Fri­day night flash­back

Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Edition - - SPORTS - By Ira Win­der­man Fol­low Win­der­man at twit­­heat­beat or face­ win­der­man

MI­AMI – To Erik Spoel­stra you can stay on point and have a lit­tle fun, as well. So, yes, the Mi­ami Heat coach saw noth­ing wrong with his team in­dulging in the “Vice Nights” for­mal roll­out at Fri­day night’s game against the In­di­ana Pac­ers at Amer­i­canAir­lines Arena.

Over the past week, the Heat had un­veiled the new jer­seys, court de­sign and pregame in­tro­duc­tion video. Those pre­sen­ta­tions were han­dled by Heat Chief Mar­ket­ing of­fi­cer Michael McCullough and his staff.

Fri­day, though, had Spoel­stra’s play­ers in­volved, in the up­dated colors of a Pat Ri­ley op­er­a­tion that still puts the ul­ti­mate pri­or­ity on the game it­self.

“Look,” Spoel­stra said, “when Pat took over this or­ga­ni­za­tion it be­came about, ‘hard­est work­ing, best con­di­tioned, most pro­fes­sional.’ You could add, ‘hippest, most fun.’ He wouldn’t like that stuff, but we’re al­ways on the front edge of cool things.

“It’s fun for the play­ers. It’s fun for the fans. It cre­ates an ex­cite­ment. Michael and his staff are al­ways rein­vent­ing them­selves, sim­i­lar to how we try to do it. And the busi­ness side mir­rors what we’re try­ing to do, al­ways try­ing to be the best at what you do.”

In ad­di­tion to the pas­tel colors that were part of last sea­son’s ini­tial “Vice” jer­was seys, the up­date in­cludes fur­ther homages to the team’s first home, Mi­ami Arena.

For power for­ward Udo­nis Haslem, who was raised in Mi­ami, it is a touch that adds to the nos­tal­gia of hav­ing watched Alonzo Mourn­ing and Tim Har­d­away, among oth­ers, play a few blocks west on 8th Street.

“I didn’t have as great a seats as I have now at the games,” he said of the since-razed arena. “I def­i­nitely re­mem­ber those old games and be­ing there and watch­ing Zo and Tim and guys that came be­fore me.

“I could keep go­ing on -Harold Miner, Rony Seikaly -- all those guys that had an op­por­tu­nity to play on that Mi­ami logo spelled in cur­sive and all that stuff go­ing across. I re­mem­ber like it was yes­ter­day. So, for me, it’s a cool ex­pe­ri­ence to have a chance to live out my dream.”

Haslem’s No. 40 proved to be par­tic­u­larly pop­u­lar when the jer­seys went on sale at the turn of mid­night Fri­day.

“When I woke us this morn­ing a lot of peo­ple were telling me how crazy it was last night and how my jersey sold out,” he said. “So it’s all love and I ap­pre­ci­ate it. It’s an amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.”

And a keep­sake Haslem is glad to own.

“Once again, when you thought last year couldn’t get any bet­ter, it got bet­ter this year,” he said. “Black is one of my fa­vorite colors.”

Guard Wayne Elling­ton par­tic­u­larly taken by the court de­sign.

“Oh man, the floor is beau­ti­ful,” he said.

Wade’s won­der: Spoel­stra and his play­ers gushed Fri­day about Wed­nes­day’s birth of the daugh­ter of guard Dwyane Wade and wife Gabrielle Union.

“It’s awe­some,” Spoel­stra said. “Every­body’s pretty ex­cited for him. Now it’s real — daddy’s girl. It’s cool.

“He men­tioned it to a few of us a while ago. I didn’t know how many peo­ple knew, so I lit­er­ally just didn’t tell any­body. I just locked that away un­til the In­sta­gram post came out.”

Wade re­mained away from the team Fri­day, hav­ing missed Wed­nes­day’s vic­tory over the San An­to­nio Spurs, as well.

“It’s great. It’s great,” said Haslem, who is god­fa­ther to the new­born. “I know how much it meant for them, to have a child. And I know how much it means for him per­son­ally to have a baby girl. It’s some­thing that he’s al­ways talked about. So I’m ex­cited for him. I’m happy for him and it’s a bless­ing.”

Wade also has three sons.

“I’m ex­cited for him,” guard Josh Richard­son said. “First daugh­ter, so that’ll be fun. I think it’ll be good for Gab to have an­other girl in the house.”


Heat play­ers are in­tro­duced as pink lights light up the court as the team un­veiled its new “Vice Nights” uni­forms be­fore Fri­day’s game against the Pac­ers.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.