Six Facts To Remember So You Don't Sound Like A Bandwagon Heat Fan
November 6, 2013 - 11:46 pm
The Franchise Is Still Young
Here’s a bragging point: This is Miami’s 26th season in existence. That means it’s three main stars are older than the franchise itself, which says a lot considering how much history the Heat have over the past few decades. Back in 1988 when Michael Jordan was destroying all competition and La Madrina had Miami on tilt, the Heat were birthed from an expansion draft. The first season wasn’t pretty (they finished the season 15-67) and their best player was a then rookie from Syracuse named Rony Seikaly who averaged 11points and seven rebounds a game. Not exactly the 'Heatles,' right?
The Heat play with a small lineup now, but they were known as a burly bunch of dudes back in the 90’s. Center Alonzo Mourning and point guard Tim Hardaway were gritty players that would knock you down and talk shit while doing it. The combination of Zo’ was a mean and menacing force, Hardaway, who's crossover is arguably the greatest ever (and harder to do than even Allen Iverson’s) and Bronx, New York native Jamal Mashburn, known as a prolific scorer, made up Miami’s first big three. They held their battled against Michael Jordan’s Bulls, Reggie Miller’s Pacers and Patrick Ewing's Knicks for Eastern Conference supremacy.
Glen Rice Forever
In the wise words of Shawn Carter, you’ve always got to respect the shooter. If there’s one that made people respect Miami as a franchise it’s Glen Rice. After winning a national championship at the University of Michigan, Rice was drafted fourth overall by the Heat in 1989. He’d go on to lead them to their first playoff appearance in 1992 (where they got that ass cracked by Jordan’s Bulls), become the first player to average 20 points or more in a Heat jersey and was in the top 10 of league leaders in scoring, 3-pointers made, field goals made and minutes played. He’d eventually get traded to the Charlotte Hornets where he became an All Star, followed by a trade to the Lakers where he became a champion in 2000. But he’ll forever be a legend in Miami.
305 to my City
Right now it looks like Dwyane Wade might be the only player to have a legendary career that starts and ends in Miami, but the allure of South Beach has taken the talents of NBA superstars way before Bron-Bron. Of the Seven NBA All Stars the Heat have had, only Wade started his career in Miami. Alonzo Mourning (Charlotte Hornets), Shaq (Orlando Magic), Tim Hardaway (Golden State Warriors) and Anthony Mason (drafted by the Portland Trail Blazers) all began their career's elsewhere. That’s not including Chris Bosh and LeBron who we know started respectively in Toronto and Cleveland. The Heat have also had All Star level players like Steve Smith, Eddie Jones, Caron Butler, Dan Majerle, Antoine Walker, Gary Payton and Jamal Mashburn all make the mid-season showcase while with other teams.
Erik Spoelstra Started From The Bottom
There’s always a big deal made about how young Erik Spoelstra is, but for tons of Asian-American’s, in a rather African American dominated sport, he’s an inspiration and a sign of inclusion. The Filipino-American has earned stripes on every level, attending Nike camps with future pros Alonzo Mourning and Shawn Kemp in high school, playing point guard at the University of Portland and even playing pro basketball in Germany. At 25-years-old, he got a job as the video coordinator for the Heat and worked his way to being a two-time NBA champion head coach.