LeBron James says his new protective mask is hot, uncomfortable and prone to fogging up. Plus, as teammate Dwyane Wade pointed out, it looks weird.
So James is in the market for design suggestions.
“I’ve been talking to Marvel Comics for the last couple of days, and DC Comics, to try to come up with one of the greatest masks of all time,” James said with a chuckle Wednesday. “So we’ll see what happens.”
James spoke after trying out his new mask for the first time in practice. He plans to use it today when the Miami Heat play the New York Knicks.
The game will be the first for James since he broke his nose last Thursday in a victory at Oklahoma City.
James and his mask took part in contact drills Wednesday, and coach Erik Spoelstra was encouraged by James’ progress.
“He’ll give it a shot Thursday,” Spoelstra said. “He was able to go through today without any hiccups. But he also didn’t take a hit today.”
Given James’ aggressive style of play, he’s bound to receive an inadvertent blow to the face sooner or later. Thus the mask.
“It lessens the impact,” said James, who wore a mask 10 years ago to protect a broken cheek. “You can still feel it, because the nose is still tender. But it definitely lessens the pain.”
James had removed his clear mask by the time media were admitted to the gym for the end of practice, but teammates provided a description.
“He looked like every other player in a mask — it looks weird,” Wade said. “He looks like the LeBron that wore a mask the first time, only about 30 pounds heavier, a little more muscular, a little less hair.”
Said Shane Battier with a grin: “As long as No. 6 is in uniform, he looks all right to me.”
James was on a roll when hurt. On Thursday he’ll try for his fifth consecutive 30-point game, which would be the second-longest such streak in Heat history.
FELTON BACK WITH KNICKS — Raymond Felton says his arrest on felony weapons charges is “not a distraction” to the New York Knicks. Felton was arrested early Tuesday.
Authorities say a lawyer for his wife turned in a loaded semi-automatic handgun allegedly belonging to the point guard to a police precinct, claiming she no longer wanted it in their home.
Felton was released on $25,000 bail and returned to the Knicks for practice Wednesday. He will play tonight in their game in Miami.
AROUND THE LEAGUE — Injured Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose has started running, although coach Tom Thibodeau says he’s nowhere near ready to practice. The former MVP point guard tore the meniscus in his right knee at Portland in November. … Drew Gooden signed a 10-day contract with the Washington Wizards. The veteran forward joined the Wizards at Wednesday’s practice and will be available for tonight’s game against the Toronto Raptors. … The Philadelphia 76ers completed a buyout of the contract of forward Danny Granger.