Orlando, FL – Have you ever been inches away from your favorite players and been denied free merch? Even after faithfully rooting for them through the good and the bad? No? Just this Miami Heat fan then.
Yes, I was just inches away from the famous Jimmy Butler. I had the opportunity to be in the Disney NBA bubble as one of the health screeners. The bubble was an experience like no other. Not only did I get to meet a lot of players I’ve only seen on TV, but I also met the people that make your favorite players look good.
When the players passed by, I would tell them how much I loved the Heat and how I was rooting for them to go to the finals. In all honestly, I didn’t even think the Heat would get to the finals but for the sake of being on their good side, I entertained the idea.
Pat Riley: "I love Jimmy Butler."
Don’t we all? 🐐 pic.twitter.com/VFD7hmULMi
— Heat Nation (@HeatNationCom) October 23, 2020
Several conversations had gone by and still here I am… with no merchandise. By this time, the heat had become the Eastern Conference finals champions and many of my coworkers were bragging about their heat merchandise that they had received.
In the time that we were in the bubble, my co-workers received team masks, black lives matter t-shirts, vote t-shirts. However, there I was with a reusable NBA mask that was accessible to anyone and no Heat t-shirt.
I am livid at this point. The fact that I, a Miami heat fan from South Florida, had not received anything yet, not even a “hi, how are you” from these guys is crazy.
Big Face Coffee
I have to think of something quick because by this time there were two more weeks of the bubble left. That’s assuming the finals go a full seven games. So what was my plan you may ask? Well, I thought it would be a smart idea to give Butler a mug. Yes, you read that right. I made Jimmy a coffee mug in the bubble.
I made Butler a mug because, if you’ve kept up with him in the bubble, he started his coffee business entitled “Big Face Coffee”. So, I quickly ran to the dollar store to find the pieces for this mug. I found two dollar stickers and a one-dollar mug and got to work. Although, there was something missing. The mug needed something extra. To make it clear, I’m here for the free merch. So I decided to print out a picture of butler and mod podge it to the back of the mug.
— #RapidReplay (@RapidReplays) October 23, 2020
While the mug took me a total of 30 minutes to make, the next step was somehow getting Butler’s attention and getting him to take the mug. This would hopefully help me receive my prized bubble exclusive t-shirt that’ll make everyone I know jealous.
The next day, I sat at my station and waited for them in the morning as they came down to get their breakfast. I’m shaking and thinking maybe this isn’t a good idea. I’m thinking worst-case scenario, he throws it out in front of my face and gives me a face of disgust. Nevertheless, I spent 30 long minutes on this mug and I wasn’t giving up on my chance for that T-shirt.
There I was, sitting as he slowly begins to come around the corner. I can’t get the words out till the very last second, He looks at the mug and takes it, and walks away.
That’s it! That’s all I get. He takes the mug and doesn’t proceed to give me every piece of Miami Heat merch in existence. Now, I know that mug is probably sitting in the trashcan in his room somewhere. Although I appreciate him taking it and being a good sport about it. Would I have appreciated compensation in merch and perhaps some seats for the finals? Yes, but it is what it is.
Eventually the bubble ended, I still have no bubble Heat T-shirt. Will I still support this team? I don’t really have a choice. Am I still mad that the one south Florida native wasn’t given any type of merchandise? Yes, but life goes on. I’m just grateful for my experience in the bubble and for my face-to-face encounter with my favorite team. So Jimmy, if you’re reading this, I forgive you for not giving me the merch right away, but this Miami Heat fan will be waiting.
📸 Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports