Sherman Alexie and Miami Heat: It's a basketball jones

Author and poet Sherman Alexie is a serious observer of basketball, especially, from his home in Washington State, the exploits of the Miami Heat’s Ray Allen, former star of the Seattle Supersonics. When local fans famously deserted the team before Allen hit his legendary Game 6 three-pointer during the 2013 NBA Finals, Alexie tweeted: “Dear Miami Heat fans who left with 28 seconds left last night, you should be forever banned from entering any NBA arena.”

In town Tuesday for an appearance at the Miami Book Fair International, Alexie arrives with a fresh connection to the Heat.

Acclaimed photographer Bruce Weber on Friday published pictures of the Heat winning their second straight NBA title in “Born Ready,” the latest installment of his literary art series called “All-American,” which “celebrates individuals whose risk-taking and personal vision set them apart from the crowd.” The new coffee-table collection of 250 images, from teNeues Publishing,  opens with shots of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade accompanied by this poem, written by Alexie, who grew up on the Spokane Indian reservation in Wellpinit, Wash. It is called  “Why We Play Basketball”:

 

In December, snow

covered the court. We

wrapped our hands in old

socks, soaked the white snow

with kerosene, lit

 

the match, and melted it

all down to pavement.

We were Indians

who wanted to play

basketball. Nothing

 

could stop us from that,

not the hunger in

our thin bellies, not

the fear of missed shots,