Heat credentials application for training camp is like jumping through fifteen rings of fire while solving Rubik's Cube.
Posted by Matt Moore
Here's a little bit of inside media info. Not all NBA team PR departments are the same. Some are laid back, informal, and easy to work with. Others are like dealing with a government office. They don't want to help you, and just when you think you have everything, they inform you that you need another form that's all the way back at your house across town. It's nothing personal, it's just a difference in philosophies that varies depending on a number of factors, including how much media presence there is in a given market.
Then, way on the far end of the spectrum, so far you you can only identify it by the flashing spotlights emanating from their fortress of attitude, is how the Miami Heat are handling training camp.
It was announced yesterday that the Heat will be spending camp at a military base, Hurlburt field in Florida at Eglin Air Force base. A nice way for the Heat to be identified with troops committed to service. But then, of course, there's a nice secondary perk. Getting into the thing as a media member is going to be harder than slipping into a party with LeBron and company in Vegas. Wait...
The Heat sent out their camp credentials announcement, and it's a solid three pages of documentation. Which isn't like a college application or anything, but it's still really extensive. There's legitimate reason for the application, naturally; we're talking about a freaking Air Force base. Security needs to go a little bit beyond "are you going to take naked pictures of Dwyane Wade?" and into "Are you a legitimate security risk?"
The implications are extremely favorable for the Heat in controlling the message. Due to the base's necessary security restrictions on their internet networks, no service will be provided for media. Looking to file? You'd better bring an air card. This ain't the Hilton. The questions on the security clearance may be the best, though. Here's a few examples:
"Have you ever been barred from entry/access to any Federal/military installation or facility?"
Well, that depends. Do you count Karl Malone's house? I got in there, but he said I wasn't armed enough.
"Are you wanted by federal or civil law enforcement authorities, regardless of offense/violation (i.e., an “order to arrest” has been issued by a judge?"
Yes, actually. I know these just look like fashion accessories, but in reality, it's actually a ball and chain. Additionally, the phrase "Born to Kill" tattooed on my forehead is not, in fact, metaphorical.
"Have you ever been convicted of espionage, sabotage, treason, terrorism or murder?"
Convicted is such a strong word. Also, fun fact, this was specifically designed to keep Greg Popovich out.
"Does your name appear on any federal agency’s 'watch list' or “hit list” for criminal behavior or terrorist activity?"
So basically, you're saying the Wolves and Darko Milicic can't come over for a scrimmage, right?
"Have you been convicted of firearms or explosives violation within the past ten years?"
(Insert Gilbert Arenas joke here.)
"Have you ever conspired or attempted to commit any of the criminal acts listed above?"
I confess. I tried to commit espionage once, but Tommy's mom said he had to go home for dinner. Also, get ready for a slew of sabotage jokes about LeBron and Game 5. Just be prepared.
Again, this security is completely understandable given where camp is being held. But that had to be part of the lure for the Heat organization, which has always prided itself on the ability to control the message. With the amount of attention the team will garner this year, starting off in an environment that's already sanitized by its very nature is a shrewd move on the part of Pat Riley.
Ken Berger wanted to weigh in on this post, but he's busy taking the requisite urine sample and tracking down his great-great-great-grandmother's maiden name.