Miami Heat Donate Money from Intrasquad Scrimmage to Cancer Institute

There were no winners and losers on the court during the Miami Heat’s Red, White and Pink intrasquad scrimmage at the American Airlines Arena on Sunday. But there was one big winner off of it: the Miami Cancer institute. 

That’s because the team once again used the event to raise awareness and funds for cancer care and research. For the sixth year in a row, the Heat incorporated the color pink into the scrimmage to honor Breast Cancer Awareness Month. During introductions, each player—adorned in a special edition red, white and pink jersey—walked out with a breast cancer survivor.

“It hits home for our organization and so many people out there,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said, per the Miami Herald. “You either have somebody in your family or you know somebody who has been stricken by this type of cancer. In our organization, it really hits home because we have several wives and mothers that are survivors. So it’s something that we always really love to be able to celebrate, and also let everybody know that we’re still thinking about the ones that are battling this right now.

“It’s so important to us that we met about it as a team beforehand, particularly for the new players to understand why we do this and what a special night it is.”

Among those newcomers to receive the message was Meyers Leonard. The 7’1” center, who arrived in Miami by way of a July trade with the Portland Trail Blazers, logged 16 points and four rebounds in the scrimmage, during which players switched teams in order to play with different groupings.

“I think it’s incredible,” Meyers said, per the Associated Press. “It’s important that the team, the organization understand that people need that joy.”

For Justise Winslow, who’s entering his fifth season with the Heat, the cause has always hit particularly close to home. The Houston native’s family has been hit hard by breast cancer, losing his grandmother—who was a basketball player in her own right—and her three sisters to the disease.

"I look forward to this game every year," Justise said, per ABC10 in Miami. "It's just kind of crazy that I was drafted here and they do this breast cancer game.”

The Heat will open their preseason schedule on Tuesday against the San Antonio Spurs, and will begin the NBA regular season on October 23 at home against the Memphis Grizzlies.

 

Josh Martin is the Editorial Director of CloseUp360. He previously covered the NBA for Bleacher Report and USA Today Sports Media Group, and has written for Yahoo! Sports and Complex. He is also the co-host of the Hollywood Hoops podcast. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.