Dwyane Wade stood at halfcourt, right on top of the Heat’s logo, holding two fingers in the air. He paused there for a beat, soaking in the love during his first game in Miami. Flash was back.
He was wearing a white and silver pair of WoW6s, complemented by the Heat’s “City” jersey. The threads are based with white and feature blue and pink pops of colors.
“It’s funny because we had just reached a point with the campaign having launched that we finally caught our breath,” Jennifer Alvarez, the Heat’s Chief of Creative and Content, says. “And things had started to level out around here. And then the trade happens and we’ve got D. Wade back and that just brings new life into everything.”
Miami’s “City” jerseys had caught Wade’s eyes all the way in Cleveland.
“D. Wade himself, when we had him come in and photograph him, he couldn’t wait,” Alvarez continues. “He said, ‘I saw this when it was debuted and I had to get this.’ He was really excited to wear it.”
It was the peak of a journey that took years to fully realize. The Heat had wanted to create a “Miami Vice” jersey for a long time. Fans had been asking for it for four years, Brett Maurer, the Heat’s lead designer says. Maurer and his team had spent 18 months finalizing the design by the time that Wade was standing at halfcourt in the uniform.
“We had a concept in mind where we wanted this to look, feel and be everything Miami was in this time period,” Maurer says. “Really, the big turning point of the whole design was when we pulled out the image of the Miami Arena. It felt right to have that marking on the chest. It’s kind of the hallmark of this jersey.”
The Heat then replaced their standard red and orange accents with colors that Nike officially lists as blue gale and laser fuchsia.
“When we got the sample in, one of the things we wanted to tweak [was the colors],” Maurer says. “The colors didn’t feel exactly right to us. We felt that we needed to go really bold. We immediately reached out to Nike and were questioning if we could see some of their color samples. They sent out a box of color samples to us.”
Then Maurer and his team worked on years of research and a knowledge of the Heat’s fanbase that was rooted in the franchise’s foundation.
“[The jersey is] for people that live here and have been part of the Heat culture since the franchise’s inception,” Maurer says.
It’s also for the players, of course. Alvarez says that the guys were asking if they could wear the uniforms full-time.
“The biggest endorsement you can get when a player sees a uniform is, one, he wants to wear it immediately, and then two, he asks for the official Nike colors so that he can get custom shoes made to match it perfectly,” Alvarez says. “That’s the best-case scenario.”
The Heat are trying to lock up their spot in the playoffs right now. If they do make the postseason, their “City” jersey might be part of another classic D. Wade moment.
Photos courtesy of Getty Images and Miami Heat