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Saturday, August 16, 2008

Mourning Surprises Oldest Living HEAT Fan

By DeAndré Phillips

Even with a wealth of life experiences, there are still a few things that can catch long-time HEAT fan Sarah Wiseman by surprise. One of those things happened on Wednesday when HEAT center Alonzo Mourning made a surprise visit to the Miami Jewish Home and Hospital at Douglas Gardens to attend her 102nd birthday celebration. Wiseman, whose birthday is on Saturday, is believed to be the oldest living HEAT fan. During the HEAT’s inaugural season in 1988, Wiseman was 81-years young. Since the team’s first-ever game, she has rarely missed a HEAT game on TV.

Wiseman said that meeting the seven-time NBA All-Star was totally unexpected and an opportunity of a lifetime.

“I didn’t think (the party) would be that elaborate,” she said.” I thought I would shake hands with the well-wishers and that would be it. Oh, yes (I will remember this forever).”

Members of the HEAT Entertainment Team, including Burnie, the HEAT Dancers, and Inferno from the Xtreme Team were also in attendance to provide entertainment. Among the gifts presented by Mourning was a No. 33 HEAT jersey with the birthday girl’s last name stitched on the back. He also led in the singing of “Happy Birthday.”

“You can look at her as the leader of the fan base that we have,” said Mourning. “It’s truly an honor to be here to celebrate her 102nd birthday. God knows, I hope I live that long and see all the ups and downs of the HEAT. I’m happy to be a part of the organization to experience these types of moments. This is what it’s all about.”

Mourning also invited her to sit front row at an upcoming HEAT home game.

“If she’s supported us this long, I think she deserves a front-row seat to a game,” he said.

The two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year was also impressed by the soon-to-be 102-year old’s youthful glow.

“She’s alert, very aware of her surroundings,” he said. “It’s amazing. She looks great. I told her she doesn’t look a day over 50.”

So what is Wiseman’s secret to longevity?

“Clean living,” she said.