MIAMI, January 31 – The 2013-14 season marks the 11th year the Miami HEAT will pay tribute to Black History Month with a comprehensive campaign spanning multiple media platforms and outlets. Pepsi is the presenting sponsor of the Black HistoryMonth initiative. The HEAT will present a series of vignettes focusing on the notable achievements of various African-Americans who have helped change the course of history with their contributions in sports, literature, the arts, the community, education, science, music and the military. In addition, the Fifth Annual Black History Month Challenge presented by Pepsi, will be hosted at AmericanAirlines Arena on February 24th. Students from two local schools—Booker T Washington Sr. High School and McArthur High school—will compete against each another by answering Black History trivia questions. HEAT legend Alonzo Mourning will join HEAT Television Host and Courtside Reporter Jason Jackson at the event. The winning school will be given a $4,000 educational grant courtesy of the Miami HEAT Charitable Fund.
The vignettes feature HEAT players, executives, and coaches telling the stories of heroes and heroic events, saluting the significant sacrifices required by so many in becoming a part of the collective history and fabric of our nation. Sun Sports will air each of the vignettes in its pre-game, halftime, and post-game segments throughout February, with the United States Marine Corps joining as a national broadcast sponsor for several of the stories. The vignettes will also be highlighted as part of the HEAT experience—online, in-arena, and in print as featured in TIPOFF magazine.
Included among the 20 subjects that will be featured in the month-long tribute are sports figures such as Frank Robinson, Satchel Paige, Joe Louis, Serena and Venus Williams and the World Famous Harlem Globetrotters. Legendary comedian Bill Cosby and groundbreaking guitarist Jimi Hendrix are among the many performing artists to be honored. The HEAT also will recognize several important groups and figures in the proud tradition of the American Armed Forces. President Pat Riley will pay tribute to Branch Rickey, the former general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers who helped pave the way for the entrance of black athletes in all of sports when he signed Jackie Robinson to play professional baseball in 1946.
HEAT legend Alonzo Mourning, who has personally invested so much of his time, energy and resources to help inspire and assist those in need throughout the South Florida community, takes us through the historical journey of Overtown, a once burgeoning business and entertainment district that continues its efforts to recover and rebuild.
In addition to the vignettes, Sun Sports will feature a pair of Black History pioneers as part of the Making a Difference feature, which isalso presented by the United States Marine Corps. The features will unite figures from past and present who made similarly significant contributions to historical fabric of African American history.
As they have in each of the last eight years, the HEAT will make the video vignettes available to all schools in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties through a partnership with BECON and WLRN, both of whom provide educational programming to schools in those districts.
The team will also make available on its website and to the schools a pair of pieces with players and coaches reading key passages from the famed “I Have a Dream” speech, delivered by the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial as part of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom—an event whose 50th anniversary was celebrated around the nation this past August.
A complete list of the subjects and those HEAT players and coaches who relay the stories, is included below.