Earlier in May, a young man by the name of Oscar Rosales and his family lost their home and all of their belongings in a tragic fire. Rosales, a lifelong Miami Heat fan from Elgin, South Carolina, lost his entire collection of Heat memorabilia, including 14 jerseys. Rosales was the subject of a tweet from Chloe Carlson (@ChloeCarlson_TV) to try and spread the word around the Miami Heat community in order to capture the attention of the Heat.
The original tweet accumulated about 500 retweets, 1,000 likes and countless attention from Heat and NBA fans alike.
“When [Carlson] first tweeted at the Miami Heat in regards to my situation, I had kind of looked at it for a little bit, it was late at night,” Rosales told Hot Hot Hoops. “It had minimal interaction so I was like ‘It’s still cool that they’re trying to do something, if it happens it happens, if it doesn’t it doesn’t. But then, the next morning when I woke up it had jumped from 23 retweets to like 500 retweets, 700 likes and I was like ‘Whoa, what is going on?’ It was insanity.”
Rosales began seriously watching the Heat in 2008 when Dwyane Wade cemented himself as a South Florida icon in the 2008-09 season.
Rosales’ long-time dedication to the team and diehard fandom paid off when the tweet eventually circulated to the Heat. Miami sent Rosales a jersey for every player on the roster aside from the two-way contract players, an extra signed Bam Adebayo jersey, a signed Wade jersey, a personalized Vice Wave jersey, a basketball signed by most of the team, a signed Adebayo poster and a personalized card from the Heat team.
“Oscar, your Miami Heat family is thinking of you,” Rosales’ card read. “We hope this new jersey collection puts a smile on your face.”
“It was all so surreal,” Rosales said. “I couldn’t believe it. I knew teams could go big or go home, but I never expected it to be at the magnitude that it was. I still haven’t gotten over it. I race home from work just to look at the ball and hold a jersey or something, it’s crazy.”
Wade is Rosales’ all-time favorite player, and the team sent him the signed throwback jersey with that information.
“That one really caught me off guard,” Rosales said. “I thought ‘Oh a throwback, maybe it’s Alonzo Mourning or something.’ and then I saw D-Wade on the back and I saw the signature on the back and I was like ‘Oh my gosh I have to frame this as soon as possible.’”
Currently, Rosales enjoys watching the contending team and seeing another guy with Carolina ties in Adebayo help lead the team.
“My favorite currently on the team is Bam Adebayo,” Rosales said. “I always played the big man position but all I ever did was rebound and pass and I just like the way he plays, he’s athletic, versatile and leads the team in any and every way he can.”
Rosales is not the only family that the Miami Heat has helped during this difficult time. Roughly a month and a half ago, Miami Heat Beat writer Nekias Duncan (@NekiasNBA) lost most of his personal belongings in a house fire that displaced his family.
With help from Heat Twitter, Duncan was able to raise $18,295 to go towards replacement fees. Heat general manager Andy Elisberg and center Meyers Leonard noticed the GoFundMe page and donated a combined $1,750.
“I retweeted [Duncan]’s stuff when it happened,” Rosales said. “Once that stuff happened to me and I started getting attention, I was like ‘What are the odds? People from the Carolinas that are centered around the Heat, similar stuff happening.’”
Social media has the power to bring people from all around the world together, and the Miami Heat family’s bond is a strong one.
“It’s been incredible,” Rosales said. “I’ve always had a decent following but I’ve never had a bunch of interaction. I got people from Germany, Brazil, Nebraska contacting me, people from New York sending my family money for lunch. All the love from South Florida has been crazy. I’m so thankful for anyone that shared, donated, gave words of encouragement or love and support. I just can’t get over just how incredible it’s been.”
You can check out Rosales’s impressive new collection for yourself by following his Twitter page @_Oscarito08.