CHARLOTTE, N.C. — In a show of solidarity with the Los Angeles Clippers, the Heat’s players turned their warm-up tops inside out during the pregame lay-up line of Monday’s playoff game against the Charlotte Bobcats.
The NBA has been dragged into a controversy during the postseason due to racially insensitive comments allegedly made by Clippers owner Donald Sterling. NBA commissioner Adam Silver is holding a news conference at 2 p.m. on Tuesday to address the matter. On Sunday, the Clippers’ players turned their warm-ups inside out before Game 4 of its first-round playoff series against the Golden State Warriors.
“This is obviously a very difficult and sensitive time for all of us, and the toughest thing is your heart goes out to the players and staff and the organization that is still dealing with this in L.A.,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.
Both Dwyane Wade and LeBron James said the distraction caused by the controversy has affected the Clippers on the court. The Clippers lost to the Warriors 118-97 on Sunday.
“This is the time of the year as players we all love,” Wade said. “It’s the playoffs, and you need to play this game with a free mind and open hearts and they’re not able to do that right now. It’s a very difficult situation to be in for them, being right in the midst of it. Obviously, it’s something we all are affected by.”
Said James: “I don’t care what anybody says. I believe it was all in their minds, and you try to focus on the game, but that wasn’t the Clippers team that I’m accustomed to watching. I think a lot of that had to do with it...We are in support of the Clippers.”
James said players around the league are “in suspense” to see what Silver says during his Tuesday news conference.
“We believe in the NBA and we believe in Adam Silver and justice should be served,” James said.
Heat assistant coach and Hall of Fame player Bob McAdoo was heartbroken on Monday morning to learn of the passing of Dr. Jack Ramsay. McAdoo played for Ramsay in Buffalo and Ramsay introduced McAdoo years later when he was inducted into the Hall of Fame.
“When I got elected, he was the first person I thought about, and he gave me a fabulous tribute, and when I heard about it this morning I was just so sad for him because Jack was…he gave me my start in my career, and jumpstarted my career in Buffalo,” McAdoo said.
McAdoo called Ramsay “professional as professional as you could get” and said Ramsay’s attention to physical fitness was innovated for that era of the NBA.
“When we were in Buffalo he brought a stretching guru in and nobody was doing that,” McAdoo said. “I was the most flexible I had ever been because Jack was into the physical fitness, and that’s probably why we were so successful in Buffalo.
“We could get the ball up and down the court. We talk about the Lakers and Showtime but we had Showtime in Buffalo with Dr. Jack. It was very fun playing with him.”
Growing up in Portland, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra first met Ramsay when he was eight years old. Spoelstra attended Ramsay’s summer basketball camps as a child. Years later as a young coach, Spoelstra leaned on Ramsay for advice.
“Dr. Jack has been an incredible inspiration for me,” Spoelstra said. “He has an incredible legacy in this game of basketball and it’s really strange how things work out. I come from two basketball families—the Portland Trail Blazers and the Miami Heat — and I grew up with Coach Ramsay and that legacy there and then the legacy he had with the Heat as an announcer.
“But it was amazing to see how many people he continued to effect in such a beautiful way. He garnered so much respect from coaches and players and new generations of players and coaches. His legacy is incredible — Hall of Fame — but as a man it is bigger than that.”