Reigning NBA champions Miami Heat were treated to a speech from boxing icon Floyd Mayweather Jr. during a practice session on Sunday, according to reports featured on NBA.com.
36-year-old Mayweather, who boasts a truly formidable record of 45-0-0 including 26 knockouts in a career that has seen him win eight different world titles, can often be found cheering on LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and co. from courtside at American Airlines Arena.
And the former Olympic bronze medalist was given privileged VIP access at the weekend as he sat on the sidelines during the session with popular Heat president Pat Riley before giving a short speech to the assembled team members about the importance of hard work.
Following the speech, Heat star and four-time NBA most-valuable player James was full of praise for Mayweather.
"We're trying to defend two titles. He's been defending for a long time," he was quoted in a report featured on NBA.com.
"He definitely knows where we're coming from. It's exciting at the end of the day to have someone, one of the greatest of all-time, to be in the presence. It's something you can talk about years from now. ... We're honored and blessed to have him in the building."
Wade, meanwhile, gave further insight into the content of Mayweather's speech which apparently contained a re-assertion of the boxer's unwavering support for the franchise.
"From one champion to another, he just talked about him being proud of us, how we handled ourselves," the 31-year-old shooting guard was quoted in a report featured on NBA.com.
"He knows as a champion how hard it is to go out there every night and compete, when someone can take you down and take what you work for. He just kept telling us how proud he is of us and that'd he'd be here to support, just as he was for many years."
Erik Spoelstra's Heat, who are looking to achieve a historic 'three-peat' this season after back-to-back championship wins, begin their preseason campaign on Monday night at home to the Atlanta Hawks.
They tip-off the 2013/14 campaign with a keenly-anticipated clash against Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls on October 29.