It was a meeting of champions.
Floyd Mayweather, one of the greatest active boxers today, knocked the socks off the Heat's players when he visited the team's practice facility on Sunday.
Floyd Mayweather Jr vs. Manny Pacquiao
While members of the press were not able to talk to the undefeated boxer, they were able to get statements from the players themselves.
"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," said LeBron James, whose Heat are looking to win a rare third straight title.
Mayweather has been boxing for 17 years and has a 45-0 record. He has also won titles in five different weight classes during his long, storied career, for a total of eight belts.
Players said that Mayweather discussed remaining on top of a very competitive environment, especially now that the level of their opponents has improved dramatically. Mayweather is a known Miami Heat fan, having attended several of their games recently.
The Heat were preparing for their first preseason game against Atlanta and will start the regular season against the Chicago Bulls, who are welcoming back former MVP Derrick Rose, sidelined for the 2012-2013 season with a knee injury.
Visits by outsiders to team practices are very rare, even the outsiders happen to be celebrities. But team president Pat Riley allowed Mayweather to give an inspirational talk after the latter's rousing victory against Saul "El Canelo" Alvarez on Sept 14.
Even though head coach Erik Spoelstra, who is Filipino-American, is a big fan of Mayweather's erstwhile rival Manny Pacquiao, he has nothing but respect for the man they call "Money," saying that Mayweather has remained at the highest level of his sport for almost two decades.
Chris Bosh, always the team's jester, played around with the idea of ribbing his head coach about it.
"We always try to give Spo a tough time when anybody from the Philippines goes down. That's no disrespect to Pacquiao. He's one of the greatest to ever do it. But we had the undefeated champ [Mayweather] here."
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