Former Heat coach goes off on ‘pseudo-experts’ Kendrick Perkins and Michael Wilbon for trashing Miami fans

3 Min Read
Michael Laughlin-USA TODAY Sports

A former Miami Heat assistant coach is coming to the defense of their fans after ESPN “pseudo-experts” Kendrick Perkins and Michael Wilbon took shots at them during their play-in game at Kaseya Center.

It drew a reaction from Tony Fiorentino, who then engaged in more back-and-forth on the matter over social media.

During a break in the action from the Heat’s game against the Chicago Bulls, Perkins and Wilbon weighed in on what looked like a late-arriving crowd in the first half.

“I’m just a little disappointed in the fan base of the Miami Heat,” Perkins said. “It’s too many open seats in there.”

Wilbon then agreed and was even more harsh.

“That’s not a great fan base at all,” Wilbon said. “It hasn’t been. They’re frontrunners.”

Not that Heat fans need a stronger defense of their actions or support, but the play-in game on Friday wasn’t made necessary until the Heat lost at the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday. If Miami had won that first play-in game, it would have moved right into the 2024 NBA Playoffs. A loss would have ended its season right there.

Fiorentino knows of what he speaks as he has a long connection to the Heat franchise as one of its original employees. He served on the initial coaching staff of Ron Rothstein as well as under Pat Riley and later was a television commentator for the team. In fact, he was honored during a halftime ceremony in April 2018.

His observation of the Heat attendance as compared to that of the New York Knicks also rings true, as Miami averaged more fans per game that New York this season. Over their 41 regular season home games, the Heat ranked fourth in the league per game, behind only the Bulls, Dallas Mavericks and 76ers.

The attendance on Friday was listed at 19,600.

The Heat will need all the support they can get in their upcoming first-round series against the top-seeded Boston Celtics, who posted the best record in the league this season. The Heat will have to play without star Jimmy Butler, who is out for multiple weeks with a knee injury suffered in the game against the 76ers, and Terry Rozier, who has not yet improved enough from a neck injury that now has him sidelined on a week-to-week basis.

After Games 1 and 2 at Boston on Sunday and Wednesday, the series will move to Kaseya Center for Games 3 and 4 next Saturday and Monday.

Share This Article
Mike is a veteran journalist who has covered the NBA for almost three decades. His introduction to the business included the legendary Heat-Knicks rivalry from the 1990s.