The Miami Heat's Game 5 Finals' fall to the San Antonio Spurs still stings staffers at the “Will Call” bar almost one week later. But it’s the worry about the future of the Heat’s Big Three that is keeping some business owners up at night.
"It hurt, tell you the truth it hurt," recalled Coz Canler, Will Call's entertainment director after the Heat lost to the Spurs.
The bar sits off Biscayne, and is a block away from the AmericanAirlines Arena. It's one of many Miami bars, hotels, and restaurants that have been riding sort of "Heat wave" over the past four years. With the team's four trips to the NBA Finals; the businesses have witnessed their profits pick up.
For Will Call, the peak came last year with the Heat's nail-biter Game 7 home win.
"The whole bar's going, 'go, Heat, go, Heat.' I mean, you've got the 'defense, defense,'" Canler remembered.
The Heat's economic impact is real, according to a study the team commissioned in two years ago. The Coral Gables firm, Washington Economics Group, found the Heat, and the American Airlines Arena help bring the city about $1.4 billion, and around 21,000 jobs each year.
The Big Three: Lebron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh are part of the draw; but, with free agency looming, it's not yet known if they will all return.
"It isn't just about how a team grows, you know, as a team, or as players. It's really how you grow also in the community, and a family."
Speaking of family, Riley's slip about James' wife suggests he'll have a lot to think about this summer.
"They've changed dramatically, Savannah's now going to have a little baby girl."
Riley said he expects to know more about the future of the team by July 1. There was no follow up about the validity of the baby news.