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As season starts, LeBron seen as Miami cash cow

LeBron James is helping more than South Beach as a player for the Miami Heat.

LeBron James is helping more than South Beach as a player for the Miami Heat.

James, the National Basketball Association’s reigning two-time Most Valuable Player, said he was “taking my talents to South Beach” — a glitzy strip of nightclubs, hotels and restaurants — when the 25-year-old announced he was leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers and joining the Heat to play with fellow All-Star free agents Dwyane Wade, 28, and Chris Bosh, 26.

In addition to making the Heat the favorite to win the NBA title, the trio already has spurred a rebirth across the bay in the downtown area outside AmericanAirlines Arena.

“We’re well aware that the eyes of the world will be on Miami, and we wanted to put our best foot forward,” said Marc Sarnoff, chairman of the Miami Downtown Development Authority and a city commissioner. “[Heat owner] Mickey Arison probably gave us a better stimulus package than 10 Barack Obamas combined.”

Sales of Heat season tickets sold out the day of James’s announcement.

But other cities could also benefit from his presence.

“My guess is that the Heat [are] not going to play to too many empty seats on the road,” said NBA Commissioner David Stern. “Many teams are selling the Heat as part of a package, part of a grouping of games.” bloomberg

 
 
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