MIAMI – The Miami Heat’s Family Festival was held Saturday outside AmericanAirlines Arena, an annual event in its 20th year that benefits the team’s charities.
A check of $554,245 was presented to the Miami Heat Charitable Fund before players were introduced and then mingled with the fans. The Family Festival has raised more than $10 million the last the 20 years.
“It’s incredible,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “Being here for the very first one and we saw how small it was but the vision the Arisons and the Rileys had for this, I think it surpassed it.”
Heat owner Micky Arison was among those enjoying the festivities. President Pat Riley could not make it, scouting duties preventing him from attending. Riley was at the NCAA Tournament.
“It’s great to be able to celebrate and interact with our fans all day long” Spoelstra continued. “The can see our players different than they normally do during the games.”
Players dressed up a various photo booths and helped set a record for most selfies taken in a day.
The Heat invited 50 restaurants, who provided food for the fans and players to sample.
“I don’t eat to save my appetite,” team captain Udonis Haslem said about attending the Family Festival.
But players know there is a limit.
“We’re still going to be weighing body fat on Monday but we want them to enjoy themselves,” Spoelstra said. “Enjoy the sun, enjoy the food. Have fun with the families, to understand why we’re doing this and our guys are great about that.”