Miami Heat's 'Harlem Shake' helps build chemistry
Mar 02, 2013 (The Miami Herald - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
The Heat's ode to the "Harlem Shake" YouTube craze nearly broke the Internet on Thursday night when LeBron James and Dwyane Wade released their video. By Friday night, it had been viewed more than six million times on YouTube.
The video took James and Wade about 30 minutes to edit. Once they saw the final version, Wade said he "knew this was going to be pretty funny." For instance, Wade is dressed like a teddy bear from Saturday Night Fever.
"It's a long season, man," Wade said. "For us, it was just trying to enjoy the process. It's going to be go time soon, and then we're not going to be able to do anything."
The Heat's players produced the video after winning 12 consecutive games and practically wrapping up the Eastern Conference with two months left in the season. Shane Battier is dressed like a "horse-stronaut."
"I had a very subtle role," Battier said. "I was in the background, which is my sort of humor. You have to look hard to see me.
"Whenever I'm tabbed for something like that, I go for the horse head. The horse head is my go-to move. It's undefeated. It has won every time."
Battier is doing "the robot" in the video, naturally.
Wade said he and James "put a lot of time into this thing" and raided several Miami-area costume and party stores for production value. James is dressed as a king. Chris Bosh looked something like a 1980s cowboy break-dancer.
"We didn't want to under do it," Wade said. "We wanted to put everything into it. So it's fun."
The video begins with Chris Andersen, who calls himself "The Birdman" in real life, flapping his wings rhythmically through the Heat's locker room with his teammates sitting around casually. James is stretching. Mike Miller is in the back drinking one of his energy drinks, of course.
"He is an unbelievable character," James said of Andersen. "He could easily be a character in a cartoon, so it was great for him to start it off."
As Andersen closes in on the camera, the music shifts and the video jumps. That's when things get wild. The video's next scene is a dance party with everyone wearing their costumes. James is in the front dancing crazily as a shirtless monarch.
Mario Chalmers dressed up as Super Mario from the classic Nintendo video game. He apparently liked his outfit so much that he kept the hat.
"He did not send the hat back, so he will be receiving a bill," James joked after Friday morning's shootaround.
Fun was the ultimate goal, but James said the team chemistry forged through off-the-court activities is also important.
"With everything that goes on with our team from the outside, we have to figure out a way to keep ourselves sane and have fun," James said. "It's no disrespect to anyone we go against or the game itself. We approach the game like the best competitors, but in the meantime you have to appreciate more than just basketball."
A list of the players and their costumes in the video: James, the spastic king; Wade, Saturday Night Fever bear; Bosh, '80s cowboy break-dancer; Battier, "horse-stronaut"; Udonis Haslem, heavyweight champion fireman; Ray Allen, phantom of the opera; Andersen, Sons of Anarchy foot soldier; James Jones, disturbed clown; Norris Cole, "N.C. Hammer"; Chalmers, Super Mario; Rashard Lewis, jabawaki mime; Miller, sombrero wearing Ray Mysterio Junior; Jarvis Varnado, luchador; Joel Anthony, Antigua flag mask with Santa Claus cap.
James was named Eastern Conference Player of the Month, and Erik Spoelstra was named Coach of the Month for February. The Heat went 12-1 in February, with the lone loss coming on the road against Indiana at the beginning of the month.
James shot 64.1 percent from the field (149 of 236) in February. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was the highest month-long shooting percentage for a player since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar shot 65 percent in March 1983.
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