by Susan Twombly, April 2009
This NBA season may be over, but the excitement may live on forever with one very lucky Miami HEAT fan. As winner of the HP Insider contest, 19-year-old Jhoan Rodriguez got a week of behind-the-scenes access to his favorite basketball team and a lifetime’s worth of memories.
Jhoan’s HP Insider experience began courtside on Dec 12 at the AmericanAirlines Arena, home to the HEAT, and continued throughout the week as he enjoyed an unprecedented sneak peak into team activities.
“I’m still in a state of shock and disbelief about being given this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Jhoan says. “I wouldn’t have traded the experience for anything else in the world.”
Jhoan used free HP technology to capture the action and share his greatest moments in his blog every night – turning his dream into digital reality for other HEAT fans.
The contest, which began in October, invited Miami HEAT fans to submit a video about why they should be named the first HP Insider. To promote the opportunity to residents, a “living insider” silhouette, dressed in head-to-toe black, mysteriously appeared in busy city areas, in ads and the AmericanAirlines Arena, home to the Miami HEAT.
Only one figure would be seen at a time, representing the one lucky blank space to be filled by the winner. Adding to the suspense, the silent silhouette handed out black business cards to drive fans to a website or retail stores to learn more about how to enter the contest.
Teaming with digital possibilities
The HP Insider award is just one of the ways the NBA is working with HP to leverage digital technology and enhance the overall gaming experience for basketball fans.
Jhoan first heard about the contest during a broadcast of a HEAT game.
“I immediately went to the HEAT's website and saw the promotion right there,” he says. “As I found out more about the contest, I got encouraged to do a little rap on why the HEAT is my favorite team and why I am their number one fan.”
That encouragement paid off. Out of nearly 100 video entries, Jhoan’s was the last and best.
“I had never won anything in my life before, so I thought my chances were pretty slim,” says Jhoan. “Imagine how surprised and excited I was when I got the call. Now, thinking back, I knew my life would never be the same again.”
Jhoan’s experience began as he reported to fans live at the HEAT vs. Atlanta Hawks game. The awestruck Jhoan used the products he won – an HP Pavilion dv4z series mobility notebook, an HP PhotoSmart C8180 All-in-One Printer and an HP PhotoSmart digital camera – to chronicle and share his experiences with bloggers.
“I was committed to keeping fans updated on all the scoops and inside events that go on behind closed doors that make the Miami HEAT one of the best,” he says. “HP technology made it easy.”
The action-packed days continued with two other courtside home games, an arena tour, a press conference, travel to the Memphis Grizzlies game and dinner with head coach Erik Spoelstra. After a locker-room visit to meet the team, Jhoan came face-to-face with his favorite HEAT alumni, Alonzo Mourning, at a charity event.
Jhoan said goodbye to online fans after the HEAT beat the Lakers on Day 7. “All good things must come to an end,” he wrote as his last blog entry after the winning game. “But there could not have been a better script written to finalize the most amazing week of my life.”
Watch for more opportunities to jump into the NBA gaming experience. And remember … if you see a curious black-clad figure lurking around your town in tights, it may just be your chance to make a dream come true. Because the next HP Insider contest could be held on
your home court.