Star-studded Miami Heat gala a ‘Family Affair’

MIAMI (WSVN) - It was all about hoops and help at the American Airlines Arena, Thursday night, as the Miami Heat hosted their annual fundraising gala, and the star-studded occasion was all for a good cause.

This year’s theme for the posh party was “Family Affair.” The bash raised money for several local charities.

“It’s always nice to be here to meet new people, especially to do something different, not be all the time in the gym,” said Heat player Goran Dragić.

The team’s owner, Micky Arison joined president Pat Riley in mingling with fans who came to show their support. “It means a lot to me because it creates a great break, a fun break in a tough season,” said Riley, “and our most die-hard sponsors and season ticket holders come every year.”

Rapper Fat Joe was among the stars who made an appearance at the gala. “[It’s good to] give back to our community and help people in need,” he said. “That’s the best thing you can do in the world. The best gift God gave us is the gift of giving.”

This kind of suiting up is a nice change for some of the players. “It’s nice to get out of regular clothes and put a suit on,” said Dragić.

Besides an intimate dinner, the fundraiser included a special performance by Grammy-winning singer Mary J. Blige.

Heat player Udonis Haslem addressed rumors that Riley is a pretty good dancer. “He’s been doing the same dance for 14 years that I’ve been here, so it doesn’t matter who it is,” he said.

This year’s theme is an homage to Blige, who co-wrote and released a song called “Family Affair.”

The team’s first gala took place in 2006, and since then they have raised more than $7 million for local charities.

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