If you get to a Miami Heat game early, you're in for a confounding surprise.
After the warm-ups and stretching but before the tip-off, the arena's lights dim. It's time for the Miami Heat's starting lineup. A video on the scoreboard is accompanied by music to psych up the crowd. Usually it's from some classic-rock or hip-hop song. Last year, it was Kanye West's "All of the Lights"; the year before, Phil Collins sang "In the Air Tonight" to the arena.
This year, out of the woodwork, comes the White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army." It's been ten years since the song came out, which I suppose qualifies it for classic-rock status, but NBA arenas, and Miami in particular, are not known for their love of indie rock. So someone on the team must have pushed for it. But who would do such a thing?
Join us as we do some detective work on who might have requested "Seven Nation Army" as the Miami Heat's warm-up song and who might push for the Pixies next year.
Possible Culprit: Team president Pat Riley
Musical Taste: Obsessed with Bruce Springsteen. Quoted the Boss at his Hall of Fame induction and had late E Street Band saxophonist Clarence Clemons play the national anthem before the 2006 Finals.
Indie Cred: None. Previously banned players from wearing headbands. (Though he did coach Kurt Rambis whose spectacles and mustache would fit in perfectly in Williamsburg).
Likelihood He Requested "Seven Nation Army": .05% Riley is more Dom Perignon than PBR. Unless Riley's hearing is going, he would never confuse the White Stripes for a Bruce Springsteen b-side.
Possible Culprit: MVP LeBron James
b>Musical Taste: Hip-hop. When LeBron James executive-produced the documentary More Than a Game, he recruited Lil Wayne, Kanye West, Eminem, and Drake to provide the soundtrack.
Indie Cred: The way LeBron James said goodbye to Cleveland was pretty punk rock. He did everything but stick up his middle finger and urinate on the Ohio state flag.
Likelihood He Requested "Seven Nation Army": 3%. LeBron James has said he wants to be the first billionaire athlete, which would mean selling sneakers to all subcultures. Even hipsters.
Potential Culprit: Shooting guard Dwyane Wade
Musical Taste: Hip-hop. Famously name-checked in Jay-Z's "Empire State of Mind" where Jay-Z emphatically raps "I'm paying Dwyane Wade."
Indie Cred: Known to frequent Miami's Critical Mass. Even recruited teammates LeBron James and Mario Chalmers on a November Friday to help cyclists take over the South Florida roads.
Likelihood He Requested "Seven Nation Army": 10%. Though his playlist skews toward hip-hop, the devoutly religious Wade would appreciate a band with an album titled Get Behind Me Satan.
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Possible Culprit: Coach Erik Spoelstra
Musical Taste: Mainstream rock. Admits to attending six or seven U2 concerts, even during their "kitschy" Zooropa days.
Indie Cred: Grew up and attended college in Portland, Oregon, an indie-rock bastion. Showed nihilistic tendencies with some of his coaching decisions. Most likely member of the Heat to be mistaken for singer Jack White.
Likelihood He Requested "Seven Nation Army": 20%. Though even if Spoelstra requested the White Stripes, I'm not certain the team would choose his musical taste to be the tipping point where they would start listening to him.
Definite Culprit: Forward Shane Battier
Musical Taste: Eclectic. His pregame playlist includes Jimi Hendrix, Tupac, Radiohead, and... "Seven Nation Army" by the White Stripes.
Indie Cred: Grew up in Michigan in the 1990s, when the White Stripes were gaining notice in the Detroit music scene.
Likelihood He Requested "Seven Nation Army": 100%. Not the most vocal or famous member of the Miami Heat, the insertion of Battier's smart defense and timely three-point shooting in the starting lineup last year helped secure the Heat's championship, so why wouldn't he get the say in what music should pump up the crowd and home team?
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