The Miami Heat’s owner isn’t in attendance for the biggest game of the season Sunday against the Boston Celtics.
Micky Arison, who has owned the Heat since 1995 and overseen all three of Miami’s championships, is in health and safety protocols and unable to be at FTX Arena for Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals, the team confirmed.
Arison is typically seated courtside at every game, but his familiar presence will be missing as the Heat plays for a spot in the 2022 NBA Finals.
With Arison as the owner, Miami won titles in 2006, 2012 and 2013 and reached additional NBA Finals in 2011, 2014 and 2020. The run to the 2020 NBA Finals came in the 2020 NBA Bubble, when the league moved all games to Walt Disney World’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex due to the COVID-19 pandemic. More than two years later, the coronavirus is still a factor in the 2022 NBA playoffs.
Arison is only the latest NBA figure to have his playoffs disrupted by protocols. Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr missed multiple games in the second round due to COVID, but has returned and now has the Warriors in the Finals, awaiting the winner of Heat-Celtics. Even in this NBA Conference Finals series, Boston post player Al Horford missed Game 1 due to virus protocols.
Miami has not had a player in the league’s health-and-safety protocols since the end of the regular season when star post player Bam Adebayo entered protocols ahead of the regular-season finale.
If the Heat wins Sunday in Miami, it will advance to the Finals and play Game 1 on Thursday in San Francisco. The Heat’s first game back in South Florida would be Game 3 on June 8.
Miami hasn’t hosted a Finals game since 2014.
This story was originally published May 29, 2022 8:44 PM.