HEAT Academy: History


The first HEAT Academy site was established at Paul L. Dunbar Elementary in the historic Overtown district of Miami.


Our second HEAT Academy site was unveiled at Little River Elementary (now called Jesse J. McCrary, Jr. Elementary School) which resides in the Little Haiti area of Miami.


Our third HEAT Academy site to date opened its doors at Riverside Elementary & Community School in the Little Havana area of Miami. The grand opening was attended by then Commissioner of Education and current Governor of Florida, Charlie Crist.


Carnival Cruise Lines, in an event attended by Kendrick Meek, member of the United States House of Representatives, announces the kickoff of their Carnival Scholarships to benefit HEAT Academy students. The scholarship program provides fifteen (15) fully paid college scholarships annually to deserving HEAT Academy students upon graduation. The annual scholarship monies are donated by Carnival Cruise Lines with a match from the Florida Prepaid College Foundation.


The Miami HEAT is named the 2004-05 winner of the Florida Education Commissioner’s Business Recognition Award for HEAT Academy. Each year the Commissioner of Education recognizes worthy business partners for their commitment to improving the academic performance of Florida school students and for their outstanding public service. The Business Recognition Awards program verifies the interest and dedication of businesses that want to make a difference in education. Specifically, the program honors those organizations that work with their local school districts to increase high student achievement, promote greater government efficiency, and strive for a safe learning environment -- three goals of the Florida Department of Education.


Riverside Elementary becomes the first HEAT Academy site to achieve an “A” status on their FCAT School Grade. Riverside Elementary made gradual, but steady gains over the years since the inception of HEAT Academy – improving from a “D” in 2001 to a “C” in 2002 and then a “B” in 2005 before eventually achieving “A” status in 2006.


The Miami HEAT receives the John I. Smith Award for its HEAT Academy after school educational initiatives by the Miami-Dade Coalition for Community Education at the 2008 School House Awards ceremony. The John I. Smith Award, which was named after a founding coalition member, is given to the person or organization that exemplifies support of “community education through overwhelming generosity, outstanding resources, visionary educational solutions to social challenges and unwavering commitment to the welfare of students and families.” The School House Awards are held yearly to recognize educational and community advocates who demonstrate exemplary support of community education.


As part of the 2011 NBA Finals, the Miami HEAT unveiled a new Learn & Play Center at Paul Laurence Dunbar Elementary School on Wednesday, June 1, 2011, which provides students with a safe place to play and state-of-the-art technology to help them explore their educational interests. The Center was renovated as part of the NBA Cares Community Caravan.

HEAT players were on hand to help the boys and girls cut the ribbon on their transformed space, which showcased a reading area stocked with new books, a play space featuring gaming equipment, and a technology area outfitted with brand-new PCs and printers. The Center also features new flooring, tables, cabinets, desks, chairs, and bookcases.


The Miami HEAT hosted its ninth annual Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration at Riverside Elementary School in Little Havana on October 13, 2014. Presented by Pepsi and supported by Florida Blue and FOX Sports Sun, the celebration got HEAT fans at Riverside Elementary fired up for the 2014-15 season with the raising of the first HEAT Nation flag. Riverside Elementary, a predominantly Hispanic school, is one of three HEAT Academy school sites and also commemorated its 100-year anniversary as part of the event. Members of the 2014-15 HEAT team interacted with over 800 students in a series of fun activities, including basketball drills, kickball, boxball and field day games. In addition to raising the inaugural HEAT National flag, the players joined the students in painting a unique HEAT Nation mural.


The Miami HEAT kicked off the 2017-18 school year in Miami-Dade County by welcoming back the students and teachers at Jesse J. McCrary, Jr. Elementary School on Monday, August 21st, 2017. HEAT players distributed school supplies and served breakfast to students as they entered the school cafeteria. The HEAT Experience then hosted a pep rally courtesy of Alert Today Alive Tomorrow, a program of the Florida Department of Transportation. Over the course of two years, the students at Jesse J. McCrary, Jr. Elementary School increased their proficiency in reading, math, and science on the FSA and FCAT, earning its first ever B grade during the 2016-2017 school year.

2017-18 HEAT Holiday Hospital Visits

The Miami HEAT players, Burnie the mascot, and the HEAT Dancers spread holiday joy to children at two South Florida hospitals with the help of presenting sponsor FedEx and supporting sponsor FOX Sports Sun
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2017-18 HEAT Holiday Hospital Visits

The Miami HEAT players, Burnie the mascot, and the HEAT Dancers spread holiday joy to children at two South Florida hospitals with the help of presenting sponsor FedEx and supporting sponsor FOX Sports Sun
Dec 6, 2017  |  01:58

HEAT Learn to Swim Video Recap

Wayne Ellington surprises young swimmers at A.D. Barnes Park Pool as part of the Miami HEAT Learn to Swim program
Jul 20, 2017  |  01:04

Winslow YMCA PSA

Justise Winslow encourages the community to get in the game with the YMCA Youth Sports.
Jan 11, 2017  |  00:52

Alonzo & Tracy Mourning Thanksgiving Surprise

Alonzo and Tracy Mourning help unburden folks in Overtown by surprising them with Thanksgiving meals
Nov 26, 2016  |  01:45

2016 Thanksgiving Celebration Recap

25th Annual Thanksgiving celebration recap
Nov 17, 2016  |  01:36

19th Annual Miami HEAT Family Festival Recap

The HEAT host host the 19th Annual Miami HEAT Family Festival, presented by Carnival Cruise Lines, an interactive celebration benefitting local South Florida charities and the Miami HEAT Charitable Fund.
Mar 25, 2016  |  01:42

7th Annual HEAT Beach Sweep Recap

The Miami HEAT host its 7th Annual HEAT Beach Sweep at Crandon Park in Key Biscayne
Feb 22, 2016  |  01:32

Bosh and Riley visit Fisher House

Chris Bosh and Pat Riley celebrate the holidays with families at Fisher House Miami
Jan 8, 2016  |  01:35

Player Holiday Events

The Miami HEAT host holiday events.
Dec 25, 2015  |  01:38

Holiday PSA

Miami HEAT Players and coaching staff give back to the community during the Holiday season
Dec 23, 2015  |  01:01

Zo's 33 Thanksgivings

Alonzo Mourning distributes over 400 meals at the Overtown Youth Center
Nov 30, 2015  |  01:53

HEAT Thanksgiving Celebration Recap

HEAT host 24th Annual Thanksgiving Celebration
Nov 23, 2015  |  01:51

HEAT Go “Back to School” at Dillard Elementary

Amar’e Stoudemire and the HEAT kicked off the 2015-16 school year by distributing school supplies to students at Dillard Elementary
Aug 24, 2015  |  00:19

Heat Academy End of Year Celebration

HEAT Academy host End-of-Year celebration
May 21, 2015  |  01:36

Chris Bosh Holiday Giveaway

Chris Bosh provides free shopping for 150 children
Dec 22, 2012  |  01:40

Winslow Gives Back To Families Impacted By Hurricane Harvey

In his hometown of Houston, Justise Winslow meets two families who received new cars from his $50K contribution to Small Steps Nurturing in support of Hurricane Harvey relief efforts
Jan 21, 2018  |  00:54

McGruder Invites Children Battling Cancer To HEAT Game

Rodney McGruder invites children with cancer to a HEAT game during the holiday season
Dec 27, 2017  |  00:35

Hassan Whiteside Hosts Toy Drive

Hassan Whiteside and The Whiteside Foundation host a Toy Drive for children across Miami–Dade County at Ninja Lounge
Dec 24, 2017  |  00:59

Udonis Haslem Hosts Christmas Honor Roll Event

Udonis Haslem hosts his 7th Annual Christmas Honor Roll Event at a Toys R Us in Miami
Dec 24, 2017  |  00:57

Olynyk Visits Riverside Elementary School

Kelly Olynyk visits Riverside Elementary School to spread holiday cheer
Dec 23, 2017  |  00:58

Winslow Hosts D.R.E.A.M. Holiday Showcase

Justise Winslow hosts his second annual D.R.E.A.M. Talent Showcase to provide a safe & creative platform for local students to perform, develop and discover their talents in the performing arts.
Dec 23, 2017  |  01:02

Josh Richardson Hosts Holiday Shopping Spree

Josh Richardson treats a group of children, who have each lost a loved one while serving our country, to a shopping spree at DICK’S Sporting Goods.
Dec 23, 2017  |  00:45

26th Annual Thanksgiving Celebration

The Miami HEAT hosts the 26th Annual HEAT Thanksgiving Celebration on Tuesday, Nov. 21 at the Miami Rescue Mission (MRM)
Nov 23, 2017  |  01:31

HEAT Week: Papa John's Takeover Recap (10/17/17)

To honor of all their sacrifices after Hurricane Irma, the Miami HEAT Dancers, Burnie and the Xtreme Team delivers Papa John’s Pizza to a local fire and police station.
Oct 19, 2017  |  00:47

HEAT Week: Tamiami Youth Basketball League All-Star Game Recap (10/14/17)

As part of our Jr. HEAT NBA initiative, the HEAT Experience took over the Tamiami Youth Basketball League All-Star Game Saturday afternoon. The Miami HEAT Dancers, Burnie and Xtreme Team hosted a pep rally at the game including HEAT giveaways, prizes and more.
Oct 16, 2017  |  00:58

12th Annual Hispanic Heritage Celebration

The Miami HEAT hosted its 12th Annual Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration at Doral Legacy Park presented by Mountain Dew and supported by Florida Blue, FOX Sports Sun and Verizon
Oct 4, 2017  |  00:48

Miami HEAT 2017 Back-To-School

Miami HEAT 2017 Back to School presented by Alert Today Alive Tomorrow, a program of the Florida Department of Transportation along with HEAT rookies Bam Adebayo, Matt Williams Jr. and Derrick Walton Jr. helped welcome back teachers and students Monday morning at Jesse J. McCrary Jr. Elementary School.
Aug 22, 2017  |  01:38

Kelly Olynyk Visits HEAT Camp

Take a look back at Kelly Olynyk's visit to HEAT Camp on Wednesday
Aug 10, 2017  |  01:28

The Miami HEAT and the Kiwanis Club Scholarship

The Kiwanis Club of Little Havana Foundation received $10,000 towards a student scholarship fund from the Miami HEAT.
Jul 28, 2017  |  01:24

Justise Winslow at HEAT Camp

Winslow discusses rehab.
Jul 27, 2017  |  04:45