While in Washington D.C. this week for a visit with President Obama, reigning NBA champs the Miami Heat made a surprising stop. Players on the team visited the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum the evening before meeting with the president, taking a tour and staying for two hours.
The visit was arranged by Ray Allen, the Heat’s shooting guard, who brought his wife and children. “Anytime I’ve had time in D.C., I’ve taken my teams to the museum. When you see that, it gives you more compassion,” Allen said.
Andres Abril, the museum’s mid-atlantic regional director, met Allen when he was playing for the Boston Celtics and brought his teammates at the time to the museum. Abril, a longtime Celtics fan, was on hand that day to give the tour. He said he believed Allen has been to the museum six times at this point.
Joining Allen on Monday night were teammates Lebron James, Udonis Haslem, Shane Battier, Roger Mason Jr., Joel Anthony, and James Jones, with their wives and girlfriends. The Heat’s head coach Erik Spoelstra and general manager Andy Elisburg were also in attendance. It was the first visit to the museum for most of the players, many of whom were visibly moved by the exhibitions.
“Ray is a really, really impressive guy,” Abril said, citing Allen’s longtime personal commitment to the museum. “He really appreciates the fact that he can share this with his teammates.”
Stephanie Butnick is deputy editor of Tablet Magazine and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.