The Miami Heat is a professional basketball team based in Miami, Florida, United States. The team is a member of the Southeast Division in the Eastern Conference of the National Basketball Association (NBA). They play their home games at American Airlines Arena in Downtown Miami. The team is owned by Micky Arison, coached by Erik Spoelstra and are managed by Basketball Hall of Fame coach Pat Riley.
The Heat were formed in 1988 as an expansion franchise along with the Charlotte Hornets and they along with the Orlando Magic are the only two NBA franchises to represent the state of Florida. Since then, Miami has fielded squads that have made the playoffs 15 out of 23 seasons, captured eight division titles and won the 2006 NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks 4–2. According to Forbes Magazine, in 2010 the value of the franchise was $425 million.<ref>"NBA Team Valuations - Miami Heat", Forbes Magazine, January 26, 2011. Retrieved on 21 February 2011. </ref>
1987-1990: Birth of the Heat
In Florida, a state devoid of NBA franchises, groups from Orlando, Tampa/St. Petersburg and Miami all vied to land franchises. The Miami Sports and Exhibition Authority eventually endorsed a group led by NBA Hall of Famer Billy Cunningham and former sports agent (and lifelong friend of Cunningham's) Lewis Schaffel, who received their financial backing from Carnival Cruise Lines founder Ted Arison, who would be majority owner. Day-to-day operations would be handled by minority shareholders Cunningham and Schaffel.
In April 1987, the NBA expansion committee endorsed the bids of the cities of Charlotte and Minneapolis. However, the committee was split between awarding the third and final franchise to Miami or Orlando, causing representatives from both cities to toss barbs at the other. Finally, it was decided that the NBA would expand by 4 teams, with the Charlotte Hornets and Miami Heat debuting for the 1988–89 season and the Minnesota Timberwolves and Orlando Magic beginning for the 1989–90 season.<ref>The Heat Group - Company History. Fundinguniverse.com. Retrieved on 2009-11-09.</ref> At the survey for the choice of the name, Miami Heat defeated Miami Vice, the famous detective show set among the palms of South Beach.
The Heat came into the NBA for the 1988–89 season with an unproductive first year, with a roster full of young players and journeymen. Among the players on the inaugural roster were first round picks Rony Seikaly and Kevin Edwards, fellow rookies Grant Long and Sylvester Gray as well as NBA vets Rory Sparrow, Jon Sundvold, Pat Cummings, Scott Hastings, Dwayne "Pearl" Washington and Billy Thompson. The team started out the season by losing its first 17 games, including a blowout 138-91, to Magic Johnson's Los Angeles Lakers, at the time an NBA record. It did not help that the Heat were placed in the Midwest Division of the Western Conference, in defiance of all geographic reality. This forced them on the longest road trips in the NBA; their nearest divisional opponent was the Houston Rockets, over 900 miles from Miami. The team ultimately finished with a league-worst 15–67 win-loss record (tied for worst season in franchise history).
To help address Miami's league-low point production, the Heat picked Glen Rice from the University of Michigan in the first round of the 1989 NBA Draft, and Sherman Douglas of Syracuse University in the 2nd round. The team also moved to the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference for the 1989–90 season, where they would remain for the next 15 years. However, the Heat continued to struggle and never won more than two consecutive games, en route to an 18–64 record.
The 1989–90 season saw Miami awarded with the 3rd pick overall, only to parlay via two trades (first with the Denver Nuggets and later with the Houston Rockets) into getting the 9th and 12th picks, with which they selected Willie Burton of the University of Minnesota and Alec Kessler of the University of Georgia. Both picks flopped, as the Heat tried to turn Burton, a college small forward, into a shooting guard without much success and Kessler was bogged by injury problems and was not physical enough to be a quality NBA power forward.
While Rice, Seikaly and Douglas all showed improvement from the previous year, Miami still only went 24–58 and remained in the Atlantic Division basement. Rothstein would resign as head coach at the end of the season, but later would return to the Heat prior to the 2004-05 season as an assistant coach, a role he still fulfills today.
1991-1995: Mediocrity years
In the wake of Rothstein's resignation prior to the 1991–92 season, the Heat hired Kevin Loughery, who had 29 years of experience in the NBA both as a coach and a player, to be their new head coach.
For the 1991 NBA Draft, the team selected Steve Smith from Michigan State, an agile guard, to usher in a new era of a mature Heat team. With the help of rookie Smith, Rony Seikaly, and a more experienced Glen Rice, the Heat finished in fourth place in the Atlantic Division with a 38–44 record even with a shocking defeat against the Cleveland Cavaliers 148-80. and made the playoffs for the first time. Playing the league-best Chicago Bulls, the Heat were swept in three games. Steve Smith made the NBA All-Rookie team and Glen Rice finished 10th in the NBA in scoring.
The 1992-93 NBA season included the additions of draft choice Harold Miner of the University of Southern California as well as trading a 1st round pick (which would turn into the #10 overall pick the following season) for Detroit Pistons forward/center John Salley.
While Salley's addition was first met with hope because of the role that he played on two championship Pistons squads, it became quickly apparent that Salley was a quality role player for a good team, but not a quality player for a mediocre team like Miami was at the time. Salley would eventually have his playing time diminish, ultimately resulting in his being taken by the Toronto Raptors in the 1995 expansion draft. As for the season itself, it started off poorly, with Smith missing time with a knee injury and Burton being lost for most of the year with a wrist injury. Upon Smith's return, Miami posted a winning record in February and March, but it was not enough to dig themselves out of the 13–27 hole they began in. They finished 36–46 and would not return to the playoffs.
A healthier squad fared better in 1993–94, posting the franchise's first-ever winning record at 42–40 and returning to the playoffs as the #8 seed versus the Atlanta Hawks. After Miami had a 2-1 series lead, Atlanta rallied from the deficit to win the best-of-5 series. After that season, Steve Smith would be selected as a member of the 2nd Dream Team, the collection of NBA All-Stars who were selected to compete in the 1994 FIBA World Championship in Toronto as Team USA.
Dream Team II, also made up of future Heat players Shaquille O'Neal, Alonzo Mourning, Dan Majerle and Tim Hardaway, would go on to win the tournament. In 1994–95, the team overhauled their roster, trading away Seikaly, Smith, and Grant Long. In return, the Heat obtained Kevin Willis and Billy Owens.
Also, at this time came a changing of ownership in Heat's front office. On 13 February 1995 Cunningham and Lew Schaffel were bought out by the Arison family of Carnival Cruise Lines fame, who to that point in time had been silent partners in the day-to-day operations of the franchise. Ted Arison's son, Micky Arison, was named Managing General Partner. He immediately fired Loughery and replaced him with Alvin Gentry on an interim basis to try and shake up the 17–29 Heat. Gentry went 15–21 for the remaining 36 games of the season for a 32–50 record overall, 10 games off the previous year's mark, in that season the Heat got their best win of franchise history when they beat the Los Angeles Clippers 126-83.
1995-2002: Arrival of Pat Riley and Alonzo Mourning
From 1994 to 1997, the Miami Heat sought relocation plans in case the city of Miami resisted a standard facility for the team. Alternative cities were discussed: Las Vegas, Memphis, Tennessee (now the home of the Memphis Grizzlies), St. Louis and San Diego. Just when the Miami Heat was struggling to win and stay put, a new era arrived to take them to a new decade of possibilities.
In the 1995 offseason, the Heat hired Pat Riley from the 1980s Los Angeles Lakers and the 1990s New York Knicks to be the team's new president and head coach after he resigned immediately following the 1994-1995 season. Riley dropped a bombshell the night before the season began, sending Glen Rice and Matt Geiger (among others) to the Hornets in exchange for All-Star center Alonzo Mourning. In a flurry of midseason deals, Riley acquired several players including Tim Hardaway, Chris Gatling and Walt Williams. The Heat finished with a winning record with Mourning among the league leaders in scoring and rebounding, but lost in the playoffs in a 3-game sweep against the 72–10 Bulls.
The following season, the Heat were the NBA's biggest surprise, and the league's most improved team, made a 19-game improvement in the standings, winning their first-ever Atlantic Division title with a 61–21 record, failing to score even a streak of 11 straight wins. Playing a key role were new additions Dan Majerle, P.J. Brown, Jamal Mashburn, and Voshon Lenard. They took out Riley's former team in seven games, rallying from a 3–1 series deficit, partly due to several Knicks players leaving the bench (leading to several suspensions) during a fight that occurred between P.J. Brown and Charlie Ward after Ward was body-slammed by the usually mild-mannered Brown, leading to a brawl. The Heat were however ousted from the playoffs in five games (after falling into a 3–0 series deficit) by the Bulls led by Michael Jordan for the second consecutive year, this time in the Eastern Conference Finals.
The Heat celebrated their 10-year anniversary in the 1997–98 season and captured their second straight Atlantic Division title. However, in what would become a heated rivalry, the Heat lost in the first round against coach Riley's former team, the New York Knicks after Mourning would miss the deciding Game 5 via suspension after getting into a Game 4 altercation with Larry Johnson and with Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy hanging onto Mourning's leg in an attempt to intervene.
1998-99 was a lockout-shortened season, although Miami would have a conference-best 33-17 record to claim their first-ever #1 seed in the NBA Playoffs. In spite of their seeding, the Heat would lose to the Knicks led by Patrick Ewing again after Allan Houston hit a rim-bouncing game-winning jumper in Game 5 to decide the series. The Cinderella story Knicks would go on to play in the 1999 NBA Finals, losing to the San Antonio Spurs.
As a result of their success on the court, the Heat moved into the American Airlines Arena in 1999, with seats for over 20,500 fans. The Heat again lost in a deciding Game 7 to the Knicks by a single point.
During the summer of 2000, the Heat felt it finally needed a change. After losing out to the Orlando Magic to get Raptors swingman Tracy McGrady, Miami decided to trade P.J. Brown and Jamal Mashburn to the Charlotte Hornets (among others) in exchange for Eddie Jones, Anthony Mason and Ricky Davis. Miami also picked up Brian Grant to go along with the core of Mourning, Hardaway, Majerle, Bowen and Carter. The Heat was widely expected to be the favorites in the Eastern Conference until franchise-centerpiece Alonzo Mourning returned from the 2000 Olympics to announce he would miss the entire season due to a rare kidney disorder, known as focal glomerulosclerosis.
The Heat missed Mourning for 69 games in 2000-01, yet found success with Anthony Mason, who was named to his first All-Star game as a reserve. Brian Grant, Eddie Jones and Tim Hardaway also played well for the Heat. Alonzo Mourning returned with 13 games remaining. He was a shell of his former, MVP-candidate self and Miami was swept by the Charlotte Hornets in the first round, the same team that Miami acquired Eddie Jones and Anthony Mason from the previous summer, and Alonzo Mourning in that same year.
The following two seasons were two of the darkest in Heat history. Pat Riley missed the playoffs for the first time in his coaching career, and much of the remaining core from the division-title winning Heat teams of the late 1990s departed (Tim Hardaway, Bruce Bowen and Dan Majerle).
Miami rounded out its 2001-02 season roster with players well past their prime such as Rod Strickland, Chris Gatling, Jim Jackson, LaPhonso Ellis and Kendall Gill along with Mourning, Jones, Grant and Carter, whom the Heat signed to a controversial three-year deal that many said was far too much for the young guard. And to acquire Gatling, Riley and the Heat traded away Ricky Davis, a young, promising player. The trade drew a lot of criticism at the time. The Heat also signed two young, undrafted players in Malik Allen and Mike James to make up for not having a first-round pick in the draft. Miami also signed Vladimir Stepania to back up Alonzo Mourning at center. The aging, veteran team narrowly missed out on the playoffs, despite having a losing record at 36-46.
Unlike the 2001-02 season, Miami began to rebuild in 2002-03. The Heat drafted Caron Butler in the first round and Rasual Butler in the second round of the 2002 NBA Draft. Miami supposedly missed out on potentially selecting Yao Ming by one ping-pong ball during the draft lottery. Alonzo Mourning missed the entire season due to his condition worsening and Eddie Jones also missed a huge portion of the season with an ankle injury. Miami signed Travis Best to be the starting point guard. The Heat was led by Caron Butler and many of the youthful players that have filled out the Heat's roster since 2000 including Eddie House, Carter, Stepania, Allen and James. The Heat finished 25-57 to end the 2002-2003 season as Riley stepped down as head coach and the team finished 7th in the Atlantic Division.
2003-2004: Arrival of Dwyane Wade, Van Gundy step in
Alonzo Mourning's huge contract expired the following summer, giving the Heat some much-needed cap room to rebuild. However, Miami was still a few million dollars away from signing a max contract player. On 1 July 2003, Miami was expecting to hear from Bill Duffy, agent for Anthony Carter, who was expected to make $4.1 million the upcoming season provided he exercised his option. Duffy's agency never informed the team and Miami was free from the contract. In addition, the season earlier, forward LaPhonso Ellis honorably rescinded a clause in his contract which would have forced the Heat to pay Ellis the following season, a burden the Heat could not afford to deal with in the rebuilding process.
With the cap space, Miami signed forward Lamar Odom and guard Rafer Alston. Riley and the Heat also opted to draft Dwyane Wade out of Marquette University with the 5th overall pick in the 2003 NBA draft instead of signing a large-scale free agent point guard such as Gilbert Arenas. The pick was somewhat surprising at the time, since it was expected that Miami would draft a true point guard rather than the shooting guard Wade. Miami also signed Udonis Haslem out of the University of Florida, who went undrafted a season earlier and had spent the previous season playing overseas in France. Odom, Alston, Haslem and Wade teamed up with Grant, Jones, Allen and both Butlers to form one of the most surprising teams of the season.
A few days before the start of the 2003-04 season, Pat Riley shocked the basketball world when he stepped down as head coach to focus more on his role as team president and promoted longtime assistant coach Stan Van Gundy to the head coaching position. The team was expected to be among the league's worst by NBA prognosticators. After dealing with early injury problems to Odom, Wade and both Butlers, the team quickly jelled and formed what most members of that team consider to be the most fun season of their careers. The Heat newcomers brought youth and energy to the team. Wade broke several rookie records while other Heat players, such as Odom, revived their careers. Wade began to catch the eye of scouts and fans across the league, especially during the playoffs where Wade led the Heat in toppling the New Orleans Hornets (which had relocated from Charlotte at the end of the 2001-2002 season), the same team that swept the Heat into rebuilding mode just three seasons prior. Miami went on to lose to the Indiana Pacers 4–2 in a competitive conference semifinal series.
2004–2008: Wade–Shaq era, Riley returns for a Ring
After the promising 2003–04 season, Miami again took major steps forward to becoming a championship caliber franchise again. The Heat acquired superstar center Shaquille O'Neal on 14 July 2004 in a historic trade with the Los Angeles Lakers in which Miami shipped Lamar Odom, Caron Butler and Brian Grant out west, Riley also tried to sign Karl Malone, but he decided to retire. Dwyane Wade and O'Neal worked well as a pair and each solidified their position as NBA elites with both averaging over 20 points per game. The season also reunited several former club members. Ron Rothstein, the Heat's inaugural head coach, became an assistant coach, Steve Smith rejoined the club and Alonzo Mourning was re-signed after being released from the Toronto Raptors following the Vince Carter trade in December.
The Heat had its second best record in franchise history: 59–23. They also had a streak of 14 consecutive victories, currently a franchise record. They were seeded first in the playoffs, and swept through the first two rounds by winning eight consecutive games against New Jersey and Washington and advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals against defending champion Detroit. The teams split the first four games before Miami pushed the Pistons to the brink of elimination with an easy 88–76 victory in Game 5, but in the process lost Dwyane Wade to a strained rib muscle suffered in an attempt to take a charge against Pistons forward Rasheed Wallace. Without Wade, the Heat were decimated 91–66 in Game 6 at Detroit, setting up a deciding Game 7 in Miami. In that game, Wade returned, and the Heat held a 6-point lead with 3 minutes remaining before a series of missed shots and turnovers down the stretch that ultimately cost the Heat the game and a 1st ever trip to the finals in the gut wrenching 88-82 Game 7 loss . Wade apparently struggled to breathe throughout the game due to the rib injury, forcing the Heat's star to play in a limited capacity, although he remarkably managed to score 20 points.
In the offseason, the Heat were drastically retooled. In what was to be the largest trade in NBA history, in a 5-team, 13-player transaction the Heat traded away Eddie Jones, Rasual Butler and Qyntel Woods and in exchange received former NBA All-Star Antoine Walker, Jason Williams, and James Posey. Miami also signed future Hall of Fame guard Gary Payton, former UCLA star Jason Kapono and first round pick and NCAA All American Wayne Simien. Free agent Damon Jones opted for a bigger contract offered by the Cleveland Cavaliers. Critics were quick to debate whether a reformed Heat team would have chemistry issues and whether or not the team was too old (O'Neal, Mourning and Payton were all in their mid-thirties) or had too many underachievers (Walker had a reputation of miserable shot selection, and Williams, one of turnover-prone playmaking). After an 11–10 start, O'Neal already hurt, and the fate of the season hanging in the balance these critics seemed to have been proven right.
Then on 12 December 2005 Pat Riley announced that he would become coach of the Heat for the second time, after Van Gundy unexpectedly stepped down due to personal and family reasons. The team responded and went on to win its first three games under Riley until losing to the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cleveland loss encouraged the Heat to finish up the month of December strong. They concluded the month with 4 wins and 2 losses. The Heat though were still criticized, however, for being unable to beat the top caliber teams of the NBA. This criticism though would just grow more and more on the Heat come the month of January and into February. Although they finished January with 10 wins and 5 losses, there was still and some would argue proof that they could not beat the best in the NBA. They had already lost to the defending NBA champion San Antonio Spurs twice, twice to the Phoenix Suns, and were decimated in a nationally televised broadcast by 36 points to their eventual NBA Finals opponents the Dallas Mavericks in Dallas. The months of February and March were very successful for the Heat, including a stretch of 15 wins in 16 games which began with a crucial comeback victory over the Perennial Eastern Conference powerhouse Detroit Pistons. Dwyane Wade was electric and Shaquille O'Neal stepped up his game up in a tremendous fashion, helping the Heat resurge and finish with a 52-30 record, good enough for a 2nd seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Their record was respectable but was viewed as somewhat underachieved compared to the 2004-2005 59 win and 1st place playoff seeded season.
Earning the second seed in the 2006 playoffs, the Miami Heat drew the seventh seed Chicago Bulls as their first-round opponent. The Heat won the first two games of the series at home, despite Udonis Haslem being ejected in the first game and suspended for the second for throwing his mouthpiece in the direction of the referee. The team lost games three and four in Chicago but bounced back to win game five at home. By winning game six in Chicago, the Heat eliminated the Bulls from the playoffs and went on to face the New Jersey Nets in the second round. The Heat lost Game 1 at home, 100–88, but won the next four to oust the Nets from the playoffs for the second year in a row, taking Game 5 at home 106–105. The Heat subsequently advanced to their second Eastern Conference Finals in as many years. The Heat opened up the 2006 Eastern Conference Finals in Detroit, facing the Pistons in a rematch of the previous year's Eastern Conference Finals, in which the top-seeded Heat lost Game 7 in heartbreaking fashion. The Heat immediately stole home court advantage by winning Game 1. Although Miami lost the second game 92–88 (despite a near comeback after trailing by eighteen at one point), they maintained home court advantage. Home for the next two games, they won both Game 3 (98–83) and Game 4 (89–78) to take a 3–1 series lead. The Detroit Pistons then won Game 5 in The Palace of Auburn Hills, but the Heat answered back by winning Game 6 and advanced to their first NBA Finals in franchise history against Dirk Nowitzki's Dallas Mavericks. For the Mavericks, this was also their first NBA Finals appearance in franchise history.
The Heat were outplayed by the Mavericks in the first two games in Dallas, with the second game being an embarrassing blowout. Dwyane Wade led the Heat to an incredible comeback to win Game 3. The Heat once again beat the Mavericks with a combined team effort in Game 4 and were able to establish their ability to play under pressure in Game 5, which went into overtime. They went on to win Game 6 in Dallas, winning their first NBA championship in franchise history. The Heat became only the third team in NBA history to win the final series after being down 0–2, following the 1969 Boston Celtics and the 1977 Portland Trail Blazers. The Heat overcame a miserable start with a 14-point gap to wear down the Mavericks, and led by one point (49–48) at the halftime horn. Again, Wade played a vital role, powering the Heat to a late lead. He was helped by an impressive five blocks by Alonzo Mourning (the Heat had over 10 team blocks in the game even though they were averaging a little over 2 blocks in the series) and clutch shooting by James Posey, who drained a cold-blooded three pointer which put the Heat ahead by six with 3 minutes to go. Surprisingly, the Mavericks were down only three with a few seconds to go after a pair of missed free-throws by Dwyane Wade. However, Dallas would be put to rest after Wade captured the rebound, fittingly ending the game by tossing the ball in the air after a missed three-point shot attempt by Jason Terry. Wade would go on to win the Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award.
The championship proved all the more poignant for Miami's veteran superstars Alonzo Mourning, Gary Payton, Jason Williams, and Antoine Walker who had never before won an NBA championship. Mourning and Payton both re-signed with the Heat for the 2006-07 season, wanting to win another championship. The championship marked the seventh win for Coach Pat Riley (fifth as a head coach), and fourth title to Shaquille O'Neal, both of whom fulfilled their promise to the citizens of Miami in 1995 (when Riley first came to Miami and said he "envisioned a parade on Biscayne Boulevard") and in July 2004 (when Shaq first came to Miami and vowed to "bring the title home"). Shaq also loudly proclaimed during the championship parade that they would win the NBA championship again in 2007, later clarifying this promise applied if and only if Dwyane Wade were present and healthy for the ride through the playoffs.
The Heat got off to a poor start in the 2007 season, losing to the Chicago Bulls by 42 points (66-108), the worst home loss in team history and worst margin of defeat for a defending champion on opening day in NBA history. Shaquille O'Neal played the first few games for the Heat then missed over thirty games with a right knee injury. Key members of the Heat's championship run last season, particularly Antoine Walker and Gary Payton, were finding themselves on the bench more often at the expense of the Heat's questionable, at best, duo of Jason Kapono and Dorell Wright.
The first half of the Heat's season was full of misfortune. Coach Riley took an indefinite leave, Dwyane Wade briefly injured his right wrist, and James Posey and Antoine Walker were delisted after failing a body mass exam. Matters improved for the team. Rothstein, the Heat's original head coach, returned on an interim basis. Both Posey and Walker were reinstated. Former Heat star Eddie Jones re-signed with the team after being released by the Memphis Grizzlies. O'Neal returned to play in January. Riley resumed his duties as head coach at the start of the second half of the season.
After thinking everything was going to turn around for the Heat, on February 21, in a game against the Houston Rockets, Wade dislocated his left shoulder and had to leave in a wheelchair. Shortly after the injury, Wade announced that he would opt for rehabilitation instead of surgery, with the hope of returning to the lineup for the playoffs. The rehab was successful enough that Wade returned to the Heat on 9 April 2007, for a game against the Charlotte Bobcats. Wade was visibly rusty, and said that he didn't have his "legs back yet."
After Wade's injury, many predicted the Heat would fail even to make the playoffs. Those predictions were quickly dismissed as the Heat surged, winning 11 out of 14 games at one point. In that time, Miami posted a nine-game winning streak (defeating such teams as the Pistons, Wizards, Bulls and Jazz), in addition to extending a home winning streak to 14. Shaquille O'Neal was a primary cause for the Heat's resurgence, playing his best basketball of the season and serving as a focal point of the offense. Having a roster full of veterans and former All-Stars also had a notable benefit in dealing with the loss of Dwyane Wade. Miami was able to post a 16-7 record without its star guard and, in the process, the Heat were able to win a third consecutive Southeast Division title.
Shortly after Wade returned, O'Neal's grandfather had died, causing him to miss two games. Additionally, Udonis Haslem and Gary Payton were bit by the injury bug; Haslem with a groin aggravation and Payton with a calf injury that sidelined him for three weeks. The Heat finished the regular season with a 44-38 record and faced the Chicago Bulls in the first round of the 2007 NBA Playoffs, to whom they lost 4-0 in the best of seven series. Miami Heat became the first defending champion since 1957 to get swept in the first round in the following season. It was also the first four-game playoff series sweep suffered in Miami Heat history.
2007–2008: Worst Record in the NBA
After a disappointing 2006–07 season, the Heat looked to move forward. Miami retained the 20th and 39th picks in the 2007 NBA Draft. On 28 June 2007, the Miami Heat selected Colorado State forward Jason Smith with the 20th overall selection then traded him to the Philadelphia 76ers for the draft rights to the 21st overall selection, guard Daequan Cook from Ohio State, and cash considerations. With the 39th overall selection, the Miami Heat drafted Stanko Barać, a center from Bosnia, but later traded his rights to the Indiana Pacers for a future second-round pick. The Heat lost Jason Kapono to the Toronto Raptors and James Posey to the Boston Celtics. The Heat got a much-needed point guard when they picked up Smush Parker from free agency and signed him to a three-year deal. They also signed veteran guard Penny Hardaway, reuniting the Shaq-Penny duo from the Orlando Magic teams of the mid-90s. Hardaway was later waived in December. Also in the 2007 off-season, the Miami Heat made a five-player trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves, bringing back Ricky Davis and Mark Blount. Leaving the Heat were Antoine Walker, Wayne Simien, Michael Doleac, and a conditional first-round pick. Davis was on the Heat in August 2000 but fell out of favor with Riley. When the trade occurred he became a more polished scorer and was projected to have been a third option for the Heat to complement Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O'Neal, had the circumstances of the season turned out differently.
On 19 December 2007, during the first quarter of the game versus the Atlanta Hawks while getting back on a fast-break, Alonzo Mourning tore the patellar tendon in his right knee and was required to undergo season-ending knee surgery. On February 5, 2008, ESPN reported that the Heat were interested in trading center Shaquille O'Neal, contrary to reports by Pat Riley one month earlier that the Heat was not interested in trading the 13-time all-star. The next day however, the Heat agreed to trade O'Neal to the Phoenix Suns for Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks, effectively ending the Wade-O'Neal era.
The Heat clinched the worst record in the NBA at 15–67. Late in the season, with the Heat well out of any type of realistic playoff contention, head coach Pat Riley missed two games because he went to scout certain NCAA basketball conference tournament games, to prepare in the likely event that the Heat received the number 1 or 2 pick in the 2008 draft.
It was announced on 10 March 2008, that Heat guard Dwyane Wade would be inactive for the rest of the season to help him rehabilitate his ailing knee and shoulder that he had re-aggravated, in hopes of playing in the 2008 Olympic games in Beijing. It was announced on March 10 that the Heat waived guard Smush Parker, opening the opportunity to add a player signed to a 10-day contract. On 12 March 2008, they signed Bobby Jones to a 10-day contract, looking for help at the shooting guard and small forward positions. At the end of March 2008, the Heat posted the third-lowest point total in the history of the NBA during the shot clock era during a 96–54 loss to the Toronto Raptors on March 19, followed by a new record for the fewest made baskets with seventeen, in another lost game against the Boston Celtics on March 30.<ref>ESPN - Miami vs. Boston - Recap - March 30, 2008. Sports.espn.go.com. Retrieved on 2009-11-09.</ref> The Heat finished the season on a positive note on April 16 to close out the season with a 113–99 victory over the playoff-bound Atlanta Hawks.<ref>ESPN - Atlanta vs. Miami - Recap - April 16, 2008. Sports.espn.go.com (2008-04-16). Retrieved on 2009-11-09.</ref> On April 28, 2008, Pat Riley stepped down as the head coach of the Heat but remained Team President. He replaced himself with longtime assistant coach Erik Spoelstra, who at 37, became the youngest head coach in the NBA. Riley finished his career with 1,210 victories, third all-time behind Lenny Wilkens and Don Nelson.
On 20 May 2008, the Heat obtained the number 2 pick in the 2008 NBA draft as a result of the 2008 NBA Draft Lottery. They were expected to select power forward Michael Beasley, point guard Derrick Rose or guard O. J. Mayo. Immediately following the draft lottery, Pat Riley suggested the team would listen to any trade offers for the second overall pick. However, he did stress the right offer would have to be made in order for the Heat to even consider such a trade (e.g., the Kevin Garnett trade to Boston from the 2007 offseason).
On 26 June 2008, the Bulls selected Rose as expected, leaving the Heat to select Beasley. In the second round, with the 52nd overall pick, the Heat chose Kansas forward Darnell Jackson. Somewhat unexpectedly, it was announced that the Heat agreed to trade the lesser two of their three 2009 second-round draft picks to the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for the draft rights of talented Kansas guard Mario Chalmers, who helped lead Kansas to the NCAA championship, including making a three-point shot that sent the game to overtime. It was also later announced that Darnell Jackson's draft rights were traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for the lesser of their two second-round picks in 2009.
In early July, the free agent period began and with limited cap space the Heat signed local James Jones as the team's three-point specialist. Along with the acquisition of Yakhouba Diawara and Jamaal Magloire the Heat added depth and experience to their roster. On 29 September 2008, Randy Pfund stepped down as General Manager, elevating Pat Riley to that position. Four days later, the Miami Heat signed point guard Shaun Livingston, a former L.A Clipper. On November 5, 2008, 2nd-round draft pick and rookie Mario Chalmers of the Heat set a new franchise record of 9 steals in the game against the Philadelphia 76ers. That exceeded the old record set by Tim Hardaway for the most steals by a rookie in the Heat's 21 year history.
On 13 February 2009, the Heat traded Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks to the Toronto Raptors for center Jermaine O'Neal and forward Jamario Moon. Miami had been rumored to be pursuing O'Neal, as well as Amar'e Stoudemire and Carlos Boozer. The trade was meant to address the team's lack of a low post presence. On 3 April 2009, the Miami Heat clinched a playoff spot with a win over the Charlotte Bobcats. The Heat became the first team since the 1968-69 San Diego Rockets to go from 15 wins to the playoffs in one year (finished 43-39). They were eliminated in seven games by the fourth seed Atlanta Hawks in the first round. However, Dwyane Wade led the league in scoring with 30.2 points per game, becoming the first franchise player to do so.
The Heat started the 2009-10 season by going 7-1 through their first 8 games, but were inconsistent the rest of the way, and were at 35-34 through the first 69 games. On 5 January 2010, the Heat traded Chris Quinn to the New Jersey Nets for a 2012 second draft pick which allowed the team to sign recently released guard Rafer Alston. The team picked up the pace late, going 12-1 in the final 13 games to earn the 5th seed in the East, finishing 47-35 and making an improvement for the second consecutive season. The Heat lost in five games in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs against the Boston Celtics. The Heat finished the season ranking 15th in the NBA in total attendance with 726,935.<ref>2009-10 Miami Heat Roster and Statistics | Basketball-Reference.com</ref>
2010–present: "The Big 3" - Bosh, James, and Wade era
The Miami Heat entered NBA Free Agency in 2010 with nearly $46 million in salary cap space, with the ability to re-sign free agent Dwyane Wade, and add two of the NBA's top players, LeBron James and Chris Bosh. According to Fox Sports Radio's Stephen A. Smith, speaking on his show just days after the NBA Draft, the Heat were "highly likely" to sign all three players.<ref>"LeBron James Picks Miami: Stephen A. Smith Was Right", The Wall Street Journal, July 8, 2010. </ref> The New Jersey Nets, New York Knicks, Los Angeles Clippers, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks and the Miami Heat were in negotiations to sign LeBron James. On 7 July 2010, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh agreed to terms with the Miami Heat. Then on 8 July 2010, LeBron James held an hour-long special to announce his decision on ESPN to commit to playing with the Heat.<ref>"LeBron James Leaves the Cleveland Cavaliers for Miami Heat". </ref> Later that evening, the Heat announced the trade of Michael Beasley to the Minnesota Timberwolves for a pair of second round picks and cash considerations.<ref></ref> The three are called the SuperFriends by many sportswriters and commentators, most notably those for ESPN, due to the fact that all three were taken in the top five of the 2003 NBA Draft and because they have become good friends over the years.<ref>ESPN: The Worldwide Leader In Sports</ref>
On 8 July 2010, it became official that NBA superstars and gold medal winning Beijing Olympic teammates LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh would be joining Miami. The Heat completed sign-and-trade deals, sending a total of four future first-round and two second-round picks to the Cavaliers and Raptors for James and Bosh (both signing 6 years and $110.1 million contracts). Dwyane Wade re-signed with the Heat for $107.59 million for six years. All three stars have early termination clauses in their contracts, allowing them to become free agents again in the summer of 2014. The final year on all three deals, for 2015-16, is a player option.<ref></ref><ref>Template error: argument title is required. </ref><ref>Sources: LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh sign with Miami Heat for $15M less each - ESPN</ref> The three made their debut at the 2010 Summer Heat Welcome Party at the American Airlines Arena on July 9, where they were introduced as The Three Kings by Heat play-by-play announcer and event co-host Eric Reid.<ref></ref> Howard Beck of The New York Times described the national fan reaction to the party: "Everyone saw something: greatness, arrogance, self-indulgence, boldness, cowardice, pride, friendship, collusion, joy, cynicism, heroes, mercenaries."<ref>Beck, Howard. "Shift in Talent Fortifies Elite Teams", October 26, 2010, p. B-12. Retrieved on October 27, 2010. “In that moment on July 9, amid the pyrotechnics, the Miami Heat became a national Rorschach test. Everyone saw something: greatness, arrogance, self-indulgence, boldness, cowardice, pride, friendship, collusion, joy, cynicism, heroes, mercenaries.” </ref>
By taking less than maximum salaries, Wade, James and Bosh opened the door for the Heat to further continue its roster makeover with the resigning of Udonis Haslem and signing of veteran swingman and teammate of Haslem at the University of Florida, Mike Miller for dual 5 year deals worth a combined $45 million.<ref>Miami Heat finally completes Mike Miller signing, more to follow - Sun Sentinel</ref> In order to fill the voids at forward and center, the Heat signed James's former teammate in Cleveland, Zydrunas Ilgauskas to a two year deal for the veterans minimum at $2.8 million, resigning Joel Anthony, and signing power forward Juwan Howard.<ref>Zydrunas Ilgauskas follows LeBron James to Miami Heat - Miami Heat - MiamiHerald.com</ref> In the guard department, the Miami Heat resigned guard Carlos Arroyo and signed former Celtics player Eddie House to a two-year contract for the veteran minimum of $2.8 million.<ref>House returns to Heat as latest addition - NBA - Yahoo! Sports</ref> Rookies Dexter Pittman and Da'Sean Butler, along with NBA Summer League standouts Patrick Beverley and Kenny Hasbrouck, also signed contracts.
The Miami Heat began the regular season with much hype going into their first game against the Eastern Conference Champs, the Boston Celtics. Many considered the Miami Heat as the team to break the single season record of 72 regular season victories set by the Chicago Bulls.<ref>Araton, Harvey. "With Stars Aplenty, Heat Looks for Leader", March 8, 2011, p. B11. Archived from the original on March 11, 2011. </ref> On the opening game of the season, broadcast on the TNT Network and featuring the debut of reigning two-time NBA MVP James in a Miami uniform alongside Chris Bosh, the game was the most-watched NBA contest ever on cable television. The game earned a 4.6 rating, delivering 7.4 million total viewers and 5.3 million households beating the Chicago Bulls vs. Los Angeles Lakers on 2 February 1996.<ref>Heat vs. Celtics draws record ratings - Miami Heat News</ref>
The Heat lost the opening game 88-80 and got off to a 9-8 start due in large part to inconsistent play and injuries of key role players Mike Miller (thumb) and Udonis Haslem (foot). After losing four out of five games, including a Saturday night loss to the Dallas Mavericks on November 27, the team called a player's only meeting with the intent to get players communicate with each other. Much of the speculation was that Spoelstra could lose his job and that Heat president Pat Riley would return as coach, especially after a well publicized incident when James "bumped" into Spoelstra during a timeout.<ref>Pat Riley's return to Miami Heat bench is inevitable - NBA News | FOX Sports on MSN</ref>
Since the players-only meeting, the team had pulled together a 12 game win streak (10 of them by double-digits) and limited the opposition under the century mark (100 points) in all those games. During the winning streak, James led the Heat to defeat his former team by scoring 38 points (tying a Heat record for points in a quarter with 24 in the third) in a game that drew nearly 7.1 million viewers and earned a 25.4 rating in Miami. ESPN 3D aired its first NBA game in the third dimension on 17 December 2010 when the Heat defeated the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden.,<ref>LeBron Calls Wade Worst Finisher in the League | PlayerPress.com - Sports Commentary, News, Rumors, Blogs, Photos, Videos by Pro Athletes and Fans</ref><ref>TV Ratings For LeBron James' Return to Cleveland Soar Sky-High, Top Eagles-Texans Matchup - NBA - NESN.com</ref>,.<ref>ESPN Gets 3-Dimensional With LeBron Tonight | NBC Miami</ref> The Heat set a franchise record for wins in December with 15 and set an NBA record for consecutive road victories in a calendar month with 10 (including the Christmas Day matchup with the reigning two time champs Kobe Bryant's Los Angeles Lakers which the team won 96-80).<ref>Miami Heat Season Review: Is It Safe To Call the Heat an Elite Team? | Bleacher Report</ref>
During a postgame chat with Sun Sports' Jason Jackson on 3 January 2011, LeBron James joked I see we sell out 99.1 percent on the road, so we call ourselves the Heatles off the Beatles, so every time we take our show on the road we bring a great crowd, giving the Heat's famed trio the unofficial nickname.<ref>Heat players nickname themselves “The Heatles” | ProBasketballTalk</ref>
On 27 January 2011, via fan voting, LeBron James (forward) and Dwyane Wade (guard) were selected to be starters for the Eastern Conference at the All-Star Game becoming the second pair of teammates to be selected as All-Star starters in franchise history (Shaquille O'Neal and Dwyane Wade; 2006 and 2007). A few days later, forward Chris Bosh was selected as a reserve, marking the first time in Heat history the team has sent three players to the All-Star game in a single season.
Like the 2005-06 championship season, the Heat were criticized, for being unable to beat the top caliber teams of the NBA. This criticism though would just grow more and more as the regular season was beginning to wind down. Despite beating their division rival Orlando Magic two of three games, sweeping the Lakers 2-0, and beating both the San Antonio Spurs and the Thunder once, they had lost to the defending Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics three times, swept by the Chicago Bulls and Dallas Mavericks who swept the season series and continued their regular season dominance against Miami for their 16th straight victory dating back to the 2004-05 season.
In order to improve for the playoffs, the Heat signed guard Mike Bibby, who agreed to forfeit the $6.2 million he was owed by the Washington Wizards for the next season so that he could become a free agent and sign a league minimum contract with a contender. In the process, the Heat released Carlos Arroyo. In Bibby's first game on March 3, the Heat were leading the Magic by 24 points in the third quarter before the Heat were outscored 40–9 and lost 99–96.<ref>"Magic ride late 40-9 run past Heat", ESPN.com, March 3, 2011. Retrieved on March 5, 2011. </ref> The following night against the Spurs, who held the NBA's best record (51–11), the Heat lost 125–95, their most lopsided loss of the year and their fourth loss in five games.<ref>"Tony Parker sparks Spurs in return to starting lineup", ESPN.com, March 4, 2011. Retrieved on March 5, 2011. </ref> In their next game against the Bulls, the Heat had a 12–point lead in the first half, but they ended up losing 87–86 after two failed shots by James and Wade in the last 6 seconds of the game. It was the Heat's 12th and 13th consecutive missed shots with a chance to tie or lead a game in the final 10 seconds of regulation or overtime. James had missed four in the four-game losing streak. It was the Heat's fourth straight loss, and the fourth time since February 24 they had lost after a double-digit lead.<ref>"Bulls complete season sweep of Heat to move into second place in East", ESPN.com, March 6, 2011. Archived from the original on March 7, 2011. </ref> The Heat were 2–5 since the All-Star break, 5–13 in games decided by five or fewer points and 14–18 against teams with winning records.<ref>Wallace, Michael. "How did the Heat become so out of tune?", ESPN.com, March 6, 2011. Archived from the original on March 7, 2011. </ref> After the game there were reports of players crying in the locker room afterwords.<ref>"A couple of guys are crying in the locker room...", sun-sentinel.com, March 6, 2011. Retrieved on March 6, 2011. </ref> On March 10, the Heat beat the Lakers, 94–88, and ended their five-game losing streak while also ending the Lakers' eight-game winning streak.<ref>Bresnahan, Mike. "Lakers give one away against the Heat, 94-88", March 10, 2011. Archived from the original on March 11, 2011. </ref><ref>"Experts: Six questions after Lakers-Heat", ESPN.com, March 11, 2011. Archived from the original on March 11, 2011. </ref>
On March 27, Wade, James, and Bosh became the second trio in NBA history to have at least 30 points and 10 rebounds in the same non-overtime game (a home win against the Houston Rockets), matching Oscar Robertson, Wayne Embry and Jack Twyman for the Cincinnati Royals in a loss to the Philadelphia Warriors on 2 February 1961. Additionally, it was the first time that a team's trio recorded 20 points and 10 rebounds in consecutive games since Sidney Wicks, Lloyd Neal and John Johnson accomplished the feat with the Portland Trail Blazers in March 1975. It was also the first time in Heat franchise history that three players scored 30 points in the same game.<ref>Heat's Big Three make history - Heat Index Blog - ESPN</ref>
The 2011 Heat finished with a 58-24 record, third best in team history and a second overall seed, behind the Chicago Bulls who had the NBA's best record. Additionally, the Heat finished 5th in the NBA in attendance with 810,930 behind Mavericks, Cavaliers, Trail Blazers, and Bulls in that order (100.9% capacity). The Heat faced the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round of the NBA Playoffs and eliminated them in five games. In the Eastern Conference Semifinals, the Heat defeated the rival Boston Celtics in five games, winning a dramatic overtime Game 4 in Boston and a come from behind Game 5 victory at home to finish the series. In the Eastern Conference Finals, the Heat faced the Chicago Bulls. After being blown out by the Bulls in Game 1, the Heat took home-court by defeating Chicago in Game 2, and winning their home Games 3 and 4, the latter of which came in overtime. In Game 5 in Chicago, the Miami Heat made a historic comeback, after being down 77-65 with 3:14 left, the Heat went on a 18-3 run to win, 83-80, capped by a key four point play from Dwyane Wade and clutch shooting from LeBron James. <ref>http://scores.espn.go.com/nba/playbyplay?gameId=310526004&period=4</ref> The Heat were selected to face the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Finals who had defeated the Portland Trailblazers, Los Angeles Lakers, and Oklahoma City Thunder. This series would be a rematch of the 2006 NBA Finals, in which Dallas won the first 2 games and then they lost 4 straight to Miami. The Heat won Game 1 in Miami, 92-84 but in Game 2, the Heat were leading the Mavericks by 15 points with 6:20 left in the fourth quarter before the Heat were outscored 22-5 and lost, 95-93. The Heat won Game 3 in Dallas 88-86 with the game-winning basket scored by Chris Bosh. The Mavericks won Game 4, 86-83, holding LeBron James to a career playoff-low 8 points. The Mavericks won Game 5 and took a 3-2 series lead with a 112-103 victory. This is the first time since March 6 when the Heat lost two straight games, including the regular season, playoffs and the NBA Finals. The Heat lost game 6, when Dallas won the championship 4-2. In Game 6, Dallas defeated Miami 105–95 to win the 2011 NBA Championship.
vs. New York Knicks
The rivalry between the New York Knicks and the expansion Miami Heat was a result of their history-making brutally physical four consecutive playoff series from 1997 to 2000. Each series went to the maximum number of games. The rivalry was heightened by a feud sparking between Pat Riley initially the coach of the Knicks from 1991 to 1995, and head coach of the Miami Heat from 1996–2003, 2005–2008 and Riley's successor Knick's head coach Jeff Van Gundy, a faithful servant of Riley's in New York. Jeff's brother Stan Van Gundy was an assistant for the legendary Pat Riley in Miami. The first two years were marked by physical violence during the series, with suspensions to players that ultimately determined the outcome. The Heat-Knicks rivalry is also part of the larger cultural rivalry between Miami and New York,
In recent years, this once bitter rivalry has greatly softened, with the recent struggles of the Knicks franchise and the turnover of the Miami Heat to a new crop of players. Ever since the re-alignment of divisions with the addition of the expansion Charlotte Bobcats, the Miami Heat have been moved to the newly created Southeast Division, in which they have dominated due to the addition of Shaquille O'Neal (from a trade with the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2004 offseason) and the emergence of Dwyane Wade. However, in its prime this rivalry was bitter and marked by players on both teams giving their best efforts in every game. Both teams were almost evenly matched every time they played. During the 2010-11 season the rivalry has seemed to have been reignited with the re-emergence of the Knicks since the arrival of Amar'e Stoudemire in New York and their midseason acquisition of Carmelo Anthony.
The Miami Heat have played the Knicks more times (118) than any other team in franchise history. The Heat are 39-55 (11-13 in the postseason) against the New York Knicks, averaging 93.7 points per game against them and allowing 96.4 (Miami has averaged 83.4 points per game while New York has averaged 84.6 points per game in the postseason, with only one team eclipsing the century mark during a postseason game, which was by Miami in their only series win against the Knicks in 1997).<ref>http://www.nbauniverse.com/head_to_head/heat_rivals.htm</ref>
vs. Chicago Bulls
The rivalry with the Bulls began once the Miami Heat became playoff contenders during the 1990s, a decade dominated by the Chicago Bulls and the advent of the Michael Jordan era. During that period, the Heat would be eliminated three times by the Bulls, who would go on to win the NBA championship each time. The Heat were able to take home a moment of glory when they smashed the Bulls 99-72 in January 1998.
After Jordan left the Bulls and the Heat's fall in the early 2000s, the rivalry cooled but seemed to pick up when the Heat faced them in the 2005-06 NBA playoffs, which ended in a 4-2 Heat series victory, however the Bulls returned the favor the next season sweeping the reigning champion team in the first round.
The rivalry has intensified in the 2010-11 season due to the return of the Bulls as a #1 overall seed in the Eastern Conference with NBA MVP Derrick Rose alongside Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer in the post-Michael Jordan era. Furthermore, the Heat were a #2 seed coming off their emergence of rising superstar Dwyane Wade (who turned down a chance of joining his hometown Bulls) with newly acquired superstars in Chris Bosh and LeBron James (who spurned a chance of teaming up with Rose and Boozer in Chicago). Both teams then met in the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals, with the Heat winning 4-1.
The Miami Heat have played the second most amount of their games against the Bulls in franchise history (110) and are 37-47 (9-17 in the postseason) against the Chicago Bulls, averaging 94.8 points per game against them and allowing 96.5 in the regular season (90.5 points per game and 97.5 points per game allowed in postseason play). The rivalry has always been physical involving rough play and hard fouls.
2010-11 Current roster
- Chris Bosh (2010–present) — Bosh joined the Miami Heat along with fellow Redeem Team teammates Dwyane Wade and LeBron James.
- Tim Hardaway (1996–2001) — Hardaway led the Heat to some of the franchise's best seasons and is their all-time leader in three point field goals (806). His jersey #10 was retired at American Airlines Arena on October 28, 2009.
- LeBron James (2010–present) — Two-Time MVP James famously announced his "Decision" to take his talents to South Beach and join the Miami Heat along with fellow members of the 2003 Draft Class Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. In 2011, he became the first Heat player ever to have a triple-double in the NBA All-Star Game and second ever (Michael Jordan).
- Jamal Mashburn (1997–2000) — Mashburn was a key member of the Heat's four consecutive Atlantic Division championship teams.
- Alonzo Mourning (1995–2001, 2004–2008) — Mourning is the holder of several franchise records, including games (538), rebounds (4807), and blocks (1625). His 9459 points were the most in franchise history until Dwyane Wade passed him on March 14, 2009. Mourning made five all-star games as member of the team and won two Defensive Player of The Year awards (1999, 2000).
- Shaquille O'Neal (2004–2008) — O'Neal was a key figure to the Heat's consecutive runs to the Conference Finals in 2005 and 2006 with a championship run in the 2006 NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks.
- Glen Rice (1989–1995) — After averaging 13.6 points per game his rookie season Rice averaged more than 20 ppg for his remaining five seasons in Miami. The team made two trips to the playoffs during Rice's tenure. Rice was traded to the Charlotte Hornets in the deal that brought Alonzo Mourning to the Heat. Rice currently holds the single-game team record for points scored (56 vs. ORL on 15 April 1995).
- Rony Seikaly (1988–1994) - Was selected ninth as the franchise's first ever draft pick. Set numerous first records for the Heat. Named Most Improved Player in 1990, the Heat's first ever NBA individual or team award.
- Dwyane Wade (2003–present) — Picked fifth overall in the 2003 NBA Draft, Wade has been an All-Star since 2004. The Heat won their first NBA Championship in his third pro campaign and Wade was named the 2006 NBA Finals MVP as he led the Heat to a 4–2 series win over the Dallas Mavericks. He is the Heat's all-time leader with over 13,000 points and over 3,000 assists.
Basketball Hall of Famers
Pat Riley: Inducted in 2008
Retired and honored numbers
The Heat have retired 4 numbers, only 2 of which played for the franchise, and only 3 of which actually played basketball. Ironically, the first person to have a number retired never played for the franchise. Pat Riley retired Michael Jordan's signature #23 before his final game in Miami during the 2002–03 season as a tribute to his career.<ref>Associated Press. "Heat retires first number", Sports Illustrated, 2003-04-11. Retrieved on 2009-03-29. </ref> Miami retired Alonzo Mourning's #33 during a halftime ceremony on March 30, 2009.<ref>"Bets or not, Alonzo Mourning lets the tears flow", Miami Sun-Sentinel, 2008-03-31. Retrieved on 2009-04-01. </ref> During the 2005–06 season the organization honored Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino #13 in respect of his contributions to the Miami Dolphins.<ref>Phillips, DeAndré. "Dan the Man", Heat.com, 2005-11-07. Retrieved on 2009-03-29. </ref>
On 28 October 2009, Tim Hardaway's #10 Jersey<ref>"Heat will retire Tim Hardaway's jersey prior to first game". </ref> was retired during the Heat's 2009-2010 season opener vs. the New York Knicks.
- #10 Tim Hardaway
- #33 Alonzo Mourning
- #13 Dan Marino – Miami Dolphins
- #23 Michael Jordan - Chicago Bulls
- #2, last worn by Keith Askins, although not officially retired, it was taken out of circulation since 1999.
- #32, last worn by Shaquille O'Neal, has not been used since he left early 2008.
- #41, last worn by Glen Rice, has not been issued since his departure in 1995.
- Miami Arena (1988–1999)
- AmericanAirlines Arena (1999–present)
There have been six head coaches for the Heat franchise. The franchise's first head coach was Ron Rothstein, who served for three seasons with the Heat. Pat Riley, having coached the Heat for eleven seasons, is the franchise's all-time leader for the most regular-season games coached (849), the most regular-season game wins (454), the most playoff games coached (50), and the most playoff-game wins (26); Stan Van Gundy is the franchise's all-time leader for the highest winning percentage in the regular season (.605). Riley is the only Heat head coach to be named one of the top 10 coaches in NBA history,<ref name="topten">Top 10 Coaches in NBA History. National Basketball Association. Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. Retrieved on July 30, 2008.</ref> to have won the NBA Coach of the Year Award, having won it in the 1996–97 season,<ref name="coy">Coach of the Year. National Basketball Association. Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. Retrieved on January 20, 2009.</ref> to have won the NBA championship with the Miami Heat (2006),<ref name="champs">NBA Finals: All-Time Champions. National Basketball Association. Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. Retrieved on January 20, 2009.</ref> and to have been elected into the Basketball Hall of Fame as a coach, having been elected into the Hall of Fame in 2008.<ref>Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinees By Category. Basketball Hall of Fame. CBS Interactive. Retrieved on January 20, 2009.</ref> Erik Spoelstra is the only Heat head coach to have spent his entire NBA coaching career with the Heat, and has been the head coach of the Heat since 2008.<ref>Miami Heat Coach Register. basketball-reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved on January 20, 2009.</ref>
The original Miami Heat uniforms consist of simple striping, exclusive only on the right side of the jersey and shorts. The home uniforms were white with lettering in red, black and orange trim, while the away uniforms were black with red, white and orange trim; the numbers were white with red, black and orange trim. The original 'flaming ball' logo is on the left leg of the shorts while the word 'Miami' is on the right leg. In the 1995-96 NBA season the Heat introduced a red alternate uniform with lettering and numbers in black, white and orange trim.
The current Heat uniforms have been in use since the 1999–2000 season. These uniforms, though similar, have marked differences such as striping on both sides, change from orange to yellow trim, updated lettering and block numbers, and a modified 'flaming ball' logo on the right leg. The black away uniform numbers are now consistent with the lettering colors (white with red trim). The alternate red uniform was introduced during the 2001–02 NBA season, and features the city name and numbers in white with black trim. They were also the only team in the NBA to have the NBA logo on the right shoulder instead of the left, until the introduction of the Adidas Revolution 30 uniforms in 2010 which regulated all teams to have the NBA logo on the left shoulder. In the 2009-10 season, the red alternates were tweaked to include the "MH" secondary logo on the left leg; the 'MH' was also added on the beltline for the away and home uniforms, the 'flaming ball' logo was also moved to the left leg. Similar to the Utah Jazz, Chicago Bulls and the Orlando Magic, the Heat had a dress code that prohibits players from wearing headbands on the court. Since then, however, the Heat have allowed the use of headbands, beginning with Jermaine O'Neal in 2009 and continued with the additions of LeBron James, Eddie House and Erick Dampier.
Since the 2008 season, the Heat participated in the NBA's Noche Latina promotions. In commemorating the occasion, they use their black away uniforms, but with the wordmark "El Heat".
Conference Titles (2)
Division Titles (8)
Franchise Accomplishments and Awards
All numbers as of April 13th, 2011
- Dwyane Wade – 2006
- Dwyane Wade – 2010
NBA Scoring Champion
- Dwyane Wade – 2009
- Alonzo Mourning – 1999, 2000
- Rony Seikaly – 1990
- Isaac Austin – 1997
Best NBA Player ESPY Award
- Dwyane Wade – 2006
- Pat Riley – 1997
NBA Executive of the Year
- Pat Riley – 2011
- Tim Hardaway – 1997
- Alonzo Mourning – 1999
- Shaquille O'Neal – 2005, 2006
- Dwyane Wade – 2009, 2010
- LeBron James - 2011
- Tim Hardaway – 1998, 1999
- Alonzo Mourning – 2000
- Dwyane Wade – 2005, 2006, 2011
- Dwyane Wade – 2007
- Alonzo Mourning – 1999, 2000
- LeBron James – 2011
- P.J. Brown – 1997, 1999
- Bruce Bowen – 2001
- Dwyane Wade – 2005, 2009, 2010
- Sherman Douglas – 1990
- Steve Smith – 1992
- Caron Butler – 2003
- Dwyane Wade – 2004
- Michael Beasley – 2009
- Kevin Edwards – 1989
- Glen Rice – 1990
- Willie Burton – 1991
- Udonis Haslem – 2004
- Mario Chalmers – 2009
- Dwyane Wade - 2006, 2007
- Glen Rice – 1995
- Jason Kapono – 2007
- Daequan Cook – 2009
- James Jones - 2011
- Harold Miner – 1993, 1995
- Alonzo Mourning – 1996, 1997, 2000, 2001, 2002
- Tim Hardaway – 1997, 1998
- Anthony Mason – 2001
- Stan Van Gundy - 2005
- Shaquille O'Neal – 2005, 2006, 2007
- Dwyane Wade – 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011
- LeBron James – 2011
- Chris Bosh – 2011
Player of the Week*
|1||Rony Seikaly||11 March 1990|
|2||Rony Seikaly||7 March 1993|
|3||Glen Rice||28 November 1993|
|4||Chris Gatling||24 March 1996|
|5||Tim Hardaway||29 December 1996|
|6||Alonzo Mourning||16 February 1997|
|7||Alonzo Mourning||29 March 1998|
|8||Alonzo Mourning||14 March 1999|
|9||Alonzo Mourning||13 December 1999|
|10||Alonzo Mourning||10 April 2000|
|11||Eddie Jones||7 January 2002|
|12||Dwyane Wade||22 February 2004|
|13||Lamar Odom||7 March 2004|
|14||Dwyane Wade||7 November 2004|
|15||Shaquille O'Neal||19 December 2004|
|16||Dwyane Wade||4 December 2005|
|17||Dwyane Wade||1 January 2006|
|18||Dwyane Wade||14 January 2007|
|19||Dwyane Wade||4 February 2007|
|20||Dwyane Wade||11 February 2007|
|21||Dwyane Wade||24 November 2008|
|22||Dwyane Wade||8 December 2008|
|23||Dwyane Wade||9 March 2009|
|24||Dwyane Wade||8 March 2010|
|25||Dwyane Wade||29 March 2010|
|26||Dwyane Wade||13 December 2010|
|27||LeBron James||27 December 2010|
|28||Dwyane Wade||3 January 2011|
|29||LeBron James||10 January 2011|
|30||LeBron James||31 January 2011|
|31||LeBron James||7 February 2011|
|32||Dwyane Wade||14 March 2011|
|33||LeBron James||21 March 2011|
Conference Player of the Month*
|1||Glen Rice||April 1992|
|2||Alonzo Mourning||December 1999|
|3||Lamar Odom||March 2004|
|4||Dwyane Wade||December 2004|
|5||Shaquille O'Neal||March 2005|
|6||Dwyane Wade||February 2006|
|7||Dwyane Wade||December 2008|
|8||Dwyane Wade||February 2009|
|9||Dwyane Wade||March 2010|
|10||LeBron James||December 2010|
|12||LeBron James||January 2011|
|13||LeBron James||April 2011|
Rookie of the Month
- Caron Butler – November 2002, January–March 2003
- Michael Beasley – April 2009
- Tim Hardaway – 2000 Sydney
- Alonzo Mourning – 2000 Sydney
- Dwyane Wade – 2004 Athens, 2008 Beijing
*Note: Beginning with the 2001-02 season the NBA began selecting a Player of the Week, Player of the Month and Rookie of the Month in both the Eastern and Western Conference. Beginning with the 2002-03 season the NBA began selecting a Coach of the Month in both the Eastern and Western Conference. Prior to selecting a winner in each conference a single winner for the entire league was selected for each of the aforementioned awards.
Radio and television
The flagship radio stations of the Miami HEAT are WINZ (940 AM) in English, with Mike Inglis and John Crotty calling games, and WQBA (1140 AM) in Spanish, with Jose Paneda and Joe Pujala on the call.
The Heat games are televised primary by Sun Sports with Eric Reid and Tony Fiorentino. Previously, WBFS-TV, WFOR-TV, and WAMI-TV have all aired some games. Games are occasionally televised by TNT, ESPN, or ABC.
From 1988–1993, the HEAT were on WQAM. WINZ previously aired games from 1993–1996 and WIOD did from 1996–2008.