No one will ever see John Crotty’s debut as the Heat TV analyst

Heat broadcasters Eric Reid and John Crotty having a dry run at the Suns-Kings game Saturday. (Photo Miami Heat)

LAS VEGAS – John Crotty is getting his first taste as the Miami Heat’s new TV analyst during summer league, but nobody is going to see it.

Crotty and Heat play-by-play announcer Eric Reid will work four games from the Thomas & Mack Center this weekend, complete with director and producer, as a dry run. The broadcasts are not televised but the audio will be analyzed and scrutinized to help Crotty and Reid prepare for their first season together.

“Chemistry is a big part of what we do on the air,” Crotty said. “I recognized that when I was doing radio as well as in the studio and it will be the same with Eric. This is the first step.”

The two worked the Sacramento-Phoenix and Cleveland-Chicago games at the Las Vegas summer league Saturday. They will work two more contests Sunday. They were unable to do a Heat game because Miami’s first two were in the smaller arena.

The broadcast was as real-life as possible with the director and producer talking in their ear. It just wasn’t on camera.

“It will be more just the cadence of getting used to the back and forth,” said Crotty, who is replacing Tony Fiorentino. The Heat announced in June that 2017-18 would be Fiorentino’s final season in a role he held for 14 years.

Crotty, 48, has worked as the radio analyst for 12 years alongside play-by-play man Mike Inglis, mostly for home games, and as a TV studio analyst for six years. The Heat have not named a TV studio analyst to replace Crotty.

Crotty also has some experience doing television as a college analyst for Fox.

“I feel like I’ve done a little bit of every medium,” Crotty said. “The difference will be since everything’s on the air, I don’t have to help describe the action. Now it’s more about the how and why it happened. Why did the guy get open to take that shot? And maybe, too, describe the strategies that are taking place by both teams and maybe why a certain trend is working more on the court or why a particular play is working.

“That will be the fun part for me and hopefully I can articulate it in a way that people understand and find interesting.”

Crotty also will bring the player perspective after spending 11 years in the NBA, including 1996-97 with the Heat, and having experienced every emotion from being a rotation player to having to survive on a 10-day contract.

“I have a lot of different perspectives I think I can bring to the broadcast,” Crotty said.

[Three takeaways: Heat routed by Pelicans; Eric Glass calls performance ’embarrassing’]

[Heat mailbag: Where does Carmelo Anthony fit it with the Heat (if he does at all). That & more on tanking]

[Heat’s Dan Craig named assistant for USA National Team camp]

[Heat video room has produced long line of successful NBA coaches, executives – is Eric Glass next?]

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Heat offseason Q&A: Bam Adebayo talks about the draft, his offseason, how Dion Waiters looks

Heat center Bam Adebayo with camp former Heat assistant and broadcaster Tony Fiorentino . (Photo Tom D’Angelo)

HOLLYWOOD – Bam Adebayo knows exactly what every NBA prospect is going through.

One year ago, the Miami Heat center was nervously awaiting the NBA draft, which will be held Thursday. Finally, 14 picks in, he heard his name called and his life changed.

Now, Adebayo, who turns 21 next month, is working religiously to improve his game with former NBA All-Star Rasheed Wallace twice a week and with his Heat teammates at the team’s practice facility. He will be part of the Heat’s summer league teams in Sacramento Las Vegas with games starting July 2.

On Wednesday, Adebayo was a guest of former Heat coach and broadcaster Tony Fiorentino at the Heat basketball camp at South Broward High School.

We caught up with Adebayo for our latest offseason Q&A and talked about the draft, his offseason and received an update on Heat guard Dion Waiters, who underwent ankle surgery in January.

Q: You said you are working on your midrange game. Do you think you can morph into the modern big man with the way the game has changed?

Adebayo: “Yeah. Being versatile is a big thing for the Miami Heat. I’m willing to do that.”

Q: You’ve been working with Rasheed Wallace. How did you hook up with him?

Adebayo: “I’ve known Rasheed since my junior year of high school. We’ve worked out and just kept getting better. It’s not the first time me and Rasheed worked out. His work outs are pretty short and sweet. They’re to the point.”

Q: What did he work with you on?

Adebayo: “Just staying balanced. Everything I do with the Miami Heat, just being explosive and getting to your spots quickly.”

Q: What are you working on with the Heat?

Adebayo: “Everything. My whole arsenal. … Midrange game, low post, becoming a better player.”

Q: You said Dion Waiters has been involved in your pickup game today in Miami. How has he been looking?

Adebayo:” “He’s looking good to me. You can tell he’s been in the gym because he’s been working.”

Q: What will this team look like with Dion?

Adebayo “It can’t do anything but make us better. I feel like Dion has another unbelievable ceiling to him. So, we’re just going to keep working and every will reach their potential.”

Q: Going on vacation this summer?

Adebayo: “I went back home, that’s about it. I got to see the family, had a family reunion.”

Q: So it’s business the whole summer?

Adebayo: “Yeah, the whole summer.”

Q: What is the biggest thing you wanted to improve on from your rookie season?

Adebayo: “Be more offensive minded and aggressive. Last year I kind of sat back and looked at everybody else. They want me to be more assertive.”

Q: What’s your mentality this offseason? Did James Johnson rub off on you?

Adebayo: “I’ve always had that work ethic, just trying to get better, get one percent better. I’m trying to do that for the team and for myself.”

Q: Just about a year ago when your life changed when you were selected by the Heat in the draft. Ever think back what the last year has been like?

Adebayo: “Yeah. It’s been a wild experience. All the time I look back at it. Just building bonds from a year ago is unbelievable.”

Q: What is it like for the guys who will go through it (Thursday)?

Adebayo: “Nerve wracking. Just going through all that because it’s a process. It’s like a marathon so you build up to it. To finally get your name called it’s like a weight off your shoulders. But then you know, you’re right back to business.”

Q: You said were close to tears on draft night last year, how close?

Adebayo: “Yeah, but I had to hurry and get off the stage. So, after I got off the court I was straight.”

Q: You came out of Kentucky after one season. NBA commissioner Adam Silver said the one-and-done might end in 2021, do you feel it worked out before for you?

Adebayo: “I’m glad it worked out the way it did. I got to experience college for that one year. So, it was great to me. Some guys can go straight to the NBA.”

Q: Did you see Hassan Whiteside in the Lamborghini in Italy on Instagram? Did you question how he fit into a Lamborghini?

Adebayo: “Uh, no, not really. He has his ways of doing stuff. I texted him about, ‘Why are you in a Lamborghini?’ He was like, ‘I’m just out here enjoying my life,’ which he should. He deserves it. So, we’re just seeing him enjoy his life.”

[2018 NBA mock draft: Breaking down the first 30 picks]

[This may not be the summer Pat Riley is able to work his magic, which will leave Heat fans with an empty feeling again]

[Possible NBA draft rule change could prove costly for Heat]

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Tony Fiorentino’s 15-year broadcasting career as ‘coach on the air’ with Heat coming to a close

MIAMI – Tony Fiorentino has done it all during his 30 years in the Miami organization – an assistant with the Heat and WNBA Sol, a scouting coordinator, a summer camp director and 15 seasons as a television color analyst.

But through it all Fiorentino, who will call his final regular season game Wednesday, never felt he left the sidelines.

“People have asked me, ‘Do you miss coaching?’” Fiorentino said before Miami’s loss at New York Friday. “And I said, ‘No,’ because I run the Heat camps in the summer, which is a form of coaching, and I feel like I was coaching on the air.”

Tony Fiorentino has worked with Erik Reid on Heat broadcasts for 15 years.

Fiorentino, 68, will leave the broadcast booth but remain with the organization running basketball camps and working community events. He has teamed with Eric Reid to call more than 1,100 games. Reid and Fiorentino are the only announcing team in the league where both have been with their organization from its inception.

The Heat will honor Fiorentino during halftime of his last regular season game Wednesday. He could work a few playoff games.

“It’s really unique to work with somebody that you’ve been friends with for 30 years,” Reid said. “The chemistry was natural. Everything people heard was real. We’re both from New York. I knew of Tony when he was a high school coach. Then we both get to Miami and all these years later we’re paired up to do games. Just a great experience working with a true lifelong friend.”

Former Heat guard John Crotty, 48, will replace Fiorentino. Crotty has been a member of Heat broadcasts for 12 years, working with Mike Inglis on radio and appearing on Fox Sports Sun’s studio show.

Fiorentino echoes Reid’s sentiments, saying one of the things he is most proud of has been working alongside a close friend.

“It’s always about who you work with,” Fiorentino said. “And all we ever tried to do was be honest, entertain and inform the fans. And I think we did that for 15 years. Even though we wanted to win, the Heat to win, and we favored the Heat, we were always very honest with calls, we were very honest with the opponents, giving the opponents credit.”

Opposing coaches and referees have approached the pair to credit them for their work ethic – Fiorentino and Reid are one of the few broadcasting duos who attend every opponent coaches media session before each game – and objectivity.

“I think they appreciated the honesty we had on the air,” Fiorentino said. “We don’t ever try to kill anybody. We do have a great relationship with most of the coaches in the league.

“I was a coach when I started announcing. I learned a lot from Eric on how to ask questions and try to get the most information you can to make the game more enjoyable for everybody. That’s cool to get that respect from those people.”

Fiorentino had the knowledge from being a former coach, something that helped prepare him for when he started analyzing the game and for a living.

“I was trying to educate the fans and look at the game through a coach’s eyes,” he said. “My job was always to try to figure out why a coach did what he did.

“I’m a little biased obviously, but I think coaches make the best analysts because sometimes it’s how you say something. A player may not be playing well, but there’s a way to say it without killing the player.”

Fiorentino has seen the highs (three titles) and the lows (15 wins in 2007-08). But that 2007-08 season stands out.

“What I’m most proud of for us is that we did our best job I think when we won 15 games,” Fiorentino said. “We brought it every night. If you were listening to our broadcast you would never know we won 15 games that year. It’s easy to do it when you’re a championship team. But to bring it every night and be prepared. … ”

Fiorentino was asked about specific moments from his broadcasting career that stood out. Here are three:

* Dwyane Wade’s coming out during the Eastern Conference semifinals against the New Orleans Hornets. Wade, a rookie, scored the game-winner with 1.3 seconds remaining in his first playoff game, giving the Heat a 91-89 victory. “That’s the game when Dwyane Wade came of age, when he made the winning shot and I said something like, ‘Stan Van Gundy went to the rookie and he delivered.’ So that was cool.”

* Another Wade game winner, this one in New York, stands out.  “We’re from New York and we know how passionate the fans are. There were 20,000 fans here and I said right after Eric did his thing, ‘How do you quiet 20,000 New Yorkers? Make Dwyane Wade make a jumper at the buzzer.’ So, I really enjoyed that one.”

* Not all of the memories involved Wade, or even a magical play. One night in Minnesota Fiorentino mentioned how a young boy in the stands was eating all kinds of junk food. “We’re getting ready to do the open and we’re sitting on our stools looking toward the stands and we see a kid eating an ice cream cone, he’s eating a cookie and we’re thinking, ‘Man, he’s eating too much stuff.’ Don’t you know, I think it was the second quarter, all of a sudden we hear something, I turn around, the kid threw up all over my jacket. And we were just starting a West Coast trip, it was a suit I had to wear again on the trip. So I had to send it to the cleaners when we got to Los Angeles.”

[Why do Heat feel it’s important to finish No. 6? Hint: It has nothing to do with possibly facing Sixers]

[Playoff update: Philadelphia now controls its destiny as No. 3 seed, possible first-round Heat opponent]

[Wade on friendship with LeBron if Heat face Cavs in playoffs: ‘LeBron goes dark on everybody, I won’t be worried about communicating’]

[Heat mailbag: Is it dangerous for teams to jockey to face Boston in first round? Heat avenues to improve this summer]

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Former player John Crotty named as Heat’s next television analyst

 

John Crotty will replace Tony Fiorentino as the Heat’s next television analyst.

John Crotty is moving over from radio to television.

Crotty will become the Miami Heat’s next analyst for all TV broadcasts beginning next season, the team announced today. Crotty, 48, will work alongside play-by-play broadcaster Eric Reid, replacing longtime analyst Tony Fiorentino.

Crotty, who played 48 games for the Heat in 1996-97, has been a member of the broadcast team since January 2005 when he became the Heat’s radio analyst. He will become the seventh person to serve as the TV analyst for the franchise and the second former player.

“It’s truly an honor to have such a lengthy history with the Miami Heat; first as a player, then as a radio broadcaster and now as the TV color analyst,” Crotty said in a statement. He went on to say that he is “humbled by the big shoes I have to fill, but very excited to take on the challenge.”

After a standout college career at the University of Virginia, Crotty entered the NBA as an undrafted free agent with the Utah Jazz in 1991. He spent the majority of his 11-year NBA playing career in Utah backing up John Stockton.

Crotty played for seven different franchises. In Miami, he averaged 4.8 points and 2.1 assists while serving as Tim Hardaway’s backup.

Crotty first appeared for the Heat on television during the 2006 championship season, when he was added to the team’s post-season coverage. He was a part of two Emmy Award-winning parade coverage shows and since the spring of 2012 has served as a studio analyst for all Heat home and road games. In addition to his work with the Heat, Crotty has also served as a color analyst on college basketball games for Fox.

“John has been part of the Heat family for many years, and has earned this opportunity,” said Eric Woolworth, president of the Heat’s business operations. “We are thrilled to have him on board as our color analyst and excited about the future of our broadcasts on Fox Sports Sun. We have every confidence that John is going to do a great job.”

The Heat have seen six former players, coaches and broadcasters serve in this role. Crotty joins a group that includes Reid (the team’s first TV analyst), Dave Wohl, Jack Ramsay, Ed Pinckney, Mike Fratello, and Fiorentino.

The Heat announced in June that this would be Fiorentino’s final season in a role he held for 14 years.

The team has not announced plans to fill Crotty’s current role on radio.

[Wade calls final year of Big 3 in Miami a “bad marriage.” Says he came to Cavs to be part of solution, not problem]

[Heat’s Andy Elisburg: From intern to VP/GM to St. Thomas University Hall of Famer]

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30 years of Heat: The early years and an intern who now deals with multi-million dollar contracts as the General Manager

MIAMI – Andy Elisburg was a 20-year-old intern with the Miami Heat in 1988 when managing partner Billy Cunningham said he needed some chores to be done around the office.

“No problem,” Elisburg said, “I’ll get one of my guys to do it.”

Cunningham looked at Elisburg: “You have people? You’re an intern.”

Elisburg epitomizes where the Heat have come in 30 years. Starting as an intern for public relations director Mark Pray, Elisburg, who turns 50 next month, was a student at St. Thomas University when he was hired to do, well, everything, and started working his way up to senior vice president of basketball operations/General Manager.

Andy Elisburg has worked his way up in the Heat organization from an intern in the public relations department to General Manger. (Photo David Alvarez)

When Elisburg worked with numbers nearly 30 years ago it was those he’d type into a bulky computer to be included in the media guide. Today when he works with numbers it’s negotiating multi-million dollar contracts.

The Heat start their 30th season Wednesday with their season opener in Orlando. Elisburg is one of a handful of people who have been with the organization continuously for the three decades, including broadcaster Tony Fiorentino (who was an assistant coach on Ron Rothstein’s original staff), Eric Reid and Jose Paneda.

Back then, the Heat had about 20 employees, not including players. Today, that number is close to 200.

Only a handful of people, including partners Cunningham and Lewis Schaffel, Rothstein, assistant coach Dave Wohl, director of player personnel Stu Inman and trainer Ron Culp, had worked in the NBA.

For the others it was on the job training.

“Those first games it was really crazy because people really had no idea what to do,” Elisburg said.

During the very first time out of the very first game at Miami Arena, Pray handed the partial box score to a runner with instructions to make copies and “give one to everybody.”

The runner suddenly stopped, looked back and wondered, “how am I going to make 15,000 copies for everyone in the building.”

Finally, he was told, “not everyone. … everyone on press row.”

“It was an incredibly rich and wonderful experience,” Elisburg said. “With the fans, we got a chance to experience NBA basketball and professional sports together. It was very much kind of trial by error in learning what works and what doesn’t and what we had to do.”

Elisburg recalls the entire staff rolling 15,000 posters the night before that opening game.

And although Rothstein had spent five seasons as an assistant coach in Atlanta and Detroit, moving over one seat on the bench was a major adjustment for him, too.

“Anytime you get your first head coaching job the reality is you are a little naïve,” Rothstein said. “The real world hasn’t hit you yet. You’re really full of yourself. You really are. I knew that we weren’t going to be good and I knew that we would lose a lot of games. I had no idea it would be that tough.”

Everybody grew together. … through 17 consecutive losses to start their inaugural year, 33 wins the first two years combined, the first coaching change in 1991 when Kevin Loughery replaced Rothstein and their first taste of the postseason in 1992.

“The philosophy of the Heat from the beginning was we’re going to build through the draft which is exactly what we did,” Rothstein said. “We actually were the first of the expansion teams to make the playoffs, Year 4, unfortunately that was after I was gone. I felt our first three years really set the foundation. Year 4 didn’t happen in a bubble.”

Those drafts netted Rony Seikaly, Grant Long, Glen Rice and Steve Smith, the heart of that first playoff team.

Fast forward 30 years from Nov. 5, 1988, the night of the first ever regular season game for a South Florida NBA franchise, to now where three championship banners hang in the rafters of the AmericanAirlines Arena.

But that does not tell the whole story about where this franchise has come, an ascent similar to the one taken by the intern in the public relations department who now holds the title of General Manager.

“You never know when you start something up that it becomes your home and your family,” Elisburg said. “You don’t think 30 years from now we’re going to be here.

“One of the things that is really special when you are a part of something like this is you’re building something beyond you. We’ve built a foundation what will stand the test of time, a history that people will be part of. It’s been special being part of all the things we’ve achieved and the struggles.”

Miami Heat celebrate 30th anniversary in NBA: The Palm Beach Post looks back

30 memorable moments from the team’s history

Aboard the Imagination and in the Dynasty lounge, the Pat Riley era begins

The early years and an intern who now deals with multi-million dollar contracts

A look at how a group of South Florida sports fans became Generation Heat

Ranking the top 30 players in team history

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Chris Broussard claims Erik Spoelstra never ‘fully coached’ LeBron James, Tony Fiorentino responds

Tony Fiorentino and Eric Reid

Coach Tony has no time for your Spoelstra disrespect.

Tony Fiorentino, the long-time television voice of the Miami Heat who is entering his final season of broadcasting, took to Twitter on Wednesday to express his displeasure with an opinion given by Fox Sports’ Chris Broussard.

Broussard was critical of Erik Spoelstra while appearing on the HoopsHype podcast, lumping Spoelstra in with the all the coaches that LeBron James has had in his career, while attempting to support his assertion that James has never had an elite coach.

While mentioning a group of coaches, which includes Spoelstra, Tyronn Lue and Mike Brown, Broussard said that James has never had a “legendary coach who could’ve fully coached him.”

When a HotHotHoops article, headlined “Chris Broussard rips Erik Spoelstra for not ‘fully coaching’ LeBron,” came across Fiorentino’s Twitter timeline, he delivered a strong retort to Broussard’s claims.

“Another example of a pseudo expert who never coached, exposing his ignorance,” Fiorentino said in response to Broussard.

Since James left Miami in 2014, Spoelstra has coached Miami to a 126-120 record and was named co-recipient of the National Basketball Coaches Association’s Coach of the Year Award last season.

2017-18 season will be Tony Fiorentino’s last as Miami Heat television analyst

Tony Fiorentino and Eric Reid

MIAMI — The Heat announced Friday that Tony Fiorentino will begin his final season as the team’s television analyst this upcoming season.

Fiorentino, who is an original Heat employee, is preparing for his 30th season with the franchise and his 15th season as its television analyst. His time with the Heat began on the bench as an assistant coach for the inaugural 1988-89 team. Continue reading “2017-18 season will be Tony Fiorentino’s last as Miami Heat television analyst”