By Barry Janoff
February 11, 2013: Gifted basketball players such as LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are often compared to athletes and performers in other endeavors, citing acrobatic skills, precise timing and intense preparation and dedication.
Much of that reflects an alliance that is celebrating its 25th anniversary.
The NBA's Miami Heat and the Miami City Ballet have unveiled a campaign that celebrates 25 years of basketball and ballet.
Taking the lead are James and Wade of the Heat and Miami City Ballet principal dancers, sisters and Miami natives Jeanette and Patricia Delgado. The campaign, Miami Ballet and Basketball, will seek to "underscore the parallels between basketball and dance: grace, fitness, strength and passion."
The message is being driven by a series of photographs that show James and Wade with the Delgado sisters. The creative is being used for a local and national effort that includes outdoor, Internet, social media such as Twitter and YouTube and activation in AmericanAirlines Arena during Heat home games.
The photos are intended to be a direct link to a campaign from 25 years ago that showed Billy Thompson, then a forward with the Heat, alongside a principal dancer of the Miami City Ballet with the text, "Basketball isn't the only thing that's flying high."
“The Miami Heat plays at AmericanAirlines Arena, which is mere blocks away from one of Miami City Ballet’s home theaters, the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts,” Eric Woolworth, president of The Heat Group’s Business Operations, said in a statement. “They’re our neighbors and our friends and we’re delighted to celebrate 25 years of being part of Miami’s cultural landscape, and more specifically, the arts and entertainment district located along Biscayne Boulevard.”
Posters and outdoor signage with James and Wade offer: "Run. Jump. Dance. Shoot, Move, Dribble. Plie. Split. Dunk. Clap. Pointe. Step. Shake. Play. Cheer. On Biscayne."
"What they do is so unique," James' relates in a promotional video for the campaign. "They put themselves in poses I would never be able to get in to!"
Activation began during the Heat-Los Angeles Lakers nationally televised NBA game on Sunday (Feb. 10).
According to Lourdes Lopez, artistic director for the Miami City Ballet, "For the most part, people don't think of dancers as athletes. So we have these athletes who are graceful and dancers who are athletic."
"I feel at times on the court we are ballerinas in the air," offered Wade. "So it was good to put the two of us together. But she was doing all the work."
"Ballet and basketball are both about grace under pressure and the pursuit of perfection," said Lopez. "No Miami City Ballet dancer stands alone just as Heat players can’t win alone. It requires team work—and that's Miami! We are talking about tremendous pride in the place we call home and being the best together."
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