As the vice president of creative and digital marketing for the Miami HEAT, Jennifer Alvarez oversees all areas of marketing that fans interact with daily, including the wildly successful Court Culture collections. That HEAT Vice T-shirt you are wearing? Alvarez. The HEAT license plate on your car? Also Alvarez.
The last time we spoke about a Court Culture collection I was asking you about the Heat Vice line, and you described the concept as “A love letter to Miami.” Tell me about this new collection.
Jennifer Alvarez: We created the Black Lives Matter Court Culture collection to amplify the movement. The first day back to work after George Floyd’s death, when we were all talking about what our response was going to be, we knew we had an important job. This is our community, we represent the African American community. We aren’t not going to use our platform to amplify the movement. So we put the creatives to work. We had over 40 designs submitted because every single designer wanted to contribute meaningfully.
How did you select the final artwork for the collection?
JA: This movement is based on hearing what people have to say. So we wanted to take the voices of the community and use that language on the shirts. One powerful example is “Love black people the way you love black culture.” Culture is our brand DNA. Culture is our brand statement. It felt really personal to us. It is our culture to support something like this.
Derrick Jones Jr.
I understand proceeds from the collection will be donated?
JA: Yes, we picked three local organizations that would allow us to affect change in our own backyard: Black Girls Code, Health in the Hood, and the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition.
Udonis Haslem + Bam Adebayo
Amazing. How do you respond to people who say things like, politics don’t belong in sports?
JA: People look to sports as an escape and whether it is this movement of our initiative to drive voter registration—we are not to going to take a back seat here. [When people say things like politics don’t belong in sport] that is an example of people avoiding tough conversations. We want to use our platform to move the movement forward and not ignore it. None of us want to look back on this moment and think that we didn’t do our part, that we missed something.
Photography by: courtesy of Miami HEAT/Terek Pierce