I’ll never forget Jan. 24, 2014.
Having just turned in a HEAT-Lakers recap the night before as part of my interview process for the team (that piece still makes me cringe), it was time to wait.
But I didn’t have to wait very long.
It’s midafternoon on my day off, so I’m just chilling and playing some Xbox 360 in my room. All of a sudden, my cell phone rings. I look down and see a 786 area code. My heart skips a beat as I fumble with the phone before answering it.
It’s Couper Moorhead, Manager of Internet Services, who informs me that I have indeed gotten my dream job. As the conversation winds down, I dash to the kitchen to see my mom. Once the call is over, I put my phone down, and we both stare at it in disbelief.
After a brief moment of silence, we amble towards each other, hug and shed tears of joy. I then call my dad (who was at work) and later tell more family and friends via text and social media.
Ever since that day, I’ve had the honor and privilege to work for one of the best organizations in all of sports. But as the saying goes: all good things must come to an end. My journey as an employee of the Miami HEAT ends Friday, June 11, as I’ve accepted a job elsewhere.
As I think about all the memories I’ve made and people I’ve met along the way, I can’t help but feel eternally grateful for everything that’s been thrown my way, both good and bad. The challenges. The obstacles. The late nights. The laughs. The game-winners. The playoff victories. The Finals appearances. All of it has molded me into the person and professional I am today.
Over the course of my seven-plus years with the team, I’ve been lucky to experience some pretty cool moments, so I figured I’d run through a few of them here.
- This first one is more funny than anything else, but whatever. We’re over in Vegas for Summer League, and I had just completed my postgame work. It’s kind of late, but I didn’t think getting a taxi or Uber would take very long.
Well, I was wrong.
UFC 200 was taking place two miles away, so I waited in front of the Thomas & Mack Center and watched cars go to and from T-Mobile Arena for about three hours until one of the security guys helped me snag a ride back to my hotel.
Thanks, Brock Lesnar.
- This one isn’t really a particular moment per se. It’s more so an appreciation of Chris Bosh. For as good as he was as a player, he was equally as remarkable as a person. Countless times after practice, I can remember Bosh just hanging out and speaking with the media about basketball and life in general. That’s just who he was.
- Speaking of practice, the one I remember the most came on Feb. 8, 2018. Just before the doors opened to the media, there were reports that the team was acquiring Dwyane Wade from Cleveland. Since the news was so fresh, some players thought they were being pranked when reporters asked them about the move. As you’d imagine, that made for some pretty hilarious interactions.
As I was exiting the practice facility and getting ready for the official announcement, the excitement amongst everyone was certainly palpable.
- That excitement culminated in Wade’s “One Last Dance” tour during the 2018-19 season, with his game-winner against the Warriors being one of the defining moments.
After the shot, Wade sprinted to the other side of the court as his teammates mobbed him before he got onto the scorer’s table to celebrate with the fans. Our Director of Digital Programs, Cedric Brown, got caught in the frenzy as he was capturing video to share on our social channels.
Whatever it takes.
- Once that season came to a close, we had one of our usual company-wide end-of-year meetings. It was pretty early in the day, and everyone was exhausted from the year that was, so people were still trying to wake up.
Then Wade made a surprise appearance, and it was as if the entire crowd chugged three cups of Joe. After addressing all of us, Wade proceeded to take photos, sign autographs and chat with every single member of the organization.
I don’t remember exactly how long he did it for, but it was almost a full day. I mean, who does that? Only D. Wade.
I wish I could go on and on with these and delay the inevitable, but it’s time to bid farewell like Wade did on that day.
It’s important to remember one thing, though: I was part of HEAT Nation before Jan. 24, 2014, I have been a part of it throughout my tenure with the team, and I will continue to be in the future.
That will never change.
Thank you to all who made this one hell of a run.
Until next time.
Photos courtesy of NBAE/Getty Images and HEAT