Chiefs rookie linebacker Nico Johnson may be an athlete himself, but even he can’t wait to see LeBron James and the two-time champion Miami Heat take on the Charlotte Bobcats tonight at the Sprint Center.
“I think everybody on the team is coming,” said Johnson, added that cornerback Sanders Commings and receiver Dwayne Bowe also planned to go. “So we’re going to be there, just to see him in action.”
Bowe, who grew up in Miami, said he’s going because it will be fun. Cornerback Sean Smith agreed.
“I know guys are talking about it,” Smith said.
However, neither Bowe nor Smith seemed to match the enthusiasm of Johnson, who grew up a big Shaquille O’Neal fan and eventually became a fan of LeBron when he teamed up with Shaq in Cleveland from 2009-2010.
“Nobody wants LeBron to win, so I love to go for the underdog,” said Johnson, a native of Andalusia, Ala. “He’s been proving everybody wrong so it’s fun to watch him play because he’s getting better and better.”
Johnson said he’s just one of several players who admire LeBron for his recent accomplishments.
“I think really, the majority of us on the team are LeBron fans,” Johnson said. “The way he’s able to go out, even in tough moments, when all odds are against him, and perform at his best and shut all the critics up, that’s one thing I respect. Then at the same time, he’s having fun with it.”
Johnson, however, isn’t the biggest Heat fan on the team. He said that honor would go to defensive tackle Anthony Toribio.
Toribio, who is from Miami as well as a huge soccer fan, was torn on whether to attend Friday night’s United States’ men’s World Cup qualifying match against Jamaica at Sporting Park or the Miami-Charlotte game.
He chose hoops.
“I’ve got to see my man LeBron James,” Toribio said. “Even if he just plays a quarter.”
Turns out LeBron is pretty found of the Chiefs, himself. He even gave coach Andy Reid and his squad a shoutout Friday afternoon, via Twitter.
Kansas City what's good! Can't wait to see y'all tonight at the Arena. Let's go! And S/O Andy Reid and the Chiefs. #HeatlesAreHere— LeBron James (@KingJames) October 11, 2013
The Star’s Randy Covitz contributed to this report
To reach Terez A. Paylor, call 816-234-4489 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at twitter.com/TerezPaylor.