Growing up Heat: 25 years on the beat

  It's having some unknown with a bushy 'fro and nearly as shaggy a mustache sticking his tape recorder into your first Heat interview in 1988 at the University of Miami and then realizing a quarter century later that Eric Reid has cleaned up quite nicely.

  Twenty five years is arriving before the web and staging weekly conference calls with beat writers in every NBA city and then eventually having emails render obsolete those Thursday conversations with David Aldridge, Jackie MacMullen and especially the late Lacy J. Banks of the Chicago Sun Times, who would use every second of his weekly 10-minute allotment to describe the most obscure nuances of Michael Jordan, down to "supple leather gloves the Bulls superstar guard" had purchased that week.

   Twenty five years is going from no one noticing to everyone having an opinion, Charles Barkley, Skip Bayless and Steve Kerr as much a part of the Heat discussion as Mario Chalmers, Udonis Haslem and James Jones.

The next quarter century

  And, now, the 26th year on the beat is about to begin.

  Because there's no going back to that one-bedroom apartment overlooking the pool in Gainesville, Kerwin Bell and Ronny Montgomery having left the building.

  Because instead of shoes circling on a luggage carousel in Salt Lake they're now annually getting soaked by champagne in Miami.

  Because of the artistry of LeBron, Wade and Bosh.

  But also because of the thoughtfulness of Battier, Haslem and Jones.

  Because, as Juwan Howard has shown, it never has to end.

  From Burton to Birdman, from Rasual to Rashard, from Beasley to, well . . . Beasley, it's time to get back at it. Follow him at





Look for this special section in your
Baltimore Sun newspaper on Dec. 29, 2013.
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