Erik Spoelstra, Heat thinking about victims of Mexico City earthquake: ‘We know a little bit about natural disasters’

MEXICO CITY – Earthquakes are an unfortunate part of life in Mexico City, with 14 to hit the city in the last 20 years with a magnitude of at least 5.7.

The latest occurred Sept. 19, a magnitude 7.1 that struck about 100 miles south of Mexico City. That quake killed 216, 94 in Mexico City, where about 40 buildings collapse.

As the city continues to rebuild, the damage is not evident in the Polanco neighborhood, just west of downtown, where the Miami Heat are staying for their game Saturday against the Brooklyn Nets.

Several buildings collapsed in Mexico City following the September 19 earthquake. (Photo by: Eduardo Verdugo/AP)

And the Arena Ciudad de Mexico, north of downtown, was not damage, which allowed these games to be played. Brooklyn and Oklahoma City played the first of the two games Thursday.

But the NBA was in contact with officials immediately following the earthquake to make sure it was safe for the games to be played.

Raul Zarraga, the NBA’s managing director in Mexico, told the Palm Beach Post this week the city continues to recover.

“We are doing all we can to try to get over it,” Zarraga said. “NBA is taking the opportunity to help people in Mexico.”

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said today he hopes that playing games in the city can help in some way, even if just by raising awareness.

“Our thoughts and prayers still go out to the people down here that still have a lot of work to do,” Spoelstra said. “And we know a little bit about natural disasters and how people can forget about it when it’s not on the front page of the news a few months afterwards.

“We’re still thinking about people down here that still need some care, still need some resources, still need some help. So if this game can help and if our presence down here can help raise awareness, that’s great. We all want to be a part of that.”

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