The Miami Heat are a professional basketball team based in Miami, Florida. They play in the National Basketball Association (NBA) and were the Eastern Conference champions in 2014; however, the Heat lost to the San Antonio Spurs 1-4 in the 2014 NBA Finals. The Heat have won 3 NBA Championships (2006, 2012, 2013)
The Heat are unrelated to the Miami Floridians, an American Basketball Association (ABA) team in the early 1970s, although the Heat have occasionally paid tribute to the older franchise by wearing a replica version of the Floridians' uniforms for the NBA's "Hardwood Classics Nights" during the 2005–06 and 2011–12 seasons. The Miami Heat's best years came during the "Big 3" era.
In 1987, after some influence from Billy Cunningham, the NBA voted to expand by adding four new teams: the Charlotte Hornets, Minnesota Timberwolves, Orlando Magic, and Miami Heat. 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, Dwayne Washington and Billy Thompson. The team started out the season by losing its first 17 games, an NBA record. It didn't help that the Heat were placed in the Midwest Division of the Western Conference. This forced them on the longest road trips in the NBA; their nearest opponent was the Houston Rockets, over 900 miles from Miami. The team ultimately finished with a league-worst 15–67 win-loss record under former Detroit Pistons assistant coach Ron Rothstein.
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 and 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 a 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. The Heat tried to turn Burton, a college small forward, into a shooting guard without much success. 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 returned to the Heat prior to the 2004-2005 season as an assistant coach, a role he still fulfills today.
Rothstein resigned before the 1991–92 season and the Heat picked 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 University|Michigan State, who provided an agile guard to a more matured 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 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 optimism because of the role that he played on two championship Detroit Pistons squads, it became apparent quickly 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 wasn't 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. The Heat became the first 8th seeded team to push the 1st seed to five games in the first round. Atlanta rallied from a 2–1 series 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 World Basketball Championships in Toronto as Team U.S.A.. 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.
Also, at this time came a power shift in Heat's front office. On February 13, 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 until the buyout. Micky Arison, son of Carnival founder Ted 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 the 1995 offseason, the Heat hired Pat Riley from the 1980s Los Angeles Lakers and the 1990s New York Knicks to be their new president and coach. Riley dropped a bombshell shortly 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 finished with a franchise-best 61–21 record with 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 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 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 was a lockout-shortened season. The Heat would lose to the Knicks again after Allan Houston hit a game-winning jumper in Game 5 to decide the series. The 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 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 2000-2001, 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 2001-2002 season roster with players well past their prime such as Rod Strickland, Chris Gatling, Jim Jackson, LaPhonso Ellis and Kendall Gill to along with Mourning, Jones, Grant and Carter, who 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 backup Alonzo Mourning at center. The aging, veteran team narrowly missed out on the playoffs, despite having a losing record.
Unlike the 2001-2002 season, Miami began to rebuild in 2002-2003. 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.
Alonzo Mourning's huge contract expired the following summer, giving the Heat some much-needed cap relief to rebuild. However, Miami was still a few million dollars away from signing a max contract. On July 1, 2003, Miami was expecting to hear from Bill Duffy, agent for Anthony Carter who was expected to make $4.1 million the upcoming season. 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 often-criticized 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 instead of signing a large-scale free agent point guard such as Gilbert Arenas. The pick was somewhat surprising at the time. Miami also signed Udonis Haslem out of the University of Florida, who went undrafted a season earlier. 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.
Pat Riley shocked the basketball world when he stepped down as head coach to focus more on his role as team president and promoted assistant coach, Stan Van Gundy to the head coaching position. The team was expected to be among the league's worst by mainstream media. After dealing with early injury problems to Odom, Wade and both Butlers, the team quickly gelled 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, the same team that swept the Heat into rebuilding mode just three seasons prior. Miami lost to the Indiana Pacers 4–2 in the conference semifinals. The Pacers had finished with the best record in the league and had much, unanticipated trouble against the Heat.====Shaquille O'Neal====
After the promising 2003-2004 season, Miami again took major steps forward. The Heat acquired superstar center Shaquille O'Neal on July 14, 2004 in a historic trade with the Los Angeles Lakers in which Miami shipped Lamar Odom, Caron Butler and Brian Grant out west. 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 their assistant coach and both Steve Smith and Alonzo Mourning rejoined the team as role players.
The Heat had its second best record in franchise history: 59–23. 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 92–78 victory in Game 5, but in the process lost Dwyane Wade to a strained rib muscle suffered on an attempt to take a charge against Rasheed Wallace. Without Wade, the Heat were routed, 91–66, in Game 6 in 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 cost the Heat the game and the series to the Detroit Pistons, 4–3. 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 is considered to be the largest trade in NBA history, Eddie Jones was traded for former All-Star Antoine Walker, Jason Williams, and James Posey. Miami also signed future Hall of Fame guard Gary Payton, former UCLA star Jason Kapono in addition to 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 dismiss the new Heat squad as a bunch of aging has-beens (O'Neal, Mourning and Payton were all in their mid-thirties) and talented underperformers (Walker had a reputation of miserable shot selection, and Williams one of turnover-prone playmaking). After an 11–10 start and with O'Neal hurt, these critics seemed to be proven right.
Pat Riley became coach of the Heat for the second time on December 12, 2005, after Van Gundy stepped down due to personal and family reasons. The team 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. Although they finished the month of January with 10 wins and 5 losses, they still could not beat the top tier teams. They suffered a loss to Detroit in late January, and in February were blown out by Phoenix twice, lost to the defending NBA champion San Antonio Spurs, and were decimated by their eventual NBA Finals opponents 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 victory over the Eastern Conference powerhouse Detroit Pistons. Dwayne 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, earning the second seed in the Eastern Conference.
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 in the second for throwing his mouthpiece in the area of the referee. The team lost games three and four in Chicago, but bounced back to win game five at home. After 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, but then swept the Nets out of 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 by facing the Pistons in a rematch of last year's Eastern Conference Finals, in which the top seeded Heat lost Game 7 in a heartbreaker. They immediately stole home court advantage by winning Game 1. Miami lost the second game 92–88 after trailing by eighteen at one point, but never surrendered home court advantage. They went home and won both Game 3 (98–83) and a decisive Game 4 (89–78) at home. The Detroit Pistons then won Game 5 in The Palace of Auburn Hills 91–78, but the Heat answered back, winning game 6 (95–78) and with it the series (4–2) in Miami.
2006 NBA Finals and Championship
After defeating the Detroit Pistons, the Heat advanced to their first NBA Finals in franchise history against the Dallas Mavericks. For the Mavericks, like the Heat, this was also their first NBA Finals appearance.
The Heat were outplayed by the Mavericks in the first two games in Dallas, with the second game being an embarrassing blowout. Things looked worse in Game 3 when the Heat faced a 13-point gap in the last six minutes of the fourth quarter, with Dallas looking to take a commanding 3–0 lead in the series. Led by Dwyane Wade, however, the Heat began an incredible run in the fourth quarter that gave the Miami Heat their first win in the series. Similar success came in Game 4, when the Miami Heat once again beat the Mavericks with a combined team effort. The Miami Heat were able to establish their ability to play under pressure in Game 5, which went into overtime. Nevertheless, the heroic effort of Wade with his 43 points, including the game tying basket and clutch overtime free throws, propelled the Heat to within one victory of their first championship in franchise history. Interestingly, the third consecutive victory at home placed the Heat in the rare company of teams who have won the middle three games since the NBA switched to the 2–3–2 format for the finals in 1985. The only team to have previously accomplished that feat were the Detroit Pistons in the 2004 NBA Finals.
On June 20, Game 6, the Heat took the NBA title in Dallas, winning the series four games to two. In winning the series, 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 lead by one point (49–48) at the half-time buzzer. 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 crucial three 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 with the ball in his hands after a missed three-point shot attempt by Jason Terry. Wade would go on to win the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award.
The championship proved all the more poignant for Miami's veteran superstars Alonzo Mourning, Gary Payton, and Antoine Walker who had never before won an NBA championship. Mourning already announced he will seek another title in the 2006-07 season, and Payton said he would like to do the same.
The championship marks the seventh win for Coach Pat Riley (fifth as a head coach), and fourth title to Shaquille O'Neal, who fulfilled his promise to the citizens of Miami when he vowed in July 2004, to "Bring the title home." He also promised after the win to win the NBA championship again in 2007.
- Day to remember: 1st NBA Championship
- Harold Miner won the Slam Dunk contest twice (1993 and 1995) as a member of the Heat.
- Glen Rice won the Three Point Shootout Contest in 1995 as a member of the Miami Heat
- For seven games in the 2005–06 season, the Heat wore 1971–1972 Floridians jerseys as part of the NBA's Hardwood Classics series. Additionally, the Heat dance team also wore the Floridian bikinis and white go-go boots during these games. 
- During the 2004–2005 season, the Heat's roster contained the first three players selected in the 1992 NBA Draft:
- Further, at various points over the 14 years since the 1992 NBA Draft, Miami has had 9 out of the first 12 players selected in that draft on their roster: O'Neal (2004—), Mourning (1995–2003, 2005—), Laettner (2004–05) Jim Jackson (2001–02), LaPhonso Ellis (2001–03), Walt Williams (1996), Todd Day (1997–98), Clarence Weatherspoon (1998–2000) and Harold Miner (1992–95). During the 2004–2005 season, the Heat were the first NBA team to have the number one, two and three top picks from same draft (1992) on the same team. (O'Neal, Mourning, Laettner)
- Four players (three current players and a former player, Tim Hardaway) from the Miami Heat have appeared on the cover of NBA Live, Shaquille O'Neal in 1996; Tim Hardaway in 1998; Antoine Walker in 1999, Dwyane Wade in 2006. Shaquille O'Neal has appeared on the NBA 2K series on two consecutive years, on NBA 2K6 and on NBA 2K7.
- The Heat retired Michael Jordan's number 23 jersey for his contributions to the NBA, even though he never played for them. When first hung, it was half Wizard blue and half Bull red, however it is now an all red Chicago Bulls jersey.
- In the year 2006, not only did the Heat win the NBA Championship, but the organization's cheerleading/dance team, the Heat Dancers, were the #1 dance team in the NBA as voted by the NBA fans, and one of the Heat Dancers (Layla El) won the WWE Diva Search.
- The 2005/2006 Basketball season was an especially successful one for the State of Florida, as both the NBA Champions and the NCAA Champions hailed from the same state. The Florida Gators won the NCAA tourney over the UCLA Bruins several months before the Heat won their title.
|2006||44-38||1st Southeast Division !!|
|2005||52-30||1st Southeast Division !! Won|
|Ron Rothstein||1988/89 – 1990/91|
|Kevin Loughery||1991/92 – 1994/95|
|Pat Riley||1995/96 – 2002/03|
|Stan Van Gundy||2003/04 – 2005|
|Pat Riley||2005/06— 2007/08|
|Games Played||593||Alonzo Mourning|
|Minutes Played||20,541||Dwyane Wade|
|Field Goals||4,876||Dwyane Wade|
|Field Goal Attempts||10,062||Dwyane Wade|
|Field Goal Percentage||.596||Shaquille O'Neal|
|Three-point Field Goals||806||Tim Hardaway|
|Three-point Field Goal Attempts||2263||Tim Hardaway|
|Three-point Field Goal Percentage||.490||Jason Kapono|
|Free Throws||3,847||Dwyane Wade|
|Free Throw Attempts||5,004||Dwyane Wade|
|Free Throw Percentage||.883||Jason Williams|
|Offensive Rebounds||1,505||Alonzo Mourning|
|Defensive Rebounds||3,302||Alonzo Mourning|
|Blocked Shots||1,625||Alonzo Mourning|
|Personal Fouls||1,960||Alonzo Mourning|
|National Basketball Association|
San Antonio Spurs
| Succeeded by|
San Antonio Spurs
| Succeeded by|