Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Grind It Out, Hustlin Style: The Miami Heat Champions DVD Review


Bill Simmons once wrote that when any of your teams wins a championship, it’s your job as a fan to buy everything there is out there that commemorates that championship season – beginning with the obligatory Champions DVD.

So here it is (yes, it finally arrived!), The Dude’s Miami Heat 2005-2006 NBA Champions DVD review … I break down the Bonus Materials and the Main Selection along with the DVD's high-lights and low-lights. But since this is a championship DVD celebrating the 2006 Miami Heat, there are very little low-lights to be found ...


Hight Lights:
-Dwyane Wade: Flash kicks off the Player Vignettes. The best part of his piece is when he speaks of his admiration for Michael Jordan. The video shows the famous footage of Jordan switching hands mid-air against the Lakers in the 1991 Finals. Then the video shows D-Wade’s now famous gravity defying circus shot against the Pistons in this year’s Eastern Conference Finals. Pretty sweet.

-Another piece features a Gary Payton Career Retrospective. My memorable moment from that is when Gary is reflecting on his career and he says, “All these years have gone by so fast. I actually feel like I’m only in my seventh or eight season.” That explains it all, my friends.

-Shaq, of course, gets his own piece as does Alonzo Mourning. Zo’s vignette is especially good since it traces his entire career up to the struggles as a Miami Heat through his kidney ailment and his relationship with Pat Riley. What stands out most in the piece is the focus on Zo’s sheer hunger to win a title. And watching this knowing he finally has that ring makes it all the more special.

-But my favorite vignette is Udonis Haslem: Exceeding Expectations. I’m biased about this because The Crushernaut is my favorite Heat player. His whole piece is summed up with what he calls his approach to the game: a “Grind It Out, Hustlin’ Style.” More than any other vignette, this piece brings home the essence of the player. He goes back to his neighborhood park and talks about his struggles growing up in Miami and his rise as a basketball star for Miami Senior and his eventual college career in Florida. He also speaks of his inspiration, his eldest brother who guided him in his youth and who, sadly, passed away while Udonis was still in college. The piece is like Udonis himself – deep, heartfelt and introspective. I love Udonis. This piece got me all misty eyed. I won’t lie.

Low Lights:
-For some reason, perhaps to fill up space, NBA TV threw in a Jason Williams vignette. It’s about as half as long as the others and gives very little insight to the player. Although there are some clips of J-Dub’s days with the Kings and those sick behind the back passes that made him so famous when he first arrived into the league. Still, I’d rather have seen a piece maybe on Pat Riley’s career or something to that affect.

-No Antoine Walker vignette. Whoa boy. You see, the thing is, NBA TV probably doesn’t know this but … Antoine believes he’s the star of this team. He really does. So he’s either really pissed off that he’s been omitted or he’s convinced there was a post-production mistake. My suggestion to the Heat organization: make Toine his own version of the DVD crammed with his own high-light reels. This could very well affect team chemistry in the coming season. I’m not kidding about this.

-Finally, the vignettes are great but they all end very abruptly. Just as you’re really getting into it, the video fades off and then it’s over. Very strange and very disappointing.


High Lights:
-The best part of the bonus features for me is a mini documentary on the Heat’s inaugural season of 1988 called The Dream Catches Fire. If you’re a long time Heat fan and have followed them from the beginning, you’ll love this doc. It really brought me back. Seeing the old players like Sparrow (my first ever favorite Heat player), Cummings, Seikaly, Long (the original Udonis Haslem), Hastings and even head coach Ron Rothstein and his fiery coaching style. There’s a lot of behind the scenes portions in this one too. One part shows Rothstein screaming at Rony Seikaly during a team practice, “Wait a minute! Is that an open man in front of you?? Get your ass out there!!” And Rony responds like only the Frankenstein monster could – he waddles in, arms out, towards his man. You could almost make out his response, “Errrr …. Kill man with ball … Errr!!!” Classic. And the doc is produced very well. There’s the cheesy 80’s element to it, complete with that old video look and the Beverly Hills Cop/Miami Vice style generic Casio Keyboard background musical score. There’s footage of the very first Heat game. This is rife with shots of bad haircuts, bad dresses, lots and lots of hair spray on the ladies and something I just noticed – the City of Miami was HUGE on the mustaches back in the 80’s! Every dude is sporting one. It’s like the footage is from NBA Night in Iraq. Very weird. AND … Also, a Don Johnson sighting! (Don Johnson sans mustache but as cocky and douchebaggy as ever).

The way the documentary is made gives it a very Hoosiers type feel. I mean, this is a team that won about 6 games that year but every win is highlighted like it’s a championship game in this thing. Especially the team’s very first victory (after dropping the first 17 games of the season) and the last win of the season in a meaningless game against the Atlanta Hawks. Just the same, the whole thing conjures up great memories of that scrappy team. Really very cool. If you’re a long time Heat fan, I recommend this documentary be the very first thing you watch on this DVD, followed by the Main Feature – just to get the right feel of where we started and how far we’ve come in the last 18 seasons (not to mention Ron Rothstein’s transformation over the years, from a round faced sweaty guy with a mini white man’s afro, to a round faced sweaty old guy with very little hair at all).

Low Lights:

-I didn’t care for NBA TV’s throwing in their pre-season coverage into this DVD. There’s one segment called Real Training Camp, which is pretty much just a couple of NBA analysts talking about the Heat’s upcoming 2005-2006 season. Lame. (The only good part here is that there’s an interview with Stan Van Gundy. Hey, the guy had to make it onto the DVD somehow).

-There’s also Finals Pre-Series and Post-Series Analysis which both blow. The Pre-Series Analysis features, for some reason, Bob Ryan and Nancy Lieberman yapping incoherently about the “upcoming” series and even though they both predict the Heat to win, they go about it by basically saying “if Shaq can stay out of foul trouble …” yada yada yada …

The MOST annoying part of this part – if that’s possible – is NBA TV host Andre Aldridge continually saying, “Mmmhmmm …. Uhhuhh, Mmmhmmm … Uhhuhh …” whenever either Ryan or Lieberman spoke. After a while, it gets really irritating and you forget you’re watching the Heat Championship DVD and want to throw a fork at the television screen. I imagine Ryan and Lieberman wanted to throw something at Aldridge as well during the shooting of this thing. Mmhmm, Uhhuhh, Mmmhmmm …


-The best parts of the DVD are, obviously, the main feature – which is done very well and broken down beautifully – and the Clincher, which is the 4th Quarter of Game 6 in its entirety as it was shown on ABC. The main selection is, of course, the star of this DVD. Beginning with a brief montage of the Heat’s history, followed by highlights of all the playoff series and the Eastern Conference Finals to Finals themselves. There’s drama built around every scene and you re-live each moment with great anticipation and emotions. There are also player interviews as well as rare footage of the team practicing. It’s a great documentary. Scenes from the Finals locker room celebration is a nice highlight, watching the guys spew champagne all over each other and all over Pat Riley. And even watching an emotionally spent Riles, drenched in champagne, saying he’d trade all his rings for this championship.

Production value on this part is tops. And the best part is, yes, the damn thing made me weep. That’s when you know you have something special. How can it not be? My Miami Heat are NBA Champions and this here DVD is proof of that. It’s what we as fans get to keep … a lasting tribute to a great season filled with a lot of ups and downs and ending in the greatest possible way imaginable: a championship!

I plan on watching this DVD about another 30 times before the Winter arrives.

Rating: 10 out of 10

All pics taken from Miami Heat 2005-2006 NBA Champions DVD


Man Dude... been waiting for this to read! I'm ashamed to say that I still haven't bought my copy yet but your review has inspired me to get off my ass. So I'll buy it today after work.

Great review.
10 out of 10. Did I expect any other rating? Of course not. 'Toine's soon to be released DVD though? I bet that catches a 5 out or 10 rating. Unless it's nothing but him doing his shimmy over the years...then it's maybe worth a 7 or 8 out of 10.
Thanks for the review, Dude. I look forward to seeing the Dream Ctahes Fire doc. And you know, Rothstein hasn't agaed all that badly. AT least in the face. But that white man's mini-afro is classic.
Got this DVD last week and as a Heat fan it's a must own. I loved the entire thing and seeing that I'm the only human being on the planet that does not own a TiVo, it's nice to have The Clincher to watch on this over and over again.

And Dude, you had me cracking up with Aldridge and his "Mmmhmm, uuhmmm" thing when Bob Ryan and Nancy Lieberman would speak. I never really noticed it until now and it is really annoying. But funny. It's worth watching just for cheap laughs alone. If I was Bob Ryan I would've thrown my microphone at the guy.
Great review, Dude. That Dream Catches Fire doc is so cool. Seeing the inside of the old rat infested arena brought back lots of memories.

The one thing this DVD is missing: Mark Cuban glaring at David Stern after Game 5, Mark Cuban bitching about the officiating (for posterity sake)and footage from the parade's biggest high-lights: "Stay white!" and "Wade Jones!"

**By the way, the Heat's schedule comes out today.**
A DVD chalk filled with 80's mustaches, white-man mini fros and no Toine vignette! Where can I buy MY copy????

This DVD kicks major ass!!! Why? Because it's the Miami Heat's championship DVD. I love it!!! Here's to more in the coming seasons!!

Let's Go Heat
Hey Dude,
Your review of the SI DVD is very thorough. Good Job.
If you live by that comment about a fans responsibility to buy everything you can when your team wins it all, then you owe it to your audience to buy and post your review of this ONE-OF-A-KIND collectors 2 Disc DVD set that rivals or maybe supercedes the SI DVD.

Available now at http://stores.ebay.com/Rare-Gifts-Great-Buys

Hell, you can even get a SNEAK PREVIEW of clips at:

when you go to the ebay store, you'll find its full detailed description as well as other ONE-OF-A-KIND Heat items. It's got unique stuff.





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