NBA commissioner David Stern addressed the fans at AmericanAirlines Arena on Tuesday night before giving the Miami Heat their 2011-12 NBA championship rings in a pregame ceremony preceding the team's 2012-13 season-opening contest against the Boston Celtics. In the process, he thought it appropriate to acknowledge all those impacted by Hurricane Sandy, the monstrous storm that has caused millions of dollars in damage, claimed at least 48 lives and wreaked massive havoc on locations all along the Atlantic Coast.
Unfortunately, in so doing, the commissioner misspoke.
[Photos: LeBron and Co. get their rings]
"Before we begin, I know that everyone here and around America watching has, in their thoughts and their abiding concerns, those who were affected by the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath," Stern said as an increasing murmur and even some boos began to travel through the arena.
"That said, we have a celebration tonight. And so, congratulations to Micky Arison and the Arison family. Congratulations to Pat Riley and the entire organization," the commissioner continued. "Congratulations to Eric Spoelstra and the entire coaching staff. Congratulations to the resilient, passionate, teamwork-oriented, dedicated, second-time-champion Miami Heat players. And congratulations to the Miami Heat fans of South Florida, and Miami Heat fans all over the world. Let's give out the rings."
After the Heat had received their title rings, TNT studio host Ernie Johnson noted the misstep, clarified that the commissioner obviously intended to say "Sandy" and, at the suggestion of colleague Charles Barkley, informed viewers that they can text donations to the American Red Cross disaster relief effort by texting "REDCROSS" to 90999 on their cellular phones.
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