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Thursday, March 21, 2013
Flo Rida talks Miami Heat, LeBron, NASCAR

By Zach McCann


NEW YORK -- Few people are enjoying basketball right now more than hip-hop artist Flo Rida.

The South Florida resident, who owns Miami Heat courtside season tickets and grew up a few miles from the University of Miami, has been in attendance for much of the Miami Heat’s historic 24-game (and counting) winning streak. And he’s vocal about his support for “The U,” a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament.

Flo Rida spoke with ESPN Playbook about his Heat theme song, his custom-made Heat championship ring, and more on Wednesday afternoon as he helped announce Samsung’s new line of TVs.

Is there a better time to be a Miami Heat fan?

It’s super exciting. That dunk the other day, LeBron over Jason Terry, that was crazy. I wish I was in Boston watching it. I’m definitely courtside every game I can make. I have season tickets, so I’m just excited about the Heat. We need to get another championship. I actually bought a championship ring last year.

Did you really? Does it look like the same as the players'?

Mine is customized. It has a little bit more diamonds.

You made an unofficial Heat song, “We already won,” in 2010 right after LeBron decided to come to Miami. What’s the background of that song?

I’ve always been a fan of LeBron, and the fact that he was coming to my hometown, I figured it would build up the morale and get everybody excited. So me and my crew were in the studio when we heard that LeBron was coming, so we just created this song.

Were you ever a little nervous that you jinxed the team, with the chorus saying, “We already won,” especially after the Heat lost in the Finals that year.

Yeah, but we didn’t put a year on it, so it’s all good. (laughs)

Eventually you were right.

We just predicted the future. The future was very near.

Now they’re so dominant. What’s it like to see your team as the king of the NBA?

It’s crazy because I actually have a condo right across the street from the arena. So, you know, all the time I’m Heat-ed out. Usually I’m wearing my Miami Heat gear. Like here in New York, you’ll see me out there in my Heat paraphernalia and everything now.

Have you noticed the Heat paraphernalia all over the globe now?

Yeah, and it’s just getting bigger and bigger now. LeBron is out of this world now.

How much have you interacted with LeBron and those guys?

Every time when I’m at a game, they’re always saying what’s up to me. And out at clubs, it’s all love. When you’re out, you just show everyone the hospitality you would show to yourself. So, we’re all out there, just taking over Miami together.

And the Heat aren’t even the hottest basketball team in Miami right now. The Hurricanes just won the ACC and are a No. 2 seed in the tournament. It’s safe to assume they’re your NCAA pick?

Oh, yeah. When it comes to Miami, I support all of the teams. I’ve been a fan of “The U” since I was growing up, day one. And the fact that the team is doing so well, I’m behind them.

Is it weird seeing Miami better at basketball than football?

Right? It’s crazy. That’s never happened. But they’re doing their thing.

There aren’t a lot of sports references in your songs.

In some of my mixtapes, I do.

I do remember a NASCAR reference in your song, “Roll.”

And I talk about the Super Bowl.

Growing up near Homestead and a few hours south of Daytona, were you ever a fan of NASCAR?

Well, you’re talking about Flo Rida. I drive a Bugatti, Ferrari, all of that. I always love top speed and NASCAR, so it stands out. I’m definitely a fan of NASCAR and just cars. Back home, a lot of my friends, they love getting their cars and turning it up as fast as they go. Some of them have the Nitrous, although myself I don’t mess with the Nitrous, because I like to get myself something that comes stocked, like a Ferrari or Bugatti.

OK, you’re here promoting Samsung and the new Smart TV experience they announced today. So we have a few TV questions for you. First off, what’s your favorite TV show?

I love watching reruns of "Martin." The classic.

Your favorite TV show that you secretly enjoy?

When I get a chance and I’m not on the road, I’ll admit I probably watch some reality shows.

Where do you watch most of your TV?

Usually I pull it up on my phone.

Of all the times you’ve been on TV, what’s your proudest moment?

My proudest moment was when I did the Today Show, and my parents were actually there, and they put my parents on television.