Earlier this week the NBA announced they would be the first American Pro sports league traveling to Cuba. But one NBA team isn’t expected to participate, the Miami Heat.
The NBA will hold a developmental camp in Cuba beginning April 23rd, for a 4-day camp. The Miami Heat won’t be involved because of the sensitivity of diplomatic relations with Cuba. If you recall the firestorm that ignited a few years back when then-Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen complimented Fidel Castro, you can begin to understand the position the Heat face.
The decision to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba has been extremely unpopular with Cuban Americans, who are a prominent part of the Miami’s population. This might be why the Miami Heat are hesitant to participate in any camps the NBA might host in Cuba. Not to mention the organization was completely blindsided by the NBA.
Heat officials learned of the story via news reports, and were dumbfounded that the league would not have first spoken, at least as a courtesy, to the one franchise actually affected by any NBA/Cuba relationship.
Heat owner Micky Arison and club president Pat Riley declined a Miami Herald interview request Wednesday, but another team executive told us, “The NBA never consulted with us. This was undertaken unilaterally. The minute we found out we registered our vehement objection to the league office. Neither the Heat nor any personnel will be participating.” […]
Obviously with Miami being an hour flight from Cuba, it makes sense to get them on board, but offending a part of your fan base is a huge risk. Quite an interesting position the Heat are faced with.