Osama Bin Laden Killed: Miami Heat Reaction

2 May

For the Miami Heat, one national anthem performer will not be enough Tuesday night.

They want thousands.

Breaking from tradition, the Heat will not have anyone brought in to sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” before Game 2 of their Eastern Conference playoff series with the Boston Celtics on Tuesday night. Instead, the Heat are encouraging fans to be the singers, making that change less than one day following the announcement that al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden was killed by U.S. forces in Pakistan.

“It was a powerful moment — for all of us,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said of Sunday night’s news that captivated the nation.

The Heat have honored soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan at home games for several seasons, and say Tuesday’s game will include an enhanced military tribute. Members of the armed services will unfurl the 50-foot American flag at center court during the anthem, a job typically handled by Heat employees.

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Henry Hernandez, along with his wife Julie and their children Alexa and Matthew will be honored before the game, part of the “Home Strong” program Heat President Pat Riley founded five years ago. Hundreds of soldiers have been recognized in brief pregame ceremonies at midcourt just before tip-off of every Miami home game since the program was born.

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