The Miami Heat released its new player introduction video on Thursday afternoon -- just in time to get fans exciting before the home opener at 8 p.m. Friday night against the Charlotte Hornets.
The accompanying song Blow Your Mind by Ohana Bam taps right into the theme for the team this season. Among the lyrics: “Better not be one to doubt us... cause we’re going to blow your mind.”
Picked by most experts to miss the playoffs and finish with a losing record following the departure of future Hall of Famer Dwyane Wade and the ongoing health crisis of 11-time All-Star Chris Bosh, Heat players have gravitated toward an us against the world mentality this preseason, led by captain and 14-year veteran Udonis Haslem.
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Coach Erik Spoelstra has said he’s “OK with players using that for motivation” as long as it also results “in a deeper connection.”
“It has to be about caring for each other, serving each other, playing for the next guy, finding a way where you can really enjoy someone else’s success,” Spoelstra said before the Heat’s season-opening 108-96 win at Orlando. “Those things are much more powerful than what a prognosticator says from the outside. Those are temporary motivation. The deeper motivation is when a team really connects and starts to feel like you’re playing better as a group and you can accomplish more as a group.”
Still, players like Hassan Whiteside and Justise Winslow have acknowledged silencing the doubters and critics has served a role in helping bringing a team a handful of free agent castoffs and unwanted players together with a young, unproven core left behind by Wade faster than most anticipated.
“Coach has brought it up and UD has brought it up,” Winslow told The Miami Herald Wednesday of the coach and team captain using the underdog card in speeches during the preseason. “Everybody has a chip on their shoulder because they were traded or the team they were on didn’t resign them. A lot of people have that chip on their shoulder and it’s just something we embrace. As a team we hear all the stuff. We don’t pay attention too much, but we hear it and we use it as motivation.”
The Heat’s bench stood and cheered throughout Wednesday’s season-opening win over the Magic. Players remarked afterward how the sentiment and support for teammates is real, not phony.
“Guys want to find a home and they want to stick and they want to get a contract,” Winslow said. “And the best way to do that is win. All the motivation is focused toward winning. So, if we do that, then guys will be successful and get what they want out of it. Guys just want to go out there and win prove people wrong.”