For the past two weeks, the city of Miami has enjoyed a thrilling NBA Playoffs series that few fanbases get to witness. Storming back after trailing 3 games to 2 against the San Antonio Spurs, the display that The Heat have put on is nothing short of miraculous. Much like last year, the energy in the city has been palpable, and the fans have been on edge for a good part of the season, praying, hoping and dreaming of a 3rd championship trophy.
Despite this, the commitment of Miami Fans has yet again come into question, which was only magnified by the shameless early exit of close to a 1,000 fans while The Heat were trailing 94-89 in a potentially decisive Game 6 of the NBA Finals. We have long been referred to as "fair weather" or "bandwagon" fans, who only support our teams during winning seasons, and this was the nail in our coffin, so to speak. According to the rest of world, Miami does not deserve nor appreciate what they have: an incredibly talented team who leaves it all on the court.
As fans ourselves, we set out to dispute what we know in our bones to be a myth. We know that 1,000 fans out of 20,000 does not make a majority. We know that the flashy celebrities and elites who sit courtside do not represent the true Heat fanbase. To find a true Heat Fan, you would have to visit the 300-400 levels of the AAA. They are the ones that save in order to make it to games. You can find them in thousands of sports bars and millions of homes across SFL glued to their TVs and experiencing varying levels emotions: from extreme anxiety, to what we've heard described as an "angry joy", which makes you so happy that you could punch through a wall (we're nothing, if not a passionate city). You can also find them partaking in crazy rituals, from lighting candles in prayer to Catholic saints to wearing special shoes and underwear to ensure a Heat win.
As people who live in the thick of it, we can assure the rest of the world, that these true fans are not the minority. The minority are those who left and perpetuated a long running myth. The minority are the tourists who visit our beaches and want to "roll with the winners" for a weekend. The minority are those who are unaffected emotionally after a Heat loss. They are only a drop in the bucket filled to the brim with passionate and unwavering Heat fans. The Miami Heat fans feel blessed to live in a great, sunny city and to witness history-making sports in our own backyard.
As for the team that brought us this great gift, we can only say THANK YOU for your enormous talent and work, for uniting so many different cultures and religions to all root for the same goal, for showing so much love to our community outside of basketball, and giving your time and energy to make this a better place to live. Even though the bulk of true Miami Fans sit further back, we hope that you can hear our love and support loud and clear.
music licensed through The Music Bed
additional camera work by Julien Diaz and Albert Tong
special thanks to The Miami Heat Organization, Will Call Miami and Bokamper's
Also, check out our celebration video from last year: vimeo.com/44547659