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2023 NBA Finals Media Day: Top Quotes From The Miami Heat


Photo: Miami Heat/Twitter

Top quotes from the Miami Heat at 2023 NBA Finals Media Day.

(via ASAP Sports): 

Cody Zeller

Reporter: “I was talking to Bobby Jones, the former Nugget. I guess you two guys are really close. Talk about your relationship and how you got to know him in Charlotte?”

Zeller: “We’re really close. Actually I’m getting married in August, and Bobby is going to be one of my groomsmen. We’re that close. He was one of the first people that reached out to me when I got drafted in Charlotte my rookie year. I didn’t know a single person in Charlotte, 20 years old, moving away from home, and him and his wife, Tess, cooked me home-cooked meals once a week when I was in Charlotte. We played tennis together, ping-pong, board games. We’d do all kinds of stuff. He’s become really good for me, as well, just because he’s been — he’s won a championship, he’s a Hall of Famer, but he also kind of puts things into perspective of there’s more to life than just basketball, as well.”

Gabe Vincent

Reporter: “Gabe, you are the most compelling story of the season, the way you’re playing, and the important role that you have for the team, and of course being in the Finals is a special situation. How would you summarize this season and how you achieved this goal to be here?”

Vincent: “This season has been interesting. We’ve had highs. We’ve had lows. Obviously we’ve made a push from the 8 seed to the Finals. We’ve showed a lot of resilience, a lot of persistence, a lot of belief in one another, and we’re just excited for the opportunity that’s ahead.”

Max Strus

Reporter: “Max, Kenny Smith has this great saying, he says, coaches can’t give you confidence but they can take your confidence away. I wonder with Spo with you guys, it just seems like no matter who’s on the floor, everybody is supremely confident. I wonder if that comes from the physical challenge that you have to do to play for the Miami Heat, the mental challenge of having to be versatile to play for the Miami Heat, or if he articulates that in any way that makes players feel very confident when they’re on the floor?”

Strus: “I think he gives the belief in you by putting you out there. We all come from two-ways or undrafted guys. So, the ability to get the opportunity to play shows that he believes in you the most, in the fullest. It trickles down from our star players guys like Bam, Jimmy, Kyle. They believe in everybody in our lineup, that we can go out there and help win games and win at a high level. To have the trust from them and the coaching staff, [it] just trickles down and has us be the most belief in ourselves, and it’s a special thing. It’s a really special thing to be a part of, and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”

Erik Spoelstra

Reporter: “I don’t know exactly what year you moved to Portland. But you’ve been in so many NBA Finals in one way or another. If I can take you back to when you were a kid, a teenager, and they were just something that you watched on TV, what was the one that you remember, thinking, I want to be there, I want to be on that stage one day?”

Spoelstra: “I didn’t really think about it like that because back then, I was still thinking, hey, I’m going to play in the league. I definitely wasn’t thinking, I want to be Jack Ramsay. I was scared of him. The story has been told many times, but I probably had a little bit more awareness, I’m going nowhere as a player, and when Rick Adelman was the coach — Jack Ramsay was the first image I had of a head coach. He was the coach of our team. As I got older in high school and college, it was Rick. I just loved the way he operated. He’s been a big mentor to me, so the Adelman kids, including David, and I’ve known David since he was probably 3, we were all running around the facility. But that’s probably when I followed them the most, was when they made those two Finals runs.”

Duncan Robinson

Reporter: “There’s a lot of veterans on both sides in this series, but specifically for you guys with Kyle, what kind of value does he bring to the locker room leadership-wise and what is his intensity like on a day-to-day basis?”

Robinson: “Kyle brings a ton of experience, obviously, from a years-in-the-league standpoint and also playoff experience and somebody who’s held that trophy at the end. It’s a huge luxury to have somebody like that in the locker room. Obviously I share the court with him a lot, kind of in that second group. He just can come in and just change the whole rhythm and flow of a game. His impact is so much more than what you see in a box score or what shows up in terms of maybe the game film. He’s a trusted leader, somebody that we all kind of count on. I think he does a really good job of navigating that line between discipline and holding people accountable while also maintaining a certain sense of humor and levity to it, as well. He’s been huge for us, for sure.”

Caleb Martin

Reporter: “When the leader of your team, okay, he was drafted, but drafted 30th. Can you kind of relate to that, your group of undrafted players, that your leader in a way went through that?”

Martin: “For sure. I talk about that all the time. We’ve got the leader, the head of the snake of our team, got drafted 30th. He wasn’t a lottery pick or anything like that. His path to get to where he is is very similar to a lot of ours. He was very overlooked coming up, even through high school and college and those type of things. He didn’t have all the five stars and all the Kentuckys and Carolinas going after him. Looking at a guy like that, he definitely gives you hope, and also just puts it in perspective that it’s about the long game; it’s not about having everything at once. It might take some people two, three years, might take some people nine years. But just sticking with it and continuing to perfect your craft can put you in a great position.”

Kyle Lowry

Reporter: “Kyle, so much is made about this team’s resilience and especially this year because of the run you’ve gone on as an 8 seed. How would you define Heat culture? Because it’s one thing for us to talk about it and write about it, but as someone in it, what separates this organization from others?”

Lowry: “I think we just don’t care about what others think. I think we do what we do no matter what. I think we work hard no matter the time, the place, the situation. I think we prepare ourselves, and we’re well-prepared to go into any situation no matter where it is, what time, anything. We’re prepared to do it. The culture is just about believing, and we believe in what we do every single day, every night, the work we put in.”

Kevin Love

Reporter: “What was it like to have to not play as much down the stretch of the Boston series?”

Love: “I mean, it made perfect sense to me honestly. I obviously was eager, wanted to play, kept myself ready. At the same time those matchups, how they took Williams out of the starting lineup, decided to go small, that’s how kind of it goes into matchups, that’s how it works within the Playoffs. I felt I made my impact in at least the first two games, maybe one quarter before I had gotten hurt there. Again, just continued to be there for my teammates, be a vocal leader, keep it light between UD, Kyle and myself, just teach these guys, help them kind of grasp where we’re at, as well. I think the beauty of it is you get to reset the deck, figure out what the matchups are going to look like in this series. Again, this is a great group to be a cheerleader for.”

Haywood Highsmith

Reporter: “You’ve been with the Heat for about a year and a half now, and obviously a lot has been made about the undrafted guys who have contributed to this roster. What’s so special about the player development programs in Miami that allow you guys to be so successful? What’s special about Spo and Pat and all the other guys?”

Highsmith: “Yeah, they see something in us that nobody else saw in us as undrafted guys, kind of like hidden gems. They believe in us, and they do a great job with developing us and taking us up under their wing and just making us be the best players we can be. They just do a great job all around.”

Udonis Haslem

Reporter: “Don’t you think you are kind of like another assistant coach still almost?”

Haslem: “No, no. The impact that I have with these guys is because I’m not a coach, because I can practice with these guys, because I can go through the drills, because I can go through the grueling hours, understand all of that. That’s why I have the impact. The reverse part of that, what people don’t understand, if I’m out of shape, not capable of keeping up, they don’t listen to me. I have been able to set the tone, compete at a high level for these guys to understand or respect what I’m saying.”

Jimmy Butler

Reporter: “Obviously you’re the head of the snake; through all of the adversity that you guys have faced this season, how have you personally taken it on as a responsibility to get the team to believe through all of it?”

Butler: “I’m just — I would like to say that I’m never rattled. I’m very calm. I’m very consistent in everything that I do, whether it’s before the game, after the game, during the game, and I think when my guys look at me like that, they follow suit in every single way. I love that about them because they’re never shook. No matter what. We could be down, people can think that we’re out, and all of a sudden we’re right back in this thing and it’s because we do the same thing every day. We love being around each other. We want to see each other succeed. We really do enjoy when each other play well, and we’re going to continue to do that, never going to get rattled, and we’re going to see where we end up.”

Bam Adebayo

Reporter: “Spo said that there’s no stopper when it comes to Jokic, that you’ve got to throw bodies at him, throw different looks at him, but you match up, or at least you do during the regular season. How much do you think that the challenge is on you to stay in front of him and limit him?”

Adebayo: “Make him take tough shots, force him into tough shots, and live with the result. That’s the biggest thing for me. I feel like this is one of those series where he becomes very dangerous when you let his teammates get involved, and he can make those incredible passes and end up with 12 assists.”

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