• Basketball

Mayweather Jr advises LeBron James and Co

ESPN staff
October 7, 2013
Floyd Mayweather Jr has won titles across five weight divisions © Getty Images

Defending NBA champions Miami Heat received a special pep talk from a surprise visitor at their Sunday practice - undefeated five-division champion Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Mayweather Jr confirmed his status as the best fighter of his generation in September when defeating Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez by unanimous decision. The fight, which took place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, smashed records in the United States to become the highest grossing pay-per-view fight of all time.

With Heat aiming to become only the fourth team in NBA history to win three consecutive titles, Mayweather Jr - a courtside regular at the American Airlines Arena for Miami games - watched practice before offering advice to the likes of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.

"With him being 17 years and 0 - we're trying to defend two titles - he's been defending for a long time," James said. "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 Jr, 36, is unbeaten in 45 professional bouts and once fought at the home of the Heat - a 2005 technical knockout win over Henry Bruseles. Despite team president Pat Riley rarely allowing visitors to view practice sessions, Wade was quick to point out the impact of the 36-year-old's presence.

"From one champion to another, he just talked about being proud of us and how we handled ourselves," Wade said. "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.

"So that was cool. Not too many people come to Miami Heat practice. It was a shock seeing him sitting up here at practice. We haven't done that in my 11 years here too much."

Meanwhile, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra was left choosing his words a little more carefully when asked about Mayweather Jr. Spoelstra is reportedly a big fan of 'Money' rival Manny Pacquiao and, like the Pac Man, is of Filipino descent.

"Champs-to-champ respect, that's universal and pretty awesome," Spoelstra said. "Our guys are obviously in awe of what he's been able to do for an extremely long period of time, 17 years being on top. That's almost too remarkable to even fathom."

Miami Heat begin their pre-season against Atlanta on Monday in preparation for the start of the regular season on October 29, when they face Chicago.

Download ESPN's new UK sport app, a fresh and powerful new way to follow your favourite UK sports news, scores and video.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
ESPN staff Close