The NBA Finals kick off Thursday night, and Miami Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel finds himself torn between rooting for his hometown Denver Nuggets or adopted-town Miami Heat.
"I was born and raised in Denver and cheered for the Nuggets forever," McDaniel said Wednesday, via the team's official transcript.
The Nuggets take on the Heat in a best-of-seven series that starts Thursday night in the Mile High City.
McDaniel, an only child with one child right now, joked that his feelings must be like parenting multiple children.
"I imagine it being like a parent with a couple of kids where, of course, you love all your kids, but don't you love one more?" he said, laughing.
McDaniel has been courtside for Heat games this season, as well as the NHL's Florida Panthers, who made the Stanley Cup Finals in an unprecedented run for South Beach sports teams.
While he hails from Denver and loves the Nuggets, McDaniel suggested he's leaning toward rooting for the Heat.
"Realistically, when it comes down to it, the stuff that I've been able to really get access to with the Heat coaching staff led by Spo (Erik Spoelstra) last summer," he said. "Getting to know them, following their journey and getting to know the people you know I've become extremely invested. So I don't lose any sleep by saying you know what, Denver Nuggets, why don't we wait 48 years? Not 47. So that's kind of where I stand on that."
I'm curious if his response would have been the same if he was standing in front of the Denver media instead of the Miami guild wearing Dolphins gear.
"But really, I think it's really cool," he continued of the NBA Finals matchup. "It is odd that the two teams you probably follow as close as anything, you're rooting for one and somebody has to lose. But I'm really excited in particular for just the (NBA) Finals in general because I think both teams in the Finals represent what's really cool about sports, because they have had to scratch, claw, fight tooth and nail to get in the position they're at in their own respective journeys. So I have no doubt in my mind that both fan bases, both teams, no one's going to take anything for granted. We're going to have elite schematic coaching from both sides and you're going to have to earn whatever comes here. So I think from a sports fan perspective, it's as cool as it gets and I'm excited to see what the Heat can do."
With the Heat and Panthers making their perspective leagues' finals, the Dolphins have a high bar to match this season for Miami sports.