In their quest for a third consecutive NBA title, the Miami Heat are looking to accomplish something that no major North American professional team has done in a decade.
While Miami has shown that it has the talent to beat any team in the league, sometimes staying on top can be harder than getting to the top. Few professional athletes know that lesson better than Floyd Mayweather, the champion prizefighter who is undefeated in his 17-year boxing career.
So while the Heat usually do not open their doors to celebrities or outsiders, Miami president Pat Riley recently invited Mayweather to speak to the team about his incredible run of success.
"With him being 17 years-and-0 -- we're trying to defend two titles -- he's been defending for a long time," LeBron James told ESPN. "He definitely knows where we're coming from. It's definitely exciting to have someone, one of the greatest of all time, to be in your presence. It's something you can talk about years from now when you look back on the history of sports. That guy was at our practice."
Mayweather, who is coming off a big victory over Canelo Alvarez on Sept. 14, spoke to the Heat about staying on top and comporting themselves as champions. Miami is looking to become just the fourth team in NBA history to win three consecutive titles (the Chicago Bulls did it twice and the Los Angeles Lakers accomplished the feat once).
A big Miami Heat fan who has attended several games over the past few years, the 36-year-old Mayweather inspired the Heat as the squad begins what will surely be another grueling season.
"From one champion to another, he just talked about being proud of us and how we handled ourselves," Dwyane Wade told ESPN. "He knows, as a champion, how hard it is to go out there and compete when people try to take you down, take what you work for. He kept telling us how proud he is of us. If you got up today and you were a little tired, you walk in and see the champ, you work a little harder."