Anthony rides Heat wave to world championships

By Steve Keating

TORONTO (Reuters) - Joel Anthony was the center of attention on Friday as Canada named its roster for the upcoming basketball world championships, but it may be the only time the Miami Heat big man enjoys the spotlight this year.

Playing alongside LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on Miami's NBA dream team, Anthony's leading man role at the tournament in Turkey will revert to an extra on an all-star cast upon his return to South Beach.

"He's a very low key guy, he doesn't get caught up in anything," Team Canada coach Leo Rautins told Reuters. "He handles everything extremely well.

"He clearly understands who he is as a player and as a person. Money won't affect him at all -- zero.

"He knows when he goes to Miami what his role is there.

"He's generally a quiet guy. A great team guy."

James, Bosh and Wade helped the United States to gold at the Beijing Olympics, but all three turned down invitations to play at the world championships.

Anthony said he had no thoughts of ditching the worlds, even after the Heat made their brash off-season signings and offered him a new five-year $18 million deal to stay in Miami.

"It's different," explained Anthony. "I have a sense of pride playing for Miami, I love to do it but that's my job. This is home.

"It's a little bit different but in the end it's still basketball. I love playing on both teams.

"You have a lot of guys who backed out of playing in the world championships whether their bodies weren't feeling right or the team wasn't too comfortable with them going but I'm in a situation where Miami was really open to me to go out here and play for my country."

Undrafted out of the University of Nevada Las Vegas, Anthony signed with the Heat as a free agent and has spent his three-year NBA career in Miami. He appeared in 80 games last season, averaging nearly 17 minutes, 2.7 points and 3.1 rebounds a game.

"If you talk to anyone in the Miami Heat organization they will tell you he is the hardest worker they've ever had," said Rautins.

(Editing by Ian Ransom)