Miami Heat: 5 Most Athletic Freaks in Franchise History

Sam Richmond@srichmond93Correspondent IOctober 10, 2012

Miami Heat: 5 Most Athletic Freaks in Franchise History

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    With LeBron James and Dwyane Wade on their roster, the Miami Heat currently have two of the more freakish athletes in the NBA. However, they aren't the only supremely athletic specimens to have donned a Heat jersey over the franchise's 25-year history.

    What's interesting, though, is that while Wade and James are both elite players on top of being great athletes, a couple of other athletic greats that crack this list weren't even average players.

    So, let's get to it. Here are the five most incredible athletes in Miami Heat history.

    Players are ranked based on their athletic ability as members of the Heat.

5. Jamario Moon

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    Jamario Moon might not have stuffed the stat sheet often during his time as a member of the Heat, but that doesn't mean he never left his mark on a game.

    At 6'8" and 205 pounds, Moon was quick and could flat out fly, proving to be a great alley-oop partner for Dwyane Wade after the team traded for him in the middle of the 2008-09 season.

    Prior to being on the Heat as a member of the Toronto Raptors, Moon participated in the Slam Dunk Contest, and although he didn't win, it was clear that this former Harlem Globetrotter was an outstanding athlete.

    The Heat did not re-sign Moon following his first season in Miami, and he has since become an NBA journeyman. 

4. Harold Miner

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    The Heat drafted Harold Miner with the 12th overall pick in the 1992 NBA Draft, hoping he would become a big part of the franchise's future; however, he turned out to be little else than a high-flying dunker.

    But an excellent dunker and athlete he very much was.

    Not even out of high school, Miner was already nicknamed "Baby Jordan," due to his dunking ability resembling that of the Chicago Bulls great, so it should be far from a surprise that Miner entered the NBA's Slam Dunk Contest in his rookie year.

    Miner would win that 1993 contest and claim victory again in 1995. But Miner's speed, strength and supreme leaping ability didn't translate to much personal success in the Heat's regular-season contests, so the team traded him to the Cleveland Cavaliers after only three years. 

3. Shawn Marion

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    Shawn Marion was nicknamed The Matrix during his rookie year due to his incredible athleticism. And throughout his career, Marion did nothing but prove it to be completely fitting. 

    In his prime, at 6'7" and 228 pounds, Marion had the length and speed to defend multiple positions as well as the leaping ability to grab rebounds at a high clip and throw down some monster alley-oops. On top of that, Marion was always well conditioned, so his quickness became even more of an advantage as games went along and others wore down.

    Marion only played 58 games as a member of the Heat over two seasons, but his time in Miami was memorable. He contributed significantly across the board, averaging 12.6 points, 9.3 rebounds, a little over a block and 1.5 steals. 

2. Dwyane Wade

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    Dwyane Wade possesses just about every physical characteristic you want in an NBA player.

    He's extremely explosive and quick and has excellent body control when attacking the basket. He's also incredibly strong, so he doesn't get knocked over often and is able to finish at the rim. 

    His quick hands help him routinely finish among the league leaders in steals, and his shot-blocking at his position is unparalleled in the league right now. Last season, Wade led the league in blocks per game for a guard with 1.29. Brandon Rush finished second with 0.9. 

    After watching him play, whether it's due to him throwing a full-court pass to teammate LeBron James, slamming home a viscous alley-oop or making one of his famous circus shots, Wade will always leave you in total amazement of simply how athletic he is.   

1. LeBron James

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    Who else in NBA history is the term "athletic freak" more representative of than LeBron? The short answer: nobody.

    LeBron is the most explosive player in the league today, and when you figure in the fact that's he's 6'8" and 250 pounds, it's no wonder why he's almost unstoppable when he attacks the basket. Seriously, with his size, speed and pure strength, there can't be anything scarier for a defender than having LeBron push the ball up on a fast break.

    He can play point guard and power forward. He can defend centers, even the best in Dwight Howard.  With career averages of 27.6 points, 7.1 rebounds, 6.9 assists, .8 blocks and 1.7 steals, he is above and beyond the most versatile player in the NBA.

    LeBron is a human highlight reel, capable of performing like nobody else before him has. So, yes, he is unquestionably the Miami Heat's most incredible athlete.