No comparison between LeBron and Wild signings

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 5, 2012 - 11:22 PM

The Wild is exactly like the Heat. Except ...


Comparing LeBron James (left, with Dwyane Wade) with Zach Parise and Ryan Suter just might be a stretch.

Photo: Lynne Sladky, Associated Press

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Twitter is a wonderful conduit through which to spew half-baked ideas that five minutes later sound as silly as Mike Tyson's falsetto.

When Zach Parise and Ryan Suter signed with the Wild on Wednesday, Twitter turned into a receptacle for one-liners about Minnesota becoming the Miami Heat of the NHL.

Which is exactly right. No better comparison can be made. The Wild is Heat on Ice.

Lake Minnetonka is exactly like South Beach. Except we lack 55-year-old sun worshippers wearing G-strings. A description that also fits some of the South Beach women.

The Wild is exactly like the Heat: A franchise featuring a star and a team executive who had won championships and wanted to win another immediately.

Parise is just like LeBron James. James left his hometown team for a glamorous destination and a shortcut to a title. The only difference between the two is that Parise left a team on the cusp of a title to come home and help a mediocre franchise that hasn't won a playoff series since 2003 gain respectability.

The comparison between James and Parise is particularly apt, because James is the best player in the world in his sport and Parise is a top-20 player who chose not to play with the best player in the world, Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby.

The most compelling reason to compare James and Parise is the way they handled their decisions. James worked with aggressively smarmy Jim Gray to conduct a one-hour television special that dragged out the announcement and led to James breaking Cleveland's heart in a way that indicated he didn't understand the impact of his words.

Then James and Chris Bosh flew to Miami and screamed and celebrated before ever winning a game together.

Parise, apparently, could not locate Gray. He met with reporters in Toronto when he didn't have to, was gracious when approached by reporters at the Minneapolis airport and conferred with his family at his home before making his decision.

Perhaps on Monday, during the Wild's introductory news conference, Parise and Suter will rip their shirts off and drink a few Fulton beers out of a fake Stanley Cup. But I doubt it.

The biggest difference between The Decision and Parise's decision is that James took the easy way out and Parise chose the path of maximum resistance.

James joined one of the best players in the NBA, in Dwyane Wade, and arrived with one of the best big men in the NBA, in Chris Bosh, to play for a team overseen by Pat Riley.

Parise could have signed with Pittsburgh and drafted behind Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. He could have stayed in Jersey with Martin Brodeur and a team that almost won the Cup last season. He could have signed with one of the best organizations in hockey, in Detroit, or joined Jonathan Toews in Chicago.

That he chose Minnesota, for less money than he could have made elsewhere, makes this the rare free-agent signing that doesn't make you want to exfoliate.

Parise chose to play at home. He chose to take on the responsibility of becoming the best player on a team that requires a savior. He chose to sign for 13 years, meaning he may turn out to be more invested in the franchise than the current owner or general manager.

He's already done what Chuck Fletcher couldn't do in his first years on the job: Lure a prime free agent. Parise landed Suter for the Wild. Fletcher's biggest free-agent signing before this week was the regrettable Martin Havlat.

Before playing a single game with the Heat, James predicted he would win more than a half-dozen NBA titles. And he may. He's a great player who proved gracious in victory this summer.

Parise and Suter do not make the Wild instant favorites to win the Stanley Cup. What they do, instantly, is make the Xcel Energy Center a destination because of the jerseys on the ice, rather than those lining the walls. Finally, the building will no longer be the Wild's foremost star.

Jim Souhan can be heard Sundays from 10 a.m. to noon and weekdays at 2 p.m. on 1500-AM. His Twitter name is SouhanStrib.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Houston 7:30 PM
San Diego 10/23/14 7:25 PM
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 6:00 PM
New Orleans 6:00 PM
Milwaukee 6:30 PM
New York
Philadelphia 6:30 PM
Charlotte 6:30 PM
Sacramento 7:30 PM
San Antonio
Memphis 7:30 PM
Tampa Bay 8:30 PM
Arkansas State 10/21/14 7:00 PM
Connecticut 10/23/14 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 10/23/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Ottawa 6 FINAL
Hamilton 16
Montreal 20 FINAL
Toronto 12
Calgary 33 FINAL
Winnipeg 23
Edmonton 24 FINAL
Saskatchewan 19
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Who is your favorite Wild player?

Weekly Question