Kaboom: 30 years of Miami Heat Basketball traditions

SAN ANTONIO,TX - DECEMBER 06: Erik Spoelstra head coach of the Miami Heat argues a call with official Lauren Holtkamp during game against the San Antonio Spurs at AT
SAN ANTONIO,TX - DECEMBER 06: Erik Spoelstra head coach of the Miami Heat argues a call with official Lauren Holtkamp during game against the San Antonio Spurs at AT /

The Miami Heat are celebrating their 30th anniversary this season.

Buzzer beaters are among the most iconic moments in basketball.

Over the ball’s seconds long flight path to the basket, an arenas-worth of people are captivated, awaiting the fate of a last-ditch leap towards victory. Immortalized in highlight reels, game-winning shots are immediately identifiable, putting the punctuation mark on regular season games and championships alike.

The Miami Heat have a fair share of game-winning shots over its 30-year history. But beyond last-second shots, the organization has also been defined by memorable plays ranging from emphatic blocks to full-court alley-oops, all of which add to the Heat’s winning culture.

Just as important as these in-game events, the organization is rife with non-basketball nuances that build the Miami’s character. Inspired by Shea Serrano’s piece at The Ringer, here’s a look at some of the Heat’s most quintessential moments that have nothing to do with putting the ball through the hoop.

Jason Jackson: “It’s time to ball, y’all!”

Sideline reporters, for better or worse, are ubiquitous with the NBA. From before tip-off to the final buzzer, they are tasked with interviewing and asking (admittedly) mundane questions, that rarely inspire more than mundane player responses.

Jason Jackson, better known as Jax to Heat Nation, brings his upbeat demeanor to each of his broadcasts, drawing in Heat players with his cordial interview style. But even before Jackson hits courtside, he christens each Heat game with his signature phrase, “It’s time to ball y’all!”

Jackson’s introduction to Heat games has become so entwined with the team that Swagg Rags has produced a monogram towel emblazoned with the call. With proceeds going to the Jax Fam Foundation, Jackson has left his indelible print in the lead up to some of the Heat’s contests.


That’s right, Coach. No, not head coach Erik Spoelstra, but Color Commentator Tony Fiorentino. Play-by-play announcer and voice of the Miami Heat, Eric Reid, undoubtedly refers to his commentary partner singularly as “Coach,” in recognition of his years of service to the Miami Heat. He began as an assistant coach during the Heat’s inaugural 1988-89 season.

Fiorentino and Reid share years of memories from the booth, broadcasting all three of Miami’s title runs. Though Fiorentino is slated to retire from television at the season’s end, Coach’s presence helped build the ever-passionate Heat fanbase, around recognition of one of Miami’s original Heat Lifers.

“Twoooooo Minutes! Dos!”

President Pat Riley and owner Mickey Arison have instilled in the Heat an aura of respect and commitment, on and off the court. Last season, James Johnson praised the Heat for revitalizing his career after buying into their nutrition system. He recalled taking before and after pictures to track his progress and seeing those of Heat players in the past, helped motivate him to improve his conditioning.

"“I ran through their iPad magazine. It was like a magazine, their iPad, their own accomplishments with other players and I saw it with my own eyes. And from the point I saw that iPad, I wanted to change myself.”"

This level of commitment however, extends past the painted lines and hardwood of the AmericanAirlines Arena, right to the staff that have become mainstays with visitors to South Beach. Michael Baiamonte, the public address voice, has spent the last 27 years as a Heat staple, announcing the introductions to greats like Tim Hardaway, Alonzo Mourning and Dwyane Wade.

More importantly however, Baiamonte is responsible for the Heat’s instantly-recognizable, “Two minutes, Dos!” call at the two-minute mark of each quarter. A simple nod to the Latin population that calls Miami home, Baiamonte’s booming vocals continue to inspire Heat players and fans, who look forward to his raucous introductions and cheerleading.


Another steadfast symbol of the Miami Heat is Eric Reid’s callout of big shots with a single “Kaboom,” has graced the ears of Heat fans for decades. Originally taken from Neil Funk’s radio broadcast of Chicago Bulls games, Reid and his then-partner Jack Ramsay used the exclamation as a shout-out to a Chicago transplant who missed hearing the Bulls’ broadcasts while working in Miami.

"“This one particular guy, Jack found out he was a big Bulls fan, never went to a game and he said he absolutely loved listening to the Chicago Bulls on radio.” Reid continued, “As soon as he said that my interest got piqued. I’m like, ‘Why do you like listening on the radio so much?’ And his answer was, ‘Because the announcer says kaboom.’”"

Thus, a Heat mainstay was born. With Heat guard Wayne Ellington having one of the best shooting seasons of his career from 3-point land, Heat Nation can surely look forward to a healthy amount of kabooms all season long.

Among 30 seasons of Heat traditions there are an innumerable amount of moments left unmentioned. Who could forget arena favorite Biscayne Birdman? Or the part-awkward, part-hilarious Chris Bosh video-bombs, that was recently revitalized in Mexico City? What about the fun-loving and over-the-top bench reactions, or the ironclad sun sculpture at the center of the Heat’s jumbotron display?

Next: Miami Heat with the upset of the night over the Boston Celtics, 90-89

Ultimately, the Miami Heat culture is more than the last second buckets and standing on scorer’s tables. It’s an amazing mixture of loyalty, entertainment and fan engagement, that has become synonymous with South Florida.