Last night, the Miami Heat handed out Udonis Haslem bandages to honor their power forward’s courageous return from a dastardly
Khal Drogo Lou Amundson elbow during Game 4. It was a neat promotion, convincing a bunch of fans to put stickers over their eyes. Weird look, for sure, but you can tell these people really care about their team’s heart and soul.
However, it wasn’t the first time the Heat’s marketing staff put together a handout to celebrate the return of a player from injury. I took the time to dig in to some archives to find the following promotions, all of which definitely took place.
Rony Seikaly DJ Tables
As Rony Seikaly’s DJ career was getting off the ground, the first Miami Heat star suffered a sprained wrist while trying to tweak across the crossfade. Notorious partiers that they are, Heat fans celebrated the big man’s return with commemorative DJ tables. While the promotion was costly, the afterparty was worth it.
Jamal Mashburn Pachycephalosaurus Hat
After an inadvertent headbutt from Chris Gatling opened a wound on Jamal Mashburn’s sizable cranium, Heat fans were given plastic caps approximating the size and shape of Mashburn’s prodigious noggin. These dinosaur hats now go for three figures on eBay, if you can find them.
Draw Your Own Shaquille O’Neal Goatee Mask
After Shaq accidentally shaved off his goatee during the 2004-05 season leaving him looking like the world’s biggest child, Miami Heat staffers worked day and night to create plaster likenesses of their superstar center. At the Heat’s next game, Shaq was greeted by thousands of fans sporting various facial hair styles and occasionally, as seen in this photo, plastic trash bags to commemorate Brian Grant’s tenure with the team.
Giant Antoine Walker Shimmy Burger
While Heat fans were at first upset with Antoine Walker for missing three games during the 2006-07 season with a sprained jaw (injured trying to eat the Ethel Burger in Morris, IL), their anger quickly subsided when the Heat provided replica burgers upon Walker’s return. The four pound burgers were handed out one per couple, so as not to waste food.
Juwan Howard Commemorative Compression Socks
To mark the occasion of Howard’s 37th birthday, each and every Miami Heat fan was given their very own pair of nude compression leggings. As you can see, even the team’s dancers sported the socks, in order to promote deep vein thrombosis awareness.
Mike Miller Neoprene Body Suit
Although it took until December of his first season with the team, Miami Heat fans were very excited for Mike Miller’s debut. To properly honor the event, the Heat gave the first 5,000 fans full-body neoprene suits, so that they could feel what is was like for Miller to play with so many braces on. As a special touch, each of Miller’s tattoos were screenprinted on the suits.
Dwyane Wade Migraine Glasses
Though his struggles with migraines caused some stress for Miami’s fans, the team found a way to make it fun, giving out thousands of pairs of replica Oakleys emblazoned with Wade’s eyes. In a tragic irony, a flaw in the design left the wearer with a migraine of their own and the Heat had to play an entire second round playoff game in the dark.
Chris Bosh Replica Man Girdle
I’m reticent to leak this, since their creation has been embargoed by the Heat’s PR people, but in a nod to completeness I feel safe in spilling the beans. Should the Miami Heat reach the NBA Finals, and should Chris Bosh return, each and every fan in AmericanAirlines Arena will be given an exact recreation of the girdle that Chris Bosh will be wearing to ease the pain from his strained abdominal muscles. Fans will be expected to wear these girdles over their clothes to show support — in more than one way — for their missing piece.