MIAMI (CBS4) – Four local Army Reservists are among the hundreds of people working inside the American Airlines Arena during the NBA Finals.
Andrew Paredes, 22, is one of the men chosen to participate in the program, which is a partnership between the Army Reserves employment office and the National Basketball Association.
The goal of the program is to help reservists returning home from overseas to find a job.
Paredes said he has worked hard over the last week, pulling miles of cable, setting up cameras and moving heavy equipment. He quickly learned the ins and outs of sports production, and he said he liked what he saw.
“I never even knew these jobs existed before,” Paredes said before Game 5 of the Finals between the Miami Heat and the Oklahoma City Thunder. “Now, it’s something that I wouldn’t dismiss.”
The other men selected for the opportunity said they’ve learned a lot and are grateful for the experience.
They said the 12-hour days have been grueling, but nothing they couldn’t handle. They said their Armed Forces training has served them well.
“It’s nothing,” Paredes said of the long hours. “I spent three days without sleep in Iraq.”
As a Heat fan, Paredes said this is an assignment he can get used to.
“All these people pay thousands of dollars just to sit court-side,” Paredes said. “But we get to sit right on the floor in front of them.”
The men will have their work cut out for them Thursday night. Win or lose, they’ll have to pack up all the gear they helped set up. The American Airlines Arena will then be transformed in to a concert space for the musical group, L.M.F.A.O. That show is Friday night.