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Just in Time, Heat’s ‘Harlem Shake’ Goes Viral

Miami — They realized their window was closing.

The “Harlem Shake” craze had been around for a month or so, almost on the way to becoming a thing of past. And with the playoffs approaching, the Miami Heat felt this was the last chance to put their stamp on the Internet phenomenon.

Boy, did they ever.

All it took was a 30-minute session Thursday to put together the most popular rendition of the dance. Their video, posted on YouTube, drew more than 2 million page views within 24 hours.

“If you don’t get it done now, you’re not going to do it because the playoffs are coming,” guard Dwyane Wade said. “I’m glad we were able to get it done while we were at home for a little while.”

Coach Erik Spoelstra had no problem with the team having a little fun before such a big game. On Friday, they faced the Memphis Grizzlies, who entered on an eight-game winning streak. Spoelstra even joked after the morning practice that assistant coaches Bob McAdoo and Ron Rothstein were making a coaches version of the “Harlem Shake,” a dance that originated in 1981. It has since grown into an online fad, with videos usually beginning with one dancer before being joined by a group.

“It was done before practice, they organized it,” Spoelstra said. “It didn’t affect our work at all ... It happened right outside my office (Thursday). We knew it was going on. That’s fine. It’s all for fun.”

Wade and LeBron James were the catalysts in the performance. They did most of the planning for the video, which was completed in just three takes.

“I’m one of the leaders and I know there’s a time and place to do certain things,” James said. “They look at me to do a lot of things on and off the floor. I like the responsibility. I like who we are as a team both on the floor and off the floor. It shows who we really are ... As close as we are in that video, that’s how close we are on the floor and our play shows that.”

All the players wore costumes, ranging from Mario Chalmers wearing a Super Mario Bros. outfit to Shane Battier’s mix of a horse and astronaut attire.

“The horse head, that’s my go-to move,” Battier said. “It’s undefeated.”

Other costume highlights included Ray Allen in a Phantom of the Opera mask and Chris Bosh carrying a boom box he found packed away in the garage next to his “old Bell Biv Devoe cassettes.” James wore a crown and robe, but said he was in costume despite “King” being his nickname.

“I wasn’t myself,” James said. “I had a costume, too. I’m LeBron. But it was good, though. We had a lot of fun.”

Wade, who wore a suit with no shirt and an oversized teddy bear head, said his costume was a tribute to the Chicago Bears and Windy City rapper Kanye West.

The hip-hop artist uses the bear as his logo and trademark.

“That was me dedicating a little to Chicago,” Wade said. But also my love for teddy bears.”

The video has already drawn comparisons to the 1985 Chicago Bears, who made the Super Bowl Shuffle record late in the season on their way to winning the 1986 Super Bowl. Few would argue Miami is on a similar course, especially with its recent play of late.

They say they aren’t worried about it becoming a distraction nor it is a sign of overconfidence.

We don’t have to be super-duper serious throughout our whole day and night and driving home,” Bosh said. “We don’t have to be serious all the time. There are going to be times where we’re going to be going through it enough. That was not during practice. Practice was over.”