Miami Heat players don't just run into AmericanAirlines Arena at the beginning of a home game.
No way. The team has too much dude-dazzle, too much guy-glam for that.
Miami's NBA franchise always takes the court in style, an entrance befitting some of the biggest ballers in the game. They arrive to a cheering crowd worked up into a frenzy by a Hollywood-worthy introduction video. The latest version makes its debut Wednesday, Oct. 28, at the season-opening home game against the Charlotte Hornets.
This time around, the introduction video plays off the haute hoopsters' street style. Their swagger is in the spotlight in the video shot over the course of an Oct. 11 practice day (half the starters in the morning, the other half following practice in the afternoon). The director is Gil Green, who shot the previous video campaigns in between doing music videos for the likes of Kanye West, Flo Rida, Drake, Rick Ross and Trey Songz. He's also done commercials for Pepsi, Timberland and Red Stripe.
"For each player, we have a set, limited amount of time we have to film them," Green says. "So we have to be a well-oiled machine. We get there, like, at 4:30 in the morning, set lights, set the cameras. They come to us and say, 'You have 15 minutes with Dwyane Wade,' and we make it happen, and Bosh is on deck. There isn't any room for any flaws in the system. It has to run smoothly."
Of course, stuff happens.
"Yeah, there were some surprises," Green explains. "We had originally planned to film in this one part of the arena. All of a sudden, when we got there, we didn't have the space we needed. So when we're moving the set, we had to break it down into pieces and take it apart to move it, and then when we put it back together in the space that we moved it to, some of the fresh paint didn't have time to dry. We were able to correct that in postproduction."
Check out these behind-the-scenes looks at the filming of the Miami Heat's intro video.
Dwyane Wade is fashion-savvy. He is as comfortable talking about the geometry of a bank shot or the finer points of a zone defense as he is about fashion. The haute hoopster has been front row at European fashion shows, sitting next to Vogue magazine editor Anna Wintour, no less. So it's not surprising that he feels confident in the back and forth with Calyann Barnett, the fashion stylist for the Miami Heat's introduction video. It also helps that she is his wardrobe stylist, helping him define his message and helping him grab fashion headlines, such as when the jaunty jock wore a floral-print Versace leather jacket at a post-game press conference in 2013 or wowed the White House in color-blocked Christian Louboutin "saddle show" sneakers.
"It's too busy," Barnett says, appraising an outfit she just helped Wade into.
"The jacket?" Wade asks.
"The shirt," she answers before changing the slate-colored shirt for a black one. "Now, double-check yourself. Make sure you love it."
Wade stick his arms out behind himself, ready to have the jacket slipped on him as if Barnett were his dresser. He smirks, knowing she's not having any of it.
"Diva," Barnett says to me. Then, to Wade, she explains, "He just asked me who was the diva."
Wade walks out the door of the dressing room, where Barnett and her three-person crew have set up a curated collection of designer duds, and heads through a parking lot to a set where he quickly films a public service announcement for Black History Month about TV producer Shonda Rhimes. Then, it's over to a photo set, where the Miami Heat's team photographer David Alvarez and his brother Richard snap a few shots. Lual Deng comes by in an exaggerated waddle, emphasizing the tightness of the skinny pants Barnett has put him in. Wade cracks up laughing. "You look like a black guy in 'Starsky and Hutch,'" he says.
Finally, Wade is escorted onto the video set with director Gil Green. The two are friendly.
"A lot of the players I have pretty good relations with through the years," Green says later. "On the set, that's the time to catch up briefly and at the same time make them feel as comfortable on set as possible, letting them know what we're doing, getting the tone and the attitude we want them to present. [I give them] just a little bit of direction as they step on set so we can get that confidence and that swagger out of the players when the video cameras start."
There's music blasting (throughout the day, the soundtrack includes Drake, Jay Z, Kanye West and Snoop Dogg).
"I ain't got no rhythm," Wade says, before going through his moves with a black and then a white basketball. A few minutes later, it's all over, and Wade retreats to the dressing room to talk fashion with Barnett and give grief to Mario Chalmers, who's just starting the process.
She may be 4-feet-11, but when it comes to fashion, Calyann Barnett is a giant. Not only is she Dwyane Wade's stylist, but she's also worked with Matt Damon, Shaggy, Hype Williams, Keyshia Cole, Usain Bolt, McDonald's, Puma, Enyce, Akademiks and Hennessy. And she's styled all the Miami Heat's introduction videos, turning a dressing room into a curated mini boutique of trendy designer fashion ("the arms are the hard part," she says. "They have such long arms") and accessories ("will you wear man jewelry?" she asks Chris 'Birdman' Anderson, who shakes his head in a definitive no).
Having done this before, she's ready for whatever the long day throws at her, and when the players joke with her, she jokes back, giving as good as she gets. Josh McRoberts, 6-feet-10-inches tall, looks unsure after he's been outfitted and looks down — way down — to Barnett for instruction.
"Where to now?" he asks her, shifting uncomfortably from one foot to the other.
"Hair and makeup," Barnett says with a straight face before breaking into laughter. "No, you're ready. Just swing your hair around, OK?"
McRoberts laughs, relaxes and says, "Gotcha."
Later, Mario Chalmers, has picked out a few looks he wants to purchase. "Send me your card," Barnett says, gesturing with her cell phone as the basketball player leaves with folded clothes in his arms.
"I'll send you a fake one," Chalmers answers.
Earlier, before the parade of players began, I asked Barnett about the hardest part of doing this. Is it the diva attitude? "No," she says. "They're all pretty good. They listen to me."
CHRIS BOSH/HASSAN WHITESIDE
"I'm wearing a hat," Chris Bosh informs Calyann Barnett, the fashion stylist for the Miami Heat's introduction video.
She glances at the table covered with hats, jewelry and sunglasses, but says nothing.
"No shades," Bosh says. "I want to show my eyes, see my eyes. There's no fear in my eyes."
Barnett looks at me, rolls her eyes and says, "Diva. See?"
Bosh responds with, "Yes, I'm difficult. Damn right, I'm difficult."
But they are both smiling broadly, clearly enjoying the playful back and forth.
On the other hand, Hassan Whiteside is not enjoying the process of shooting the video at all.
"Can we get a couple of smiles?" asks David Alvarez, the Miami Heat's team photographer after a few uncomfortable moments of taking still shots that will be part of the campaign.
Whiteside shakes his head no. Bosh is now standing just off set and tries to cheer Whiteside up.
"The skinnies," he says, referring to the skinny pants Barnett has put Whiteside in. "Rocking the skinnies."
Nothing from Whiteside.
"You know, people are going to see this, right?" Bosh continues. "You're a tiger. You're a 7-foot basketball player. You're a monster."
Bosh, who has been spotted front row at fashion shows from Cynthia Rowley to Lacoste and has been qouted on style in Esquire and New York magazine, is clearly more comfortable with the whole project. But when Whiteside steps off the set for a moment to check his cell phone that an assistant is holding, Bosh decides to move on. He heads back to the wardrobe room.
"You OK?" wardrobe stylist Calyann Barnett asks Goran Dragic, the Slovenian guard nicknamed "The Dragon," as he looks down at his fashionable clothes chosen for the Miami Heat player introduction video.
"It’s good," answers Dragic, before adding, "Different."
As Dragic walks to the first set for the still photographs, I ask him, "You [are] still kind of a newlywed. What do you think you're your wife would think of this makeover?"
He laughs and says, "That’s a good question. If you ask my wife she would say, 'Yeah, yeah, yeah.' She’s always trying to get me to dress nice."