By Jason Schott - Associate Editor - @JESchott19
Shabazz Napier, who led UConn to two national championships, including this past season, will join a team that also is known for winning championships, the Miami Heat. Napier was originally drafted by the Charlotte Hornets, but was traded to the Heat.
On going from one championship culture to another, Napier said, "The first thing that jumps off is the winning attitude. That's one of the biggest things. When you compete at that high level, you want to win every single game. That winning attitude comes in the first day you arrive at that camp. On the first day you arrive to that organization, you want to work, and you want to prove that you can get back there. Not prove to anybody, but to yourself, to your teammates that you can get back there."
There were reports that LeBron James wanted Miami to pick Napier. On his relationship with LeBron and his feeling about playing a role in keeping him in Miami, Napier said, "I don't know if I'm bringing him back. I would love it. Me and LeBron's relationship, he'a a great guy. I've been to his camps. Me and him chatted a few times at his camps. He's just a special thing. My agent told me that he Tweeted something out about me just now. It's just something special to know that one of the best players in the world thinks about you and appreciates your talent. That's something I'm so humble for."
On being drafted, Napier said, "It's just, to sum it up, it's just a blessing man. I would be lying to you guys if I said I thought I would be here when I was in high school. It's just truly a blessing. It's just -- it's one of those experiences you really can't describe. Like I said, I'm so happy I was able to do it with my family, and that's one of the biggest things."
Napier said of when he realized that this could be reality, "You know, everyone asks me that, and I'm not sure. Maybe when I was a sophomore. You know, even when I was a freshman, of course, NBA was something I watched, but sometimes your aspirations are left at that. I had to work hard. I had to tell myself that this is not going to be easy to get to where I am now. I'm pretty sure that everything came in my sophomore year."
The Heat situation at point guard is in flux, with Mario Chalmers a free agent and Norris Cole coming off a tough playoffs.
On possibly stepping into the role of starting point guard for Miami, Napier said, "There's always opportunity to do something great, and no matter if I was going to slide in as a starter or come off the bench, I'm still going to work hard. I'm going to compete. That's who I am."
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