MIAMI -- Sports fans find many ways to show their team colors. Some go to extremes, like Martin Reese.
The 28-year-old artist based in Daytona Beach turned his 1983 Mercedes-Benz into a mobile mural for the team in just a few days. Despite not having game tickets, Reese drove nearly 300 miles to Miami with the sole mission to share his devotion with other fans.
Playbook caught up with Reese just moments after the Heat won the championship on Thursday night.
What prompted you to do this to your car?
I love the arts and I love sports, so a few years ago I found a way to mesh them together and I created the “Immaculate Mercedes” for the Steelers. I believed that the fans in Miami would enjoy seeing their Heat displayed and expressed in such a fashion. LeBron [James] is my favorite player and I wanted to create a work of art that really expressed the passion for the game that he, [Dwyane] Wade, and [Chris] Bosh show while also representing the city’s atmosphere.
How long did this whole process take?
It took about 100 hours. I began last Wednesday [June 13] and finished Monday. Some painting sessions lasted 24 hours. I really wanted to have the car done by Game 3 but weather became a factor.
Is this your regular, everyday vehicle?
It’s my daily car until the Heat fans stop waving, honking and most importantly, smiling... which at this point may never happen!
When did you become a Heat fan?
I have been a LeBron fan for a long time but ironically was a Sonics fan growing up. When the team moved to Oklahoma, I was stuck in limbo for a while. I like Kevin Durant but after spending the sleepless nights creating this mural, I think I have become a Heat fan for life.
What has been reaction around Miami to your car?
I have received nothing but love from the city and the fans, even the OKC faithful. I hope that I can take part in the championship parade!
Have you done anything like this before?
I have done this for three events so far. I got the first idea to paint my car two days before Super Bowl XLIV. I painted it half for the Saints and half for the Colts and drove it down for the festivities. I loved the reactions of the fans and saw how much they appreciated the artwork. I was lucky to have my NFL team, the Steelers, go to the next Super Bowl so I completed the car and drove it out to Dallas. This year, another perfect scenario presented itself and I jumped on the opportunity.
Is this your most extreme showing of fandom?
Definitely. But who knows what the next big idea will be?
Do you feel you were a good-luck charm for the Heat?
I do feel like this journey brought energy to the city and the fans but I'm not a believer in luck. I’m a believer in faith and hard work. The Heat and their fans have shown me both.