HEAT Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month at Bucky Dent Park

Hialeah, FL – To recognize the impact of the Hispanic community on the U.S., specifically in South Florida, the Miami HEAT players and the HEAT Experience, including the Xtreme Team, HEAT Dancers and mascot Burnie, visited Bucky Dent Park in Hialeah to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 42.7 millions Hispanics in the United States, making people of Hispanic origin the nation’s largest ethnic or race minority. Hispanics make up 14 percent of the nation’s total population and Miami has one of the largest Hispanic influences in the United States.

“South Florida has one of the largest Hispanic communities in the United States and thus, the Miami HEAT proudly boasts the largest Hispanic season ticket fan base in the NBA,” said Eric Woolworth, President of The HEAT Group’s Business Operations. “Since our inception in 1988, the HEAT has engaged the Hispanic community and we’re delighted to partner with the City of Hialeah to celebrate such an important event.”

HEAT players Dwyane Wade, Alonzo Mourning, Jason Williams, Earl Barron, Mark Blount, Daequan Cook, Devin Green, Penny Hardaway and Alexander Johnson took advantage of Bucky Dent Park’s amusement park-like amenities that features a water park, softball fields, a basketball court and a game room. Additionally, Univision Radio’s WQBA promotional van and the La Kalle Hummer were also in attendance.

The day was filled with fun, prizes, music, food and activities. Many kids had a chance to show their skills on the court while getting instruction from HEAT players. One of the team’s latest additions, Mark Blount, made his first public appearance as a member of the HEAT and helped run drills for the aspiring NBA stars.

“I have always been fond of the city of Miami, so I am aware of the impact of the Hispanic community in this area,” said the recently acquired Blount. “As an opposing player coming into the AmericanAirlines Arena, you can see the Latin flair in much of what the HEAT does. It’s great that we’re coming out to Hialeah to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and it’s even greater that we’re out having a good time with kids.”

While some kids were getting lessons from HEAT players on the hardwood, other kids were schooling HEAT players in the game room. Many youths had a chance to compete against HEAT players in Nintendo Wii, ping pong and Connect Four, among other games. And for many of the HEAT players, such as superstar Dwyane Wade, their play ended up on the other end of the highlight reel.

“They made me look bad out there,” said Wade, who had it handed to him in Connect Four and ping-pong by youngsters. “They had a solid game plan and great execution. Even though I lost – a lot – I had a lot of fun.”

Did You Know?

In September 1968, Congress authorized President Lyndon B. Johnson to proclaim National Hispanic Heritage Week. The observance was expanded in 1988 to a month long celebration (Sept. 15 – Oct. 15). America celebrates the culture and traditions of U.S. residents who trace their roots to Spain, Mexico and the Spanish-speaking nations of Central America, South America and the Caribbean. Sept. 15 was chosen as the starting point for the celebration because it is the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on Sept. 16 and Sept. 18, respectively.*
*Obtained by the U.S. Census Bureau