On Monday, Dec 2nd I got the fantastic opportunity to participate in Hublot’s Miami Heat “Insider Experience” at the American Airlines Arena. Now I’ve done a lot of cool things, but this definitely ranks up there on the list of awesome things I’ve had the chance to do.

Hublot watches have been the official timepiece for the Miami Heat since 2011 and planned this event to commemorate the three –year continuation of Dwyane Wade’s ambassadorship with the Swiss luxury brand.

My invitation said:

Wade and select Heat team members will host a press conference for invited guests to gain insight into the partnership between the luxury watch brand and the Heat. Immediately following, the players have invited you­­­ to participate in an exclusive basketball “clinic” in which you will have the opportunity to learn how to shoot hoops from the best — and then you will be able to show off your skills in a “scrimmage” against Heat players, legends and coaches.

Plus there was going to be a tour of the locker room. I was super excited!

I arrived at the arena at 1:30 with my photographer Brigette Hein and we were given a premium gym bag that contained Miami Heat swag. A security person then escorted us to a small press conference room where we joined the rest of the invited guests. I think there were about 30-35 of us total. In the press room, Ray Allen, Shane Battier and Dwyane Wade talked about Hublot, fashion, and their charities.

Watch as Ray Allen, and Shane Battier talk about their charities and show their appreciation for Hublot’s support.

A few minutes later, Wade enters the room and shares several insights about his fashion sense and his collaboration with Hublot.  Wade shares that he enjoyed traveling around the world as Hublot’s ambassador. He gained a new appreciation for watches after visiting Hublot’s Swiss factory and seeing the difficult and meticulous labor and details that go into making a Hublot watch. Here he is talking a bit about that experience:

The best part was when he answered my question. I asked him how Hublot watches connect to his personal style. See his answer here:

After the conference, they took all of us to the courts. We had the arena all to ourselves. We sat down in the first couple of rows, and that’s when the official voice of the Miami Heat, Michael Biamonte welcomed us to this event.

“Miami Staaaaaaaaaaaaaaand up and make some noiiiiiiiiiiiise for your Miamiiiiiiiiii Heeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaat”.

They put on quite the show! It was an elaborate presentation that included a performance by the Heat Dancers and a word by Miami Heat’s President and legendary NBA coach, Pat Riley. Incredible!

After that, they broke us up into seven groups, and we each went to a designated station to begin the basketball clinic. Ray Allen, Shane Battier, Juwan Howard, and Alonzo Mourning were our coaches!

My first station was with Shane, and he taught us how to do layups with the right and left hands. I’m proud to say that I made all of my shots and that my left is pretty decent! Shane was impressed.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have much luck at the free throw station with Ray Allen. My first two shots are on video, and though I was close, the ball just wouldn’t go in. Ultimately I made one….but just my luck… no video. In my defense, it’s very intimidating having an NBA Champion watch you as you shoot a ball!   There was a lot of pressure! And in my second shot, they had the timer on, and it was ticking down. I had to shoot at the buzzard!

First attempt:

Second attempt:

Did I mention I made all my layup shots?

I can’t even really begin to express just how awesome these guys are. Obviously they’re talented, but Allen, Howard, Battier, and Mourning are the absolute sweetest! They took the time to teach us things; they smiled in endless photos with everyone, they joked around with us, were patient, and were just incredibly pleasant to be around.

After the clinic each player took a group of us on a tour of the locker room. I was in Shane’s group and he was so funny! The locker room is a lot smaller than I thought but cool. We didn’t get to walk into their gym, but it has a glass wall, and we were able to see inside. It turns out they only need to lift weights twice a week.

After the tour, I didn’t want to leave. I was having such a phenomenal time.

Check out my picture slideshow. More pictures to come soon!

Overall, this was truly a phenomenal experience. I’m so thankful that Hublot invited me.  A very special thank you also to my friend and talented photographer Brigette Hein who captured so many incredible moments of our Miami Heat experience. Visit her website at 50frames.com.

I wrote about this event for the examiner, and there are few extra images there.You can read that article here.

What a day!!