For the eighth consecutive season, the Miami HEAT FOX Sports Sun production team called on a host of young “kid-casters” to supplement the veteran broadcast team of Eric Reid, Tony Fiorentino and Jason Jackson on Heat Kids Day.
Before, during and after the Heat’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers in March at the AmericanAirlines Arena, boys and girls were front and center throughout the entire broadcast, which began at 5 p.m. with a one-hour edition of HEAT Live, presented by Miller Lite.
Heat Kids Day also celebrated the birthday of Heat mascot Burnie, who was joined by some of his mascot friends, including Billy the Marlin, Sebastian the Ibis, TD and Stanley C. Panther.
In addition to its charming focus on HEAT players, their families and Burnie, the telecast also provided unique opportunities for kids to be involved with the production itself. Boys and girls played roles behind the scenes and in front of the camera, conducting interviews and at times sharing in the broadcast responsibilities of calling the action.
Created by Heat Executive Director of Broadcasting Ted Ballard, the annual showcase for kids has won multiple Emmy Awards in each of the previous seven years it has been presented. Ballard headed up the efforts, coordinating the logistics and the creative production efforts. AJ Speaks, the game producer, contributed significantly as well. He worked with the kids in preparation for the day -- rehearsing with them and studying game tape with them. Broadcasters Reid, Fiorentino and Jackson also spent plenty of time with the kid-casters, before, during and after the game.
The broadcast featured specialized graphics, baby and childhood photos of HEAT players, and an on-court tutorial in the pre-game with Reid, Fiorentino and several of the kid-casters.
Jordan Fishman, a 12-year-old seventh grader from Miami Country Day School, joined Reid and Fiorentino during the second quarter for play-by-play commentary in addition to interviewing HEAT Assistant Coach Juwan Howard at halftime.
In the third quarter, 14-year-old Raj Kumar, an eighth grader at Pinecrest Preparatory School, joined the HEAT broadcast team to take his turn at calling the game. Kumar also relayed the post-game reactions of 76ers Coach Brett Brown during the FOX Sports Sun post-game edition of HEAT Live, where Fishman worked with Reid and Fiorentino again.
Fishman and Kumar also participated in the pre-game press conferences with Heat Coach Erik Spoelstra and Brown. Each asked Spoelstra a question.
Ron’s Rewind had a Kids Day feel as Coach Ron Rothstein’s two basketball-playing grandsons, Aidan and Lucas, joined him at halftime and during post-game to break down the action in the Biscayne Bayside Studio with HEAT Live host Jason Jackson.
Thirteen-year-old Daniel Sintes is a seventh grade student at Palmetto Middle School, and he was posted alongside Jackson throughout the game for sideline hits and player interviews.
Making her fourth appearance on Kids Day, 19-year-old University of Virginia freshman Cassie Crotty, the daughter of HEAT radio and TV analyst John Crotty, reunited with her dad and play-by-play man Mike Inglis on the English radio broadcast. She also joined dad for a special family edition of Crotty’s Cuts during the FOX Sports Sun post-game edition of HEAT Live.
The St. Patrick School in Miami Beach was represented by 10-year-old Katelyn Manso, the daughter of HEAT host and reporter Will Manso, who conducted hits from the HEAT store and delivered the sponsored billboards throughout the game.
For the sixth consecutive season, FOX Sports Sun gave six young students from KEC-Canal Point Elementary School the opportunity to serve in a host of technical capacities. Among its many accolades, the school was honored by the Florida Department of Education for several of its public service announcements focusing on literacy.
The students had a chance to operate cameras, assist with videotape and audio production and even supply direction for parts of the telecast. The talented fifth graders were Joshua Walkes, Ralston Henry, Hector Servia, Roberto Ramirez, Melanie Razo and Natalie Razo. Brian Zimmerman is the news director of the morning broadcasts of KECTV. His daughter, Leora, who attends Wellington Elementary School, also participated.
Amar’e Stoudemire and his four children were the focus of a three-part feature series titled Family & Fatherhood, as Jackson recently spent an afternoon at the home of the six-time All-Star. The broadcast also paid tribute to Adam Fiorello, a courageous young HEAT fan battling a rare form of brain cancer with a moving two-part feature. Jackson shared the very heartfelt story of Team Adam and their push to raise awareness for the cause of pediatric cancer.