Champs of free agency, Heat seek much bigger win

By BRIAN MAHONEY | May 30, 2011 | 5:28 PM EDT

Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade, left, jokes with teammate LeBron James during a practice session Monday, May 30, 2011, in Miami. The Heat will play the Dallas Mavericks in Game 1 of the NBA basketball finals on Tuesday, May 31, 2011 in Miami. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

MIAMI (AP) — LeBron James and Dwyane Wade joked often, smiled easily, answered thoughtfully.

A few minutes later, Dirk Nowitzki bounded up to a podium and offered a big "How we doin!" to the assembled media.

You'd never know only one of them is a "good guy."

Less than a year after solidifying their place as the NBA's villains with their high-profile partnership last summer, James, Wade and the Miami Heat are in the NBA finals against the Dallas Mavericks and Nowitzki.

Game 1 is Tuesday night in the arena where the Heat celebrated like champions last July. James says the Heat "got a lot of flack this year, mostly because of myself," but insists coming to Miami was the best way to realize his vision of winning a championship.