SBD/October 30, 2012/NBA Season Preview

Heat Begin Title Defense In Position To Become Miami's Most Popular Team

The Heat's two NBA Championships are becoming more relevant in South Florida
The Heat begin defense of their NBA title tonight against the Celtics, and Miami changing from a “football town to basketball town ... hasn’t happened yet, but the idea it could no longer is either blasphemous or ridiculous," according to Greg Cote of the MIAMI HERALD. Winning South Florida, “owning it, will enter the broad civic discussion if the bar measuring Heat success continues at the championship level.” Still, it will “take another title this season (and the giddy assumption of more) to properly begin that conversation.” Cote: “I don’t think the Heat is there yet, not even with two championships in the past seven years. ... But I think the Heat is getting there." Heat F LeBron James is the "only player on the planet capable of agitating the monumental change.” As the Dolphins’ “halcyon days turn by degrees to nostalgia,” the Heat’s current reign “is more and more relevant in a transient community getting younger and younger.” Cote: “I don’t doubt that for every one of you who think the Heat already has taken over this town, there might be five who think it will never happen.” If anything “can change that, in perception or reality, it is this marvel that [Heat President Pat] Riley has assembled, this machine fronted by a beloved Dwyane Wade and by the incomparable locomotive LeBron James” (MIAMI HERALD, 10/28).

NEW THREADS: The Heat are scheduled to wear six different uniforms this season. Tonight's jerseys feature gold trim elements outlining the team name, along with the Larry O’Brien Trophy affixed to the right shoulder of the uniform and on the back of the warm-up jacket. The team on Nov. 24 will wear its White Hot uniform and will re-christen the traditional “Black Friday” date as “White Hot Friday.” A red Christmas Day uniform will include white trim outlining just the team name, player name and numerals. The red throwback 25th Anniversary Hardwood Classics uniform pays homage to the mid-90’s Heat teams. In addition, the ‘12-13 season marks the seventh year the Heat will celebrate the NBA’s Noche Latina initiative (Heat).

TURNING UP THE FIRE: The AP’s Tim Reynolds notes there have been “a slew of upgrades” at AmericanAirlines Arena “over the summer -- slightly different looks here and there, a new nightclub and restaurant, more concessions and bars for ticketholders to enjoy.” The Heat will “even offer fans the chance to purchase championship-ring-related merchandise, designed in the same manner as the players' title-reward jewelry” (AP, 10/30).
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