Miami Heat GM Andy Elisburg on his appearance in viral photo: ‘I didn’t know for my birthday that I was going to be a meme’

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Miami Heat general manager Andy Elisburg recently commented on his appearance in a viral photo where the Heat appeared ready to continue an on-court shoving match against the Denver Nuggets.

The incident between the Heat’s Markieff Morris and Nikola Jokic of the Nuggets took place late in their game on Monday with the Nuggets comfortably ahead. The photo, snapped by AAron Ontiveroz of the Denver Post, shows Elisburg blocking the team from continuing the dispute.

The photo went viral and led the Heat executive to joke about his new-found fame.

“I didn’t know for my birthday that I was going to be a meme,” Elisburg told the Sun Sentinel.

Less than 12 hours after the photo was taken, Elisburg got word from the league that the incident was being investigated.

“I looked at the wall clock and it’s 5 o’clock,” Elisburg said. “I got a 5 a.m. call saying they were doing the investigating, which is standard. But obviously the timing was a little odd. But that happens sometimes when you’re on the road.

“And at about 6 o’clock in the morning, I rolled over and said, ‘Let me see what’s on Twitter?’ And I got to Twitter and I saw the pictures coming through up on Twitter, and I was like, ‘O . . . K . . .’”

Elisburg then explained that his intention was to simply get his team to calm down in order to avoid making things worse.

“In situations like that,” Elisburg said, “you want to make sure that everything stays as calm as possible, leave everything on the floor, let’s not make anything worse.

“Everyone’s emotional at those particular moments and you just want everyone to just sort of calm down. The picture looked more than it really was. But you just want to make sure you try to keep everyone as safe as you can.”

Elisburg is surely more interested in making sure the Heat gets back on track. After starting out with seven wins in its first nine games, the team has dropped its last three contests.

The Heat continue their Western road swing on Saturday afternoon against the Utah Jazz before their five-game trip ends with a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday night.

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Brad Sullivan is a freelance writer for, having been an avid fan of NBA basketball for more than four decades. During that time, he's watched the Heat evolve from gestation period to expansion team all the way to three-time NBA champions. He'll follow their quest toward again reaching those lofty heights, and do so by offering some perspective along the way.