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Bigger Than Basketball

It was 2003, I was the Director of Season Ticket Services & Retention, and we were getting ready for our big draft day event. The excitement filled AmericanAirlines Arena as season ticket members heard we had just drafted Dwyane Wade. There was a glimmer of hope brought back to our basketball dreams that day in Miami. Not even in our wildest imaginations did we think we had just embarked on a journey toward winning the franchise’s first NBA Championship title.

Fast forward to 2019, Dwyane Wade played his last game in the NBA, but what he did after that can teach us a lot about the person and leader he truly is. A few days ago, he spent hours signing autographs and taking photos with the HEAT staff. Ultimately it made me think of all the unsung heroes of sports team everywhere, the front office staff.

To see Dwyane take the time out to thank the front office staff for their hard work and dedication is truly impressive. That is what leadership is all about, realizing that it takes a lot of people working tirelessly in the shadows to help achieve goals. Leadership is also about impacting those around you. Wade’s gesture of appreciation at the event brought those from the shadows to the forefront. How fun it has been to see the pictures shared of him and many staff members. Memories they will never forget.

For those of you that wonder what it is like to work for a sports team, let me give you a glimpse. Often, front office staff within sports are overlooked. I was met with this question a lot, “What do you all do in the off season?” It made me laugh most of the time, knowing how hard we worked. Like players, the front office staff of every sports franchise works tirelessly to improve their craft of delivering the best possible fan experience any one could ever imagine. Blood, sweat and tears are poured into every meeting, every event, every game day and the goal of winning a championship never leaves our minds.

Like players, employees are met with harsh criticism from fans and media, looking at our every move and pointing out our every flaw. But we pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and continue to work harder, and push to be even better than the day before…for the love of the game.

This event may have been for HEAT staff, but it is time to celebrate everyone who works in the shadows on game day. Wade was a true leader on and off the court, and we shouldn’t forget some of the things he has taught us.

Wade, “Thank You” for all the years of basketball excitement, history and most importantly, being a leader on and off the court.

#3 Lessons in Leadership:

  1. Obstacles don’t define you

  • Dwyane Wade, NBA star and player for the Miami Heat, discusses hardships during his childhood in Chicago and the obstacles he overcame to play basketball. Watch Video >>

  1. Leaders win as a team - Inspire and challenge those around you to be the best they can be.

  • Game 3 of the 2006 NBA Finals - ‘I ain’t going out like this!'" Wade said. "You just try to do what you can to help your team get over the hump. If you make some plays it might energize some other guys and that’s what I did. It was a total team win and I think it’s going to help us out for the next game."

  1. True champions/leaders, don’t forget those that are around them

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