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Winderman: Heat not hosting your ordinary training camp

Sep 28, 2010, 7:51 PM EDT

Heat_huddle.jpgSo how do you get to the Heat’s secluded training camp in the Florida Panhandle?

Well, from most places, you get there by connecting through Atlanta.

And then, from the airport, you get there by driving past one Waffle House, then another, and then another.

But that actually doesn’t get you anywhere, at least not onto Hurlburt Field, the Air Force installation the Heat is calling home this week.

No, instead, if you’re with the media, you pull across the street to a dirt road by the paintball field and await a school bus that takes you inside the gate.

Inside, the massive complex has the feel of a college campus, albeit one with vintage jets and helicopters featured along the front gate.

But this is no ordinary campus.

So from the school bus you are ushered into a waiting room.

From there, there is one bathroom break. Women line up first, then the men.

Even though the rest room is mere steps away.

You never lose sight of where you are.

And don’t even think about misplacing your security badge, the one received only after your secret, personal code is entered.

From there, the courteous staff escorts the media into the gym, where it waits until it is eventually escorted back out.

No this is not Palm Beach Community College or Florida International University or the University of Miami, places where the Heat previously has held training camp.

And it’s certainly not the Jewish Community Center just north of Miami, where the senior citizens would walk on the track above as then-coach Ron Rothstein would attempt to conduct practice below.

But it is a unique and refreshing change of pace from what typically is experienced at this time of year.

And invigorating.

Because even with this talented a cast, training camp still is training camp, where the Patrick Beverleys, Kenny Hasbroucks and Shavlik Randolphs take rotations with the regulars.

To see how much hosting the Heat meant to those on the base was to experience what sports were intended to be all along.

A welcomed relief.

In a unique season, the Heat has offered a unique way to start.

And the waffles aren’t half bad, either.

Ira Winderman writes regularly for NBCSports.com and covers the Heat and the NBA for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. You can follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/IraHeatBeat.

  1. Dasher - Sep 28, 2010 at 10:11 PM

    Good lord… what a horrible article. I guess you forgot why you were actually at media day…Is this what we have to look forward to this season from writers? What’s next? Lebron used a spork to eat his lunch instead of a fork? Why don’t you just ask them “If you were a tree what kind of tree would you be?”

  2. belinda - Sep 29, 2010 at 12:52 AM

    Agree. From the writing, I assume the writer is a very young sportswriter who never has been near a military installation. Did he really think he could just cruise through the gate of Hurlburt Field, where Special Operations Command (Special Forces) is headquartered? And to mention waffle houses instead of beaches. . . Did he drive from Atlanta when he could have flown in to the Regional Airport, which is located on Eglin Air Force Base property? Oh dear. What a limited view(point).

  3. rob - Sep 29, 2010 at 7:49 AM

    Nice style of writing, but it doesn’t hit home
    Is this an article, or supposed to be a poem?
    Do you like green eggs and ham, Sam I am?
    You’ve never heard of paragraphs
    That gives us laughs
    And waffles.

  4. King James - Sep 29, 2010 at 8:19 AM

    I woke up this morning.
    Brushed my teeth.
    Took a shower.
    Got dressed.
    Left my house through the side door.
    Got in my car and drove to work.
    It wasn’t the usual morning drive as there was fog in the area.
    I listened to the radio hearing traffic reports and weather updates.
    When I arrived I exited my car carrying my cell phone and lunch, I entered the building.
    It is a typical day and like all other weekdays I was someplace I would rather not be but grateful that I am here.
    I think my story has better legs than this piece of garbage LeWinderman posted. You are a sports reporter, write something about sports.

  5. terry - Sep 29, 2010 at 9:38 AM

    Let me make sure I got this right – This guy actually gets PAID to write like this?
    Where do I sign up?

  6. terry - Sep 29, 2010 at 11:12 AM

    You have to go through all this nonsense just to be admitted into the august presence of the miami heat bball team.
    They are entertainers, and that is ALL they are. They rely TOTALLY on the gullibility of ticket-buyers.
    I HAVE A DREAM – There will come a day when they come running out on the court and there is NOBODY in the stands. (I know it will never happen)
    Remember folks – It is a three way deal – the public pays for the tickets, the owners use that money to pay the players. If the public STOPS buying tickets …..
    Does anyone honestly believe that the players OR the owners really give a s..t about the ticket-buying public?
    One more thing and I’m out of here. I have NOT forgiven mlb for the 1994 strike, and the reason is simple – they never said they were sorry.
    As long as the suckers keep buying tickets nothing is going to change.

  7. lebron sucks - Sep 29, 2010 at 11:37 AM

    lebron sucks hes a whimp !!!!!!!!!!!

  8. he's paid... you are not... - Sep 29, 2010 at 1:11 PM

    I love it when folks who don’t have the talent to write or play basketball come down so much on those who do. Grow up. Go and critic something you actual know about… or get some brains. Y’all are so stupid you can’t even comprehend that this is about more than just what the day looked like.

  9. he's paid... you are not... - Sep 29, 2010 at 1:12 PM

    I love it when folks who don’t have the talent to write or play basketball come down so much on those who do. Grow up. Go and critic something you actual know about… or get some brains. Y’all are so stupid you can’t even comprehend that this is about more than just what the day looked like.

  10. AKguy - Sep 29, 2010 at 1:29 PM

    Ira Winderman happens to be a very talented basketball writer for the Sun Sentinel in Ft. Lauderdale. He is also very knowledgeable about basketball. Granted, this is not his best writing, but I don’t think he would consider this a “news” piece or an “analysis” piece. This just a little insight into the way the Heat has secluded itself from the world for this training camp with the big three.

  11. HoopsHoops0801 - Sep 29, 2010 at 2:34 PM

    GEE CHRIS – HAVE SOME ANGER ISSUES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    YOU ARE THE MOST OBNOXIOUS, HIDIOUS, LOATHFUL, IRATE INDIVIDUAL I HAVE EVER HAD THE DISPLEASURE OF READING…GO AWAY – THE WORLD WOULD BE A BETTER PLACE WITHOUT YOU. HEY – COULD YOU POSSIBLY BE FROM >>>>>>>>>>>> CLEVELAND

  12. HoopsHoops0801 - Sep 29, 2010 at 2:39 PM

    ITS A MILITARY BASE YOU IDIOT!!!!!!!!
    IF IT WERE THE LAKERS OR ANY FRIKEN SPORTS TEAM YOU WOULD HAVE TO DO THE SAME THING…EVEN IF “YOU” VISITED THE BASE!TIH THOCIP

  13. Jim - Sep 29, 2010 at 2:41 PM

    Well folks, being a local guy from the Florida Panhandle and also a retired military member, I totally understand the article written by Ira. For privacy and security holding a week of training camp in a remote, tightly controlled, secure military installation seems pretty smart to me. Even though this is training camp for the NBA, when you make such a major change your roster, and you do not want everyone to know what offensive and defensive scheem you are planning for the year, then I say whoever planned it knew exactly what they were doing. And yes, especiallly the media is scrutinized by the Pass and Security system on board a military establishment. Lastly, on the Pensacola, FL news both last night and this morning, it was well publicized and it was even mentioned that the training sessions we not open to the public. If more teams would get out of town to very remote locations, you might see some real new an super exciting action in the NBA. Very good article Ira!!

  14. HoopsHoops0801 - Sep 29, 2010 at 2:42 PM

    ITS A MILTARY BASE YOU IDIOT…….NO ONE GETS IN WITHOUT SECURITY…WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW!

  15. HoopsHoops0801 - Sep 29, 2010 at 2:44 PM

    ITS A MILTARY BASE YOU IDIOT…….NO ONE GETS IN WITHOUT SECURITY…WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW!

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