LeBron not changing NFL loyalties for 'unbelievable' RG3

LeBron not changing NFL loyalties for 'unbelievable' RG3
December 5, 2012, 9:15 am
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The courtside presence of the second pick in the 2012 NFL Draft had an impact on the No. 3 selection in the 2012 NBA Draft. Meanwhile basketball's best player paid postgame respect to that dynamic football rookie, D.C.'s reigning sports hero.

Bradley Beal, the aforementioned third selection, had a front row seat to Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin taking in the Wizards stunning 105-101 upset over the Miami Heat. Shortly after tipoff RGIII strode out from the bowels of the Verizon Center to his seat located shotgun snap distance from the Wizards bench - or more specifically, about five seats over from the injured John Wall.

Observant fans in the vicinity broke out in uncertain "wait, is that him" applause. Later in the quarter, Griffin image flashed on the overhead scoreboard sending the non-sellout crowd into roaring mode.

Beal, still young enough at 19 for some awestruck-ness to creep in despite his own stature, acknowledged a boost with RGIII's aura in the house.

"You see him there, it kind of gets you going," Beal said postgame in a rare upbeat Wizards locker room. "Just to see him over there shows his support for the city."

Coincidence or not, the Wizards posted their highest scoring first quarter and first half on the season - not to mention just their second win - with the Heisman Trophy winner on hand. Perhaps as homage to the accurate passer, Washington finished with a season-high 31 assists on 38 made baskets. Different sport or not, Griffin is not a bad guy to emulate.

"Everything he's accomplished and the way he plays - he plays with a lot of heart and passion," Beal continued. "He has fun, but he's humble about it. That's really what I love most about him. He's a real humble, similar to myself. Just a great player."
Griffin also showed staying power. Despite working late Monday night, RGIII stayed until the game ended with the Wizards prevailing.

On RGIII sticking around, Beal stated, "A lot of guys leave. It was a great game all the way through for 48 minutes. I don't blame him for not leaving. I wouldn't anybody to leave in that type of situation."

When the inexplicable situation became a reality and the Heat left the court, LeBron James searched out Griffin and the two exchanged a tap-tap bro-hug.

Now, I know this occurred because TV caught the exchange, not because I witnessed it live despite sitting about a 30-yard pass pattern away. Deadline writing does not always allow for people watching even when the people are two of the coolest in the country.

Minutes later, I was part of the gaggle of reporters standing around James, his feet soaking in an ice-filled tub, his eyes exploring the game's box score which he had resting on top of the watery surface. After a battery of questions about the shocking result and sensing the plug was soon to be pulled on the inquiries, I went to the all-important topic.

Me: "I know you saw some of the Redskins game last night. Did you see RG3 there? Did you guys talk at all?"

Apparently only hearing my initial question (which admittedly could have been phrased better), James deadpanned, "No, I didn't see him. (pause). Of course I seen him."

LeBron then let out a series of cackles, laughs and grins looking around with a "check this guy out" expression. It's what you might expect from someone seeking to deflect attention away from the fact this his team with him as its best player just lost to a one-win Wizards squad.

Me, trying to end the chuckle fest: "More to the point, did you acknowledge each other?"

James, returning to interview mode: "Yeah, after the game I shook his hand, told him how great he is. Yeah, it's cool."

Another reporter then asked if RGIII's quest to make James, a noted Cowboys fan despite growing up in a state (Ohio) with two NFL teams, a Redskins fan had a chance.

"No, but I'm a fan of his," James said. "He's an unbelievable talent. I like to watch him play. When I have an opportunity, I watch them because of him. I like him, he's great."

End, scene. The cool crew over at TruthAboutItnet.net caught the above LeBron talks RGIII exchange on video, which you can view here. You can the catch Wizards Friday night in Atlanta on Comcast SportsNet, RGIII and the Redskins on Sunday.