The Miami Heat: All-Time Fab 5
This slideshow spotlights the all-time starting lineup for the Miami Heat.
Please note that this is only my opinion, but as a lifelong Miami Heat fan I hope you will agree with most, if not all of my choices.
As Miami is an expansion franchise the quality of players is pretty good compared to other expansion franchises.
Props go out to those who missed the cut:
Rony Seikaly, Udonis Haslem and Steve Smith
Point Guard: Tim Hardaway
Best season: 20.3 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 1.9 spg (1996-97)
The original inventor of the "killer crossover" Hardaway was the fiery general for the Heat during their rise as a contender in the late 1990's.
He made the All-NBA first team in 1996-97 after helping lead the Heat to a franchise best 61-21 record.
During his time with the Heat he teamed with Alonzo Mourning to make a formidable duo.
While with the Heat, Hardaway was a two time All-Star selection and three time member of an All-NBA team.
Shooting Guard: Dwyane Wade
Best season: 30.2 ppg, 5 rpg, 7.5 apg (2008-09)
After six seasons with the franchise Wade is the Heat's leading scorer and led them to their first NBA Championship in 2006.
His 34.7 ppg scoring average in the 2006 Finals only began to mark his legacy, as this last season he added a scoring crown to his trophy case.
With four All-NBA selections, five All-Star appearances and a 2008 Olympic Gold Medal, Dwyane is already the best player in Miami Heat history.
Small Forward: Glen Rice
Best statistical season: 22.3 ppg, 5 rpg (1991-92)
Considered by some as the first star in Heat history, Rice led Miami in scoring over all five seasons following his rookie season.
While he would not become an All-Star until leaving town, he averaged a career-high (then) 22.3 ppg twice while with the Heat.
Rice would finish his career with three All-Star appearances in addition to being ranked fifth all-time in three-point field goals made.
He provided Miami with its first go-to presence in the history of the franchise.
Power Forward: Alonzo Mourning
Best season: 20.1 ppg, 11 rpg, 3.9 bpg (1998-99)
If Wade is the future, Alonzo is the past. Perhaps the most loved player in Heat history, Mourning was the first cornerstone of the Heat franchise.
His arrival as orchestrated by Pat Riley lifted the Heat to contender status.
Mourning was a consecutive NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award winner in addition to leading the league in blocks in back-to-back seasons.
With seven All-Star appearances and two All-NBA selections Mourning is the second best Heat player of all-time.
He returned to the team to help them win the championship in 2006.
Center: Shaquille O'Neal
Best season: 22.9 ppg, 10.4 rpg, 2.3 bpg (2004-05)
The reason Alonzo is out of position is because I simply could not omit Shaquille O'Neal.
While the Big Aristotle played less than three full season with the Heat, he said he would bring the city a championship—and he did.
In his first season with the Heat he finished runner-up to Steve Nash for the MVP, then proceeded to help the Heat to the championship a season later.
As a member of the Heat he made three All-Star appearances and one All-NBA first team selection.
While he may not have carried Miami in the 2006 Finals, he played a damn important role in getting them there.
Head Coach & Executive: Pat Riley
Achievements: 7x NBA Champion, 3x NBA Coach of the Year, Top 10 Coaches in NBA History (1996)
If Alonzo Mourning was the first cornerstone, Pat Riley was the first master.
Riley was a genius mastermind who was the catalyst behind Miami acquiring first Mourning & Hardaway, and later key players of the 2006 championship squad (e.g. Jason Williams, Antoine Walker, Gary Payton).
He was responsible for the drafting of Dwyane Wade, leading the Heat to their first title and truly changed the culture of basketball in Miami upon his arrival.
Without Pat Riley there is no championship, and there is no Miami Heat.