MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) — With the new NBA season just two weeks away, South Florida basketball fans got a sneak peak of what to expect.
The second half of the annual Miami Heat scrimmage was delayed a bit Monday night, because Hassan Whiteside was too busy taking selfies with fans on the court.
No one complained, either.
The scrimmage serves two purposes for the Heat — it’s a chance for fans to see what amounts to a glorified practice, and more importantly it gives the team a chance to pay tribute to breast cancer survivors, who come down to the court at halftime for plenty of hugs and photos.
“This shines an incredible light and we love it,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “It really is a touching moment.”
About 30 women, most of them somehow adorned in breast-cancer-awareness-color of pink, took part in the halftime ceremony. In the stands, hundreds of others wore pink and the Heat uniforms for the night were all adorned with pink names and numbers.
A few players, including Tyler Johnson and Udonis Haslem, even donned pink sneakers.
“It’s very special for me, obviously,” said Haslem, the Heat captain. “My mom passed away from cancer. … I’m not a man of pink, but I will wear pink tonight to show support.”
Ticket proceeds benefitted the Miami Cancer Institute.
“It’s something that we all pretty much have been touched by,” Heat forward Justise Winslow said. “Whether it’s a friend, a team mom, an aunt, a cousin, anything, we’ve all been affected by it. We can all see their hearts out there, and so we try to give them a little bit of our time and our heart.”
The night was also an unofficial introduction to a very new team.
Dwyane Wade, Joe Johnson, Luol Deng, Gerald Green and Amare Stoudemire are among the biggest departures from last season, and Chris Bosh — who failed his physical and wasn’t cleared to resume basketball activities after his last two seasons ended early because of blood clots — is no longer in the team’s plans but remains under contract.
“We have an exciting group for you,” Spoelstra told the crowd. “It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
The Heat play host to Brooklyn in a preseason game on Tuesday night.
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