MIAMI — In observance of Veterans Day 2016, the Miami Heat will further demonstrate its respect for and admiration of the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces by expanding Home Strong, its long-standing military initiative. During the 2016-17 Home Strong campaign, the Miami Heat will once again wear their Home Strong uniforms, but, this season, the Heatwill honor service members from South Florida who made the ultimate sacrifice protecting our freedoms by wearing a patch with the name of a different fallen hero on their on-court uniform. Each Heat player and coach will be paired with adifferent South Florida Gold Star Service Member and their Family to pay homage to the life of their fallen loved one. The Heat will formally debut this new edition of their Home Strong uniformâdesigned in-house by the Miami Heat Creative Departmentâon Monday, November 7th when Miami travels to Oklahoma City to take on the Thunder. The Heat will also wear the Home Strong uniform on November 10th vs. the Chicago Bulls, November 12th vs. the Utah Jazz, November 14th at the San Antonio Spurs and November 15th vs. the Atlanta Hawks. The Home Strong uniform is a visual extension of the team’s ongoing charitable work with military families and features olive drab and tan fabrics, traditional military insignia elements and patriotic symbols.
During the three Home Strong games played at AmericanAirlines Arena, in addition to wearing the Home Strong uniforms, the team will welcome the various Gold Star Families, who were identified by The U.S. Army Garrison–Miami Survivor Outreach Services, of each fallen service member to the Arena to be recognized and to participate in the campaign. Videotaped tribute pieces will air during each game broadcast (home and away) and in-arena on HeatV and, over the course of theseason, each fallen service member will have their story told via these touching video segments, which will be posted on the Heat’s social and digital media outlets. Prior to each of the three home games, the Heat will air its Home Strong player introduction video featuring Heat players proudly displaying the uniform patches, as well as showcasing mementos representing the fallen service members. During the game on November 12th, the Heat will distribute 20,000 commemorative posters featuring the 2016-17roster and a tasteful display of the names of each of the fallen heroes. The names of the fallen service members will also be represented alongside Heat players on the street banners surrounding the Arena.
A special website, Heat.com/Homestrong will launch today at 11:00 a.m. and will showcase all things Home Strong including the names and stories of each of the fallen service members, photos of the Gold Star Families along with the Heat player that is representing them, and the 2016-17 Home StrongCollection, a limited edition line of retail merchandise, in which a portion of the proceeds from the sale of all items will be donated to Fisher Houseâan organization that provides free or low cost lodging to veterans and military families receiving treatment at military medical centers. The Heat will present a check to Fisher House during the game on November 12th, representing the funds raised during last season.
"I started Home Strong back in 2006 because I wanted to respond to the endlessletters of encouragement I received from members of the U.S. Military stationed overseas," said Pat Riley, President of the Miami Heat. "Since then, I am proud to say we have honored hundreds of military families at Heat games, donatedhundreds of thousands of dollars to Fisher House, Up2Us Sports and other charities that support our returning servicemen and women, hosted basketball clinics for countless military families, renovated homes for retired veterans, visited them in hospitals, sent thousands of care packages to soldiers all over the world, distributed Thanksgiving meals to local veterans and their families, and even hosted our player training camp at Eglin Air Force Base. No branch of our military has ever paid us as part of our Home Strong initiative."
For each of the three Home Strong games played at the AmericanAirlines Arena, veterans from the South Florida community will present the colors during the pre-game ceremony. Additionally, for the November 10th, 12th and 15th games, military members will participate in the unfurling of a 40-foot American flag at center court. The National Anthem will be performed by current and retired military members from United States Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) in Doral and Homestead Air Reserve Base. AmericanAirlines Arena will welcome acontingent of over 600 military members and their families who received donated game tickets. In addition, Heat fans are encouraged to share their appreciation for the military by using the hashtag #HOMESTRONG on their social media channels and via the Miami Heat App.
On Veterans Day, November 11th, the Heat will fund and conduct home renovations for two local veterans. Theproject will be led by Pat Riley and Heat Legends Alonzo Mourning and Glen Rice, who will be joined by a contingent of Heat staffers, U.S. servicemen and women from SOUTHCOM, the United States Coast Guard and volunteers from Rebuilding Together, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization working to preserve affordable housing through home renovations for low-income homeowners.
These military-themed activities are part of the year-round NBA Cares Hoops for Troops Program, where the League, its teams and players in collaboration with the Department of Defense, USO and other military and veteran-serving organizations honors active and retired service men and women and their families.
About the Miami Heat Home Strong Initiative
In 2006, Pat Riley launched the Miami Heat Home Strong initiative, an on-going program where members of the U.S. Military who havereturned home are saluted during every Heat home game. The mission of the Home Strong initiative is to give aid, support and recognition to any person who has been in harm’s way during their military service. Home Strong is presented by Bank of the Ozarks.
Gold Star Families
A Gold Star Family is the family of a father, mother, brother, sister, son, daughter, or other loved one who dies in service to the nation.