Alum turned Heat announcer

Photo Courtesy of Michael Baiamonte

Sanah Faroke/Staff Writer

Photo Courtesy of Michael Baiamonte

Miami Heat fans attend the basketball games for the “Heat experience,” but they might overlook an important member on the sidelines. He’s amongst the crowd, cheering for our team and encouraging fans. Miami Heat’s public address announcer and University alum, Michael Baiamonte, brings “the noise.”

Known as The Voice and as one of the most recognizable voices in the South Florida sports market, Baiamonte has stuck with the team through injuries and triple doubles. And he is excited for the great things the team is going to do this season.

“I’m always expecting great things for the Heat,” said Baiamonte. “I am looking forward to being a part of it— a very small, but very fun part of the home games.”

Regardless of how small of an impact Baiamonte believes he has on the game, his signature phrases like, “Stand up and make some noise for your Miami Heat,” “Too many steps,” or “Dos minutos (two minutes)” really draw the crowd in. His enthusiasm is contagious throughout the game.

“The team wanted me to come up with some idea of a call to action, something to ask the fans to do in order to recognize and greet the team. I thought [of things that] might sound good, that would be easy to say, but not be a lot of words.”

The reaction Baiamonte got the first time he said “Stand up and make some noise,” was not the reaction he receives today.

“The first time I did it, no one did anything. Nobody stood up, nobody made noise, nobody did anything, but the organization liked the way it sounded.”

The phrase “Dos minutos” is dedicated to a huge Heat fan base — Hispanics.

“[At a production meeting], the idea came up: ‘Can we interject a little bit of Spanish into the game?’ The best thing we could do was to keep it simple as possible for everybody, whether you speak Spanish or you don’t speak Spanish.

I said, ‘Well, why don’t we try ‘two minutes.’ It’s a very common call; everybody knows it in the game of basketball. Let’s do it in English and then I’ll repeat it in Spanish and we’ll see if people pick up on it.”

“It’s funny because, probably more often than The Voice now, people will come up to me and say, ‘You’re the Dos Minutos guy.’”

When asked how many nicknames he has had over the course of 21 years, Baiamonte laughed.

“Yes, I have a few,” he responded. “Depending on what fan base you have, some might not be very nice. The Knicks fans, for example, may not have [nice names for me], but that’s okay.”

His nickname, The Voice, was actually bestowed on him while studying business at the University from 1981 to 1986.

Beginning his sports announcing at Gulliver Prep, he went on to the University and was the first basketball announcer for the male team in 1981.

Before fully dedicating himself to sports announcing, Baiamonte figured that a traditional degree was best and that he could do sports announcing on the side. While he tried juggling sports announcing for the University and his day job at the insurance business, he made his big break with the Miami Heat.

“When I started at FIU, I didn’t have any idea whatsoever that I’d be where I am 30 years later.”

Fully devoted to being the Heat’s public address announcer, he also volunteers his services to United Way, Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic and Miami Children’s Hospital.

“The thing is, I enjoy doing it,” said Baiamonte. “I am very, very, fortunate to work in South Florida. The South Florida community has been great to me as an announcer and it just feels right to be able to do something to help the community because they really support me.”

With a job like that of a public address announcer, things are hectic, challenging and exciting. There is a time for work and a time for play, but Baiamonte has the best of both worlds— literally.

“My favorite thing has always been the interaction with the fans. Sitting at one of the best seats in the building and watching some of the greatest players in the world play is not so bad either,” said Baiamonte.

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