose. Blood, sweat and tears, all that as a family. And that's what I've always been a part of my whole life. That's always, since I was a kid, what I always seeked for. And when I heard that from Pat and from Micky, it was -- that was kind of like the icing on the cake for me.
And the rings was pretty cool. (Laughter) I need a few of those.

Q. I didn't go to Saint Bs, by the way, I went to Archbishop Hogan?
LEBRON JAMES: I hate Archbishop Hogan. They're a rival. (Laughter).

Q. Dwyane and Chris, you guys, since the July 1st part of this, when it was all legal to talk technically, you guys have obviously -- you share the same agent. You've had conversations, and you guys were obviously technically the first two to commit here again. So take us through, if you can, the detail of your guys' conversation, the wave of it went through, hey, let's try to play together, maybe we can't play together maybe we can play together, and just when it finally came to fruition that you guys decided to team up and say, hey, let's see what's going to happen with LeBron.
DWYANE WADE: I think LeBron said it best. It was established beforehand, the possibility, and the coolness of everything, of us possibly playing again, it was there from a long time ago. I've had a relationship with Chris since day one, since he came in -- we came in together and we both signed with the same agent.
Through this process, our meetings was overlapping. The agent was a very busy man. And we really didn't get much time to talk in between, because we had to go through this process. And we had to listen to everything. So we didn't talk much in between. But we went to dinner every night.
And we tried not to talk about it too much then, because we wanted to -- as they say in the movies, wanted to woosah a little bit and calm down. So once the process, we were off the two first two days, then we was able to communicate and see what each other was thinking a little bit. We had some of the same opportunities, some of the same teams we was interested in.
And I think for me and for Chris, it came down to Miami. And I know Chris was fond of Chicago.
(Lost audio)
LEBRON JAMES: Every single night there's times where you have to take shots, contest the shots that now we don't have to take. So you can look at it and say that the number's going to go down or we can't play our same game, but I don't buy that. I don't buy it at all.
I think what's going to be the best for us is now the pressure of making every shot or shooting a high percentage just for our team to win is not a big deal anymore.
You look at Game 7 of the Finals between the Lakers and the Celtics. Kobe Bryant shot 6 for 24 from the field and they still won, because he knew he had help and guys came through for him.
It's been a long time. And I can say all three of us, if we shot 6 for 24 from the field, we still believe we can win a basketball game.

Q. You guys could be the biggest thing to ever hit sports before you play a game, and I'm talking about because of Twitter and Facebook, the dotcoms, cable news, all that. Do you guys embrace that? Do you love that? Or is that just, that's just kind of something that comes with this? Was that even a factor in you three getting together?
CHRIS BOSH: I think you have to embrace it. We all have to embrace it because whether we like it or not this is the attention that's here. I know just with social media and the Internet and TV and cable and satellite and all that stuff, you have so many different avenues of information that people can get. So we have to embrace it.
You have to like it, because it's going to happen anyway. So we just have to have fun with it and at the end of the day it's playing basketball. When we step on the court we just do what we've been doing our whole lives, just play this game and play it the right way.

Q. Dwyane, could you address that, please?
DWYANE WADE: What was the question? Just messing with you. What you mean, us taking care of ourselves or y'all writing about us?

Q. Just everything. I mean, this is a worldwide story. Do you acknowledge that? Do you look at this as a worldwide story?
DWYANE WADE: It is. I mean, the biggest stories you have, you have three guys in their prime deciding not to wait until we get older. We're getting criticized because we decided to do it when we was a little younger than wait until we're in our 30s to say let's try to get a ring now.
LEBRON JAMES: They would have criticized us, also, if we would have took the max deals. Doesn't matter what we would have did, we would have got criticized.
DWYANE WADE: So bring it on. We'll accept it. At the end of the day we know what's important. And what's important is winning ball games and winning championships. So once you do that, winner take all, and you guys will be writing good stories.

Q. Chris, Dwyane had said a couple times through this process that without you or without LeBron here, he probably would have gone elsewhere. You took that call from him on Tuesday and said "I'm feeling Miami." That made his decision easier. Obviously then we know what LeBron's decision was. Does any part of you feel like you were responsible, really, for pulling all of the last parts of this together and really making this happen?
CHRIS BOSH: Not really. I think it was more of a collective effort. I know these two guys; they have to make their own decisions. There was no point where we asked each other to, okay, we're going to talk and we're all going to go here. We have to play in the best positions for our families, for ourselves, and for our careers.
And winning was the top priority for everybody. And Miami was the obvious choice. And I think we're all intelligent guys up here. So when me and Dwyane saw where it was, LeBron had to do his thing and take his time, do his meetings, process his feelings. Because I know it wasn't hard leaving Toronto and I know it wasn't hard leaving Cleveland. But we just have to take that chance. And we were not afraid to be great. So we've jumped in the water and now it's time to swim.

Q. All three of you guys, I'm sure you know some of the comments that are already coming out around the league. Orlando's questioning LeBron's competitiveness. And Joakim called you guys Team Hollywood already. Sort of respond to that first. And secondly, what were your reactions to the "Beat LA" chants out there tonight?
LEBRON JAMES: We're in the same conference now with Orlando, so we'll deal with them later. As far as Joakim, I got a little history with Joakim. If me and D-Wade or me and Bosh, or Bosh and D-Wade went to Miami, then he wouldn't have said nothing about Team Hollywood -- I mean, to Chicago. He wouldn't have said nothing about Team Hollywood. And what was your last one?

Q. The "Beat LA" chants.
LEBRON JAMES: LA team is a team -- I think every team in the NBA wants to get to that point and that's to hoist the trophy. But it's not just about beating LA. We understand what the fans want, but it's a process. Starting from day one, starting from training camp, us processing and taking every team as it's our last and not taking no games for granted.
And Orlando, that's funny that they questioned my competitiveness. I like that. I like locker room -- we're going to put a lot of stuff in the locker room before the season start. (Laughter) I know Pat and I know Micky, they're going to do a lot -- if they don't do it I'm going to have a lot of stuff in my locker. It's on.
DWYANE WADE: You're trying to make -- we wanted to play when we got out there, heard the crowd. You're really trying to make us come out of the suit now. We're competitive.
And you don't make this decision to come together. And I understand people are going to say stuff. And we accept it with open arms. Bring it on.
That's why we play this game. We play this game to have that competitive nature, competitive juices. You expect those teams to say that. We don't expect them to say, okay, Miami's won it. We don't want that. We didn't play together so people can just lay down. We want to come out here and we want to give this Miami crowd a show every night. And even on the road. Because every place is going to sell out when we come to town. So they can thank us now. (Laughter).
CHRIS BOSH: Yeah. I mean, you know, I like Hollywood. I really like Hollywood. Maybe we can run with that one. But, I mean, what was the question again. I can't even remember.

Q. Having the target on your back.
CHRIS BOSH: I mean, every great player goes through it. If you want to win a championship, you're going to go through it. The Lakers go through it. Come on, they're chanting "Beat LA" at a, I don't know, a conference, a thing, a Miami thing. They were chanting "Beat LA". So when you're on the top people always want to knock you off. That's where we want to get to. It's a lot of hard work to get there. But once we're there, I think we'll maintain everything.
And we know that it's going to put the target on our backs more so then. But even now, just with us coming together, it's going to be out there. So we just have to be prepared for that and we have to stay behind each other, keep each other standing tall and just support each other and that's all it's about. When you're having tough times, you rely on your friends, you rely on your teammates to pull you out of it.

Q. I know you guys may not anticipate this happening too often this season. But let's say that there's just three seconds left and The Heat's down 1. Who is taking the last shot?
DWYANE WADE: Coach. It's Coach's decision.
LEBRON JAMES: Absolutely. That's Coach's decision. I mean, I think Coach Spo has a great feel for the game. Throughout the course of the game he's going to know the best possible chance for us to win a game. And if it is the case where D-Wade takes the shot and he makes it, we're going to celebrate. If D-Wade misses it, we're going to pick him up and get ready for the next game. The same with Chris. The same with myself.
One game or one possession is not going to define who we are. It's not going to define who Coach Spo is. We're going to get ready for the next one. The fact that we feel like Coach is going to put us in the best possible chance to win is all we can ask for. And if it goes down as a victory, we're going to love it, of course. But if we take a L that night we get ready for the game tomorrow.
DWYANE WADE: To speak on that. We've got other teammates as well. I think LeBron showed his substance in ball games. I think I've shown it. I know Chris has hit big shots. There's other guys on the basketball court that can take shots. Udonis has them; he has a lot of big shots here in Miami.
It might not be 6, 3, 1 taking shots. It might be someone else. And this is about Miami Heat. So keep saying who is going to take the last shot, well somebody on The Heat going to take it. It's not necessarily about 6, 3, 1 taking it. It's about Miami Heat taking it, and we live with the consequences.

Q. LeBron, you talked about the criticism a little bit. You've got people saying that coming here you've diminished your brand because you're with these guys, whereas had you gone to New York they would have said you were all about your brand and nothing else. Or had you gone to Cleveland, they would have said all he cared about was being the main guy on his team. Did you almost feel like you were in a no-win situation in making your decision; and that being the case, how much does it help to have the support of these guys and this organization?
LEBRON JAMES: In the life I live today, the way I am blessed, the way the man above has given me these God-given abilities, there's no way I'm in a lose-lose situation. Every day I wake up, see my family, my two sons running around just loving life, there's no way I'm in a lose-lose situation. I'm going out here playing a game of basketball, the game I love, the game I played as a kid for free, and we still play for free.
So there's no lose-lose situation for me here. I'm playing a game of basketball. And it just so happens we've got cameras and people writing about it. So until you understand who LeBron James is, LeBron James is in a win-win situation and will continue to be in a win-win situation.
DWYANE WADE: Yah. (Laughter) that was a yah moment. You all wanted to say it too. You're all shaking your head yah, what he said.

Q. LeBron, yesterday when you walked out before the decision, it almost looked like you were the jury foreman about to give the defendant the guilty verdict. Today, when you came down from the sky, with the dry ice and these guys, you looked like a little boy on the playground. Is that accurate? And can you tell me how tough yesterday was compared to how much fun tonight was?
LEBRON JAMES: Yesterday was really tough. Mixed emotions, like I said, before earlier. At the end of the day I think my mother helped me. She really put the icing on the cake for me. Yesterday I talked to her before I came and did the interview on ESPN with Jim Gray. And she was like -- I told her where I was leaning towards. She was like: I believe you're making the right decision. You gotta do what's best for you, because at the end of the day people are going to do what's best for them.
If you put the shoe on the other foot, we would see how people will react. And it's kind of the opposite what my mom was going to say. Because sometimes my mom get long winded and she say things that's off the wall, but at the same time I know she has my best interests. But yesterday she was -- she gave me the green light on where I was leaning towards. That made me feel more comfortable in that interview, even though how tough it was, because I was letting a lot of people in Northeast Ohio down.
It's tough. But today, to be here, to be part of this Miami Heat organization, to see those fans come out on short notice, to be here with D-Wade, to be here with C.B., I understand now that I've made the right decision.
And to also hear my former owner's comments, I absolutely know I made the right decision.

Q. Dwyane, could you talk a little bit about the role that Pat Riley played in putting this whole thing together, and do you think he got as big a charge out of this as he did coaching a team to a championship?
DWYANE WADE: You want me to give Pat Riley more credit and more credit and more credit? He's already in the hall of fame, what else do you want? (Laughter).
You know, as I said from the beginning, I had a lot of trust in Coach Riley. We have four years in a row here where it wasn't pretty. We failed to win some ball games, but all along I had a lot of confidence in him as a man. He looked me eye to eye and told me that he was going to do it. He was going to get it done. And we wasn't going to be down forever.
And I believed him. Of course, I had to go through this process, but all along I believed him. So what he did, what he continues to do is make sure that with the opportunity that Micky Arison has given him to put this organization first class and at the top of the heap, he makes sure every opportunity he gets he does it.
I've been here when he made one of the biggest trades in NBA history with getting Shaq down here and then also getting Jason Williams, Antoine Walker and James Posey and Gary Payton and those guys down here.
So he's proven. And he once again, he did something miraculous. So I'm sure he will have his own one-hour ESPN sit-down to talk about how great he is. (Laughter) but he is great. And we're glad, and I'm happy, and I think LeBron and Chris is going to see this, to have the support that we have in Mr. Pat Riley and Mr. Micky Arison is second to none.
And I told them as soon as I heard the comments from Cleveland, I told LeBron, I said, you know, I'm happy that you're here, I'm really happy you're here because we have a first-class organization. And we have an owner that would never do that, no matter what you do. So he made the right decision. And it's because of those guys.

Q. There seems to be a notion out there that because each of you have been the man on your respective teams that there could be chemistry issues and that there needs to be an alpha dog on each team. How do you answer questions like that?
LEBRON JAMES: You look at our 2008 Olympic team, the biggest thing that I got out of that, not only did all 12 guys -- because we had 12 guys on that team also. But not only did we all sacrifice things, Dwyane -- D-Wade, Flash, what you guys call him, he came off the bench and had no problem with coming off the bench. He's a starter. He's always been a starter. He's an All-Star. He's a superstar. World renowned, and he came off the bench. And that's what sacrifice is all about.
At times, yeah, there's going to have to be an alpha dog that steps up, gets in somebody's face. If I need to be that guy, I will be that guy, to make sure that everybody is understanding what this is all about. This is not just all about D-Wade and C.B. and LeBron. It's about the whole team. It's about the whole organization, starting from the top to the bottom.
So, I mean, it may change from game to game. But if I have to be that guy, then my leadership, my command, I'm up for the taking. But this whole sacrifice thing or saying that we can't do it together, you know it sounds a little crazy.

Q. The crossbar has been raised high. Expectations are through the roof. Point-blank, if you don't win a championship in season one, will this season be considered a failure in your mind?
DWYANE WADE: Yes. We're here to win a championship. We're not here to sell jerseys. We're not here to pump up ratings. You know, you don't make a decision like this. LeBron don't make a decision to leave his hometown. Chris don't make a decision to leave Toronto to come here just to get out of the first round. Our goal is to win championships. If we don't do that, we're going to be harder on ourselves than you all can be on us.
So we've got a long way to get to that point. We've got a lot of building to do. We still have a roster to fill. But we feel we have enough here from top to the bottom to do that. And everybody is willing. So, yes, our goal is to win championships. Just like our goal was to win a gold medal. If we didn't do that it was a failure. But we accomplished it. We know the Lakers are the defending champions, two-time defending champions, and they're very, very, very good team. It's going to take a lot to get to the point that they have. But we're up for the challenge.

Q. Bosh, you haven't had a chance to formally address the city of Toronto. Is there anything you have to say to the Raptors fans?
CHRIS BOSH: First and foremost, I miss Toronto already. That was home for me for seven years. I got there when I was a 19-year-old rookie. And I learned to love that city and the city embraced me like I was one of their own.
And I poured my heart and soul into every game I played. And I know this isn't easy. It's not easy for me. It's not easy for Toronto. It's not easy for the organization or the staff or anybody.
But I appreciate every moment I had. I had some great times in Toronto that I'll never forget for the rest of my life. And stuff like that is priceless. So I know they're going to be mad at me a little bit, but I did it for my best interests. And I think if somebody was in my shoes they'd do the same thing. And I'd ask them not to boo me when I go back. I hope they don't.

End of FastScripts

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