As the wild and wonderful white-knuckle roller-coaster ride that is the NBA Finals hurtles toward its crazy conclusion, there is no shortage of analysis, advice and opinion about the series from fans and would-be pundits. One man, however, is uniquely positioned for his thoughts to hold true weight: DJ Irie – the Miami Heat’s official DJ – is smack in the middle of the maelstrom, helping to get the crowd pumped up at home and supporting the team on the road in San Antonio.
Here are a few observations from his up-close-and-personal perspective.
So how are you holding up, with all the drama and chaos?
[Laughs] As well as possible! I’ve been back and forth to San Antonio, and fighting a cold and the remnants of a fever, but I’m still going, man. I’m still going.
What’s the players’ mind-set when the Heat reaches Game 7?
Remember, these guys have been in this predicament before – we had to go through this last year to get to the Finals against the Celtics. But I think these guys have had a lot of success to fall back on.
On Thursday night for Game 7, do you think the AAA will be at its craziest ever?
Yeah, I would say so [laughs]. I mean, I’ve seen that place crazy on occasion, especially going seven games with Indiana, but that’s nothing like a Finals.
You help get the crowd pumped up in Miami – so what’s your role in San Antonio? Are you just like a super-fan?
Absolutely. 100 percent, man. It’s one thing to be in this hostile environment and have all these adamant fans from the opposing teams wanting you to fail. So if guys can look up and see some familiar faces, guys who made the effort to be there, it goes a long way. It’s extremely important.
How much interaction do you have with the players during the playoffs?
I’ll be honest – once we get into the playoffs, I make it a point to limit my interaction with the players, because we want these guys to be focused on one thing and one thing only. Outside of basketball and their families, I don’t think they should be worried about anything else. But when we do have conversations, I just keep it to what might help them get motivated, you know? You know, I’m not doing any coaching [laughs] or giving any advice, I mean I’m really sure they’ve got that covered.
It’s been easy to hate the Heat’s playoff opponents over the past couple of years – the Bulls, the Pacers, the Celtics – because things got pretty chippy and there was a lot of bad blood. But the Spurs are pretty classy. Do you think that has any effect on this series in any way?
I don’t think so. At the end of the day, it’s a competition. The teams are very talented, and they want to be the best, and on top. You’re right, though – let’s go back to the last series, against Indiana. The nature of that series was quite different in terms of the aggression and maybe physical interaction on the court. This Spurs series is an entirely different style of series. They’re known as a hard-working, classy team, and I think that carries forth to the series right now. And the Miami Heat – that’s who we are as well. You put us on the court and we’re ready to focus on the business of basketball.
The intensity is equal, but the undertone may be a little bit different, and the physicality. But the way we get this done doesn’t waver.