Sports

Tyler Herro Has the Right to Act Like a Celebrity, Because He Is One

Tyler Herro, before his celebrity.
Tyler Herro, before his celebrity. Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty
According to a report by Ethan Skolnick of the Five Reasons Sports Network, a local podcast affiliate, there's a "75 percent chance or better" that Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro will be traded this offseason. The report builds on some whispers fans heard back in April that the team was becoming concerned with Herro's borderline celebrity off-the-court persona. The franchise reportedly wishes he would keep a lower profile.

Imagine that: an NBA player with millions of fans acting like he's famous.

Reprehensible. Downright sickening.

If the report is true, it's odd, to say the least. The Heat would need to take a hard look in the mirror and evaluate how it has handled Herro, because much of his celebrity is the team's own doing. From the moment it drafted Herro wearing the most Miami suit ever to its constant promotion of his confidence, the Heat has thrown logs on the fire of his fame.


The Heat needed every bit of star power once Dwyane Wade retired, and knew it. Tyler Herro filled that void, but now the front office is apparently mad about it.

Not mad enough to stop selling shirts with his Finals snarl on it, though. Or to quit posting images that highlight the personality that makes Herro such a popular spokesman instead of photos of his jump shot.
The Heat celebrated Herro's swagger last year when he was one of the main cogs in a team that made an improbable NBA Finals run, but somehow, that same confidence is off-putting after a season that failed, in part because of front-office failures.

The Heat might still be in the playoffs right now if some of its failed off-season free-agency signings, like Avery Bradley and Moe Harkless, were good enough on the court to land some commercial spots. Maybe the Heat should remind itself of the drama Meyers Leonard put the team through after he was caught spouting anti-Semitic slurs while online gaming before worrying about Herro being the face of NBA Top Shot.

In his second year with the Heat, Herro averaged 15.1 points, 5 rebounds, and 3.4 assists per game while shooting 43.9 percent overall and 36 percent from the three. Outside of a small dip in three-point accuracy, all those numbers are actually improvements over his rookie year.

Statistically, Herro improved in his second year, just not enough for the haters. Just not enough for those who heard on Twitter that the team wouldn't trade him for James Harden, even though the true hangup in that deal was that the Houston Rockets wanted half of the Heat roster, plus a slew of future draft picks.
It's unclear what seems to be bothering the Heat most about Herro's off-the-court business. Whether the last straw was seeing Herro score his own cereal brand or Chipotle giving him a signature burrito bowl, none of it makes much sense. Maybe the franchise hates Jack Harlow's music that much and seeing the rap artist name a song after Herro infuriated the powers that be. It's tough to pinpoint which "celebrity" act sent them over the edge.

Some fans have speculated that the turning point was Herro's relationship with Instagram fitness model Katya Elise Henry, who recently announced they are expecting a child. That would seem like an odd line for a team to draw in the sand, especially when the team's star, Jimmy Butler, has been linked to numerous actual celebrities in the past and the team's head coach, Erik Spoelstra, himself married an ex-Miami Heat cheerleader.

Make any of it make sense. Tyler Herro has never had his work ethic questioned since joining the Heat, so it's hard to see why any of this is an issue now.

While it's unclear how the Heat went from promoting "Tyler Tuesday" on social media to complaining that he's become "too much" of a celebrity in a matter of months, what is clear is that the franchise is perfectly fine with Herro using his celebrity status for good. Herro and assistant coach Chris Quinn represented the team on the scene of the Surfside disaster this past week, bringing supplies to first responders and brightening spirits.
To be sure, Herro looked lost at times in his sophomore season. He went entire months without contributing much and was quickly moved to the bench early in the season.

But the entire Heat team also looked lost at times. Having an offseason that was a half-year shorter than some of the competition certainly caught up to the players. The Heat, as a team, looked jet-lagged all season.

Being too popular too fast off the basketball court has had nothing to do with Tyler Herro's growth on the court. It likely had much more to do with the expectations the team and the fans had for a player barely two years removed from his high school prom.

The Heat is free to trade Tyler Herro this offseason if that's what it thinks is best for the team. But leaking to the media that it was a necessity because of his endorsements and popularity will only make the team look out of touch.

The Heat has multiple decisions that involve many hundreds of millions of dollars this offseason. Deciding whether Tyler Herro needs to sit down and be more humble shouldn't be one of them. 
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Ryan Yousefi is a freelance writer for Miami New Times, a lover of sports, and an expert consumer of craft beer and pho. Hanley Ramirez once stole a baseball from him and to this day still owes him $10.
Contact: Ryan Yousefi