Feb 17, 2023; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Miami Heat mascot Burnie during the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game at Huntsman Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Down to their last breath against the Nikola Jokić-led Denver Nuggets, the Miami Heat can’t like their chances heading into Monday night’s NBA Finals Game 5. However, if the Heat do live to see another day, forcing a Game 6 on their home court Thursday night, their beloved mascot Burnie will be ready to roll.

If you missed it Friday night, Burnie found himself on the receiving end of a stunt gone wrong, taking an absolute beating at the hands of UFC legend Conor McGregor, who was at the game on behalf of TIDL Sport, a “plant-powered” cryotherapy spray used for pain relief.

In the aftermath, Burnie was taken to a local hospital, where doctors treated him for minor injuries.

“That’s the Miami Heat toughness we’re talking about,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra told the media at Sunday’s press conference. “We won’t reveal who that is, but he can take a punch and get back up. He’s not going to miss any time.”

The Heat can only hope to be as resilient as their mascot, surviving a pair of ruthless body blows from one of the most feared fighters in UFC.

While not impossible, the odds are not in Miami’s favor with only 13 instances in NBA history of a team overcoming a 3-1 series deficit. Only once has that happened in the Finals, with the Cleveland Cavaliers stunning the Golden State Warriors in 2016.

About Jesse Pantuosco

Jesse Pantuosco joined Awful Announcing as a contributing writer in May 2023. He’s also written for Audacy and NBC Sports. A graduate of Syracuse’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications with a master’s degree in creative writing from Fairfield University, Pantuosco has won three Fantasy Sports Writers Association Awards. He lives in West Hartford, Connecticut and never misses a Red Sox, Celtics or Patriots game.