Miami Heat's 'Secret Santa' Latest Show of Their Unusual Unity

Ethan SkolnickNBA Senior WriterDecember 16, 2013

LeBron James/ Instagram

MIAMI — The Miami Heat's family photo album keeps cyberspace.

The latest was broadcast to the world on Monday morning, again via LeBron James' Instagram account, with 15 players holding the gift each had been given by another teammate.

How did this "Secret Santa" come about? 

"I was one of the culprits," James said prior to Monday's game against the Utah Jazz. "I never take full credit for anything, but I was definitely one of the ones. It was something we did when I was in Cleveland as well. I thought it was a pretty good thing to do. We had success for the first time."

A couple of weeks ago, all 15 players drew a name out of a hat.

"You had to get to know something about your teammate, and get a nice gift," Roger Mason Jr. said.

With one rule.

"There was a limit on price," James said. "You couldn't go below a certain number."

"It was a pretty reasonable minimum," Dwyane Wade said. "Some people went to the minimum. Some people went above."

Everyone did a little exploring. And then, since they couldn't give their targets away, everyone did some guessing.

Mason drew Greg Oden.

"I'm a tech guy and I had a hunch that he was," said Mason, who bought Bang & Olufsen speakers for the big man. "My hunch was right."

Mason was surprised to get art from Michael Beasley: a money-themed painting he commissioned to a Miami artist. Mason's nickname is "Money Mase."

"It wasn't the most expensive," Beasley said. "It wasn't cheap at all, don't get me wrong. But it wasn't a Louis Vuitton bag."

Beasley smiled.

"I got the Louis Vuitton bag," said Beasley.

That came from Rashard Lewis, a man who, after earning over $100 million in his career, certainly has the means to afford it.

Shane Battier, naturally, thought long and hard about what to get one of the most introspective teammates he's had. He eventually settled on getting Chris Bosh a telescope, so Bosh could explore outside as well.

"The kind of gift that not many NBA players have," Battier said.

Battier got some choice wine from Mario Chalmers.

"Mario came very strong," Battier said. "He knows my love for the red stuff."

"Everybody likes each other," Beasley explained. "Not to say I didn't like my past teammates. But we make it sort of a priority to put our family first, and I say family, I mean us. You think about it, we see each other more than we see our own kids sometimes. You're going to be around guys this long, sometimes you're going to get tired of them, but that's what a family's about, getting through the little ups and downs, realizing the big picture. We all love each other, we love to be around each other, it's just easy. You don't get that a whole lot."

What you do get from the Heat are photos.

Lots of photos.

There was the group Thanksgiving photo at James' house, the playful one of the players in costume in New York City on Halloween and the powerful one of the players in hoodies, in support of Trayvon Martin.

"We just like capturing moments," James said. "By us taking photos, it's things that we can look back on, when we're all done, and be able to relive some moments. It's pretty cool that we have a close-knit group. I mean, all 15 guys are there. So it just shows how close we are."

Wade said he wished the Heat had even more group footage.

"Because we do understand that one day, this would be a great story to tell," he said. "These years that we spent together, one day we won't have these bodies that we have, these good looks that we have. There's a lot of things one day that we won't have, 15 years, 20 years down the line. And you would like to look back at it, and be able to enjoy it."