Heat apologize to Amare Stoudemire
MIAMI -- The Miami Heat issued a statement Thursday apologizing to the New York Knicks and Amare Stoudemire for Miami's arena announcer mocking the forward when he fouled out of Wednesday's playoff game.
Heat announcer Michael Baiamonte referred to Stoudemire over the AmericanAirlines Arena loudspeakers as having been "extinguished from the game" after he was assessed his sixth foul with 4:48 left in the game. The Heat went on to claim a 106-94 victory to eliminate the Knicks from the playoffs in five games.
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"That's Stoudemire's sixth personal foul," Baiamonte announced after Stoudemire was called for an offensive foul on a drive into the lane. "He has been extinguished from the game."
Baiamonte's comment was in reference to Stoudemire banging his left hand out of frustration into a fire extinguisher case outside of the Knicks' locker room after New York's 104-94 loss on April 30 to trail 2-0 in the series against the Heat. Stoudemire missed Game 3 after having surgery to repair a gruesome cut on his hand.
Moments after Baiamonte made the statement during Wednesday's game, Heat media relations director Rob Wilson approached Baiamonte at the scorer's table and the two exchanged words briefly.
"Last night at our game, our PA announcer had a momentary lapse of judgment and used a poor choice of words in describing Amare Stoudemire's fouling out of the game," the Heat said in Thursday's statement. "This is not who we are as an organization or who he is as an announcer. Both the Miami Heat and Michael Baiamonte apologize to Amare and the New York Knicks for the inappropriate choice of words."
Stoudemire told ESPNNewYork.com after the game that he did not initially hear Baiamonte's comment as he walked past the scorer's table and back to the Knicks' bench after the disqualification.
"That doesn't bother me," Stoudemire told reporters after the game when he was informed of the announcer's remark.
There was no indication Thursday if the Heat would take any disciplinary action against Baiamonte, who has been the Heat's public address announcer since 1990. Miami advanced to face the Indiana Pacers in the second round, with Game 1 at AmericanAirlines Arena on Sunday.
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