Gary Payton Passionately Explains Heat Culture

Former Miami Heat player Gary Payton praises Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra and the organization's commitment to winning
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In recent years, the Miami Heat adopted a catchphrase to describe the organization's commitment to winning. 

They named it simply "Heat Culture." It is a motto that means hard-working and blue-collar. Veteran forward Udonis Haslem and former Heat players Alonzo Mourning and Dwyane Wade are often used to describe it. Former Heat player Gary Payton recently explained what it's like to play in the organization in a first-person essay in The Players' Tribune

Among the topics were Riley, Spoelstra and how the Heat rallied from 2-0 down against the Dallas Mavericks in the 2006 NBA Finals. Payton, who was far removed from his days as an All-Star in Seattle, realized he was in a different environment when he arrived.

"I’ll tell you about the day I bought in," Payton wrote. "I still remember it. It was this one day at practice where Pat and them had us doing wind sprints — doing old-school stuff from when you was back in the eighth and ninth grade! OLD school, you know what I’m saying? Doing defensive slides, taking charges. And I’m loving it, man. I’m loving it. Then I look around. Whole team is loving it. And I’m just thinking to myself, like, Wow. You have this whole group of NBA vets back on their eighth and ninth grade shit? You’ve got that kind of power?? When he did that, I think that’s when I said, OK. This is different. This is real."'

Payton ended the piece by challenging the current Heat players. They are down 3-1 against the Los Angeles Lakers in the Finals. 

 "Y’all are still here — and y’all belong here," Payton wrote. "Next three games are for the Culture."

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