Top Ten South Florida Sports Events of the Decade
Its been an unforgettable decade. From crazy headlines to record-breaking performances, this has for sure been the best decade of the millennium so far.
From Steve Bartman's impeccable fielding to the close foul of Dwyane Wade in the finals, we have been dealt some good hands this decade.
There were some memorable drafts and offseasons which resulted in the arrivals of Shaq, Hanley, Joey Porter, and Roberto Luongo.
We replaced some overrated and overhyped coaches, with coaches who show promise for the future. Wannstedt had a decent run, but he was ousted. We believed that Saban was our future, but after a disappointment of a season, we were sure that Cam Cameron's offensive genius was our answer.
After a one-win season, we have finally returned to the good caliber coach that Miami is used to.
Pat Riley started us off. Stan carried us until we had a championship caliber team, and then Riley had to return. His stay lasted until we didn't have a good team, and then Coach Spo took over.
Butch Davis recruited a team which consisted of over ten first round draft picks and pro-bowlers. He was not able to see his team win.
Larry Coker got a good name for leading a team to a championship, that any reader of this slideshow could have won with.
After years of realizing that our coach was not a typical UM coach, Randy Shannon took over to try to put the fear back in the name. The U will soon be back.
Coaches Sparano, Shannon, and Spoelstra have displayed good seasons, with the two professional coaches making the playoffs, and Randy Shannon having a nine-win season which seems to erase every memory of the Larry Coker regime.
(Pete Deboer looks to finally bring another playoff run to the Panthers, after a "fluke" Stanley Cup run in the 90s.) And Fredi Gonzalez's team is looking good too. Lets review.
10. Founding of the Miami Sol
The sheer joy that a city gets from a new budding franchise, is not measurable.
With the franchise's most storied athlete, Ruth Riley, being a hometown hero, this franchise was modeled and destined for greatness.
9. Folding of the Miami Sol
No greater joy comes to a football city, as when the WNBA franchise calls it quits.
This propelled Miami sports to try to prove that they can exist without the high-flying action of the WNBA.
8. Darko Milicic and Chris Bosh Selected Before Dwyane Tyrone Wade Jr.
I remember seeing every single ESPN mock draft, and being excited over the arrival of a big man to Miami.
Chris Bosh was the consensus No. 5 pick by the Miami Heat in the 2003 NBA draft. For some reason, two big men were chosen before Wade, which allowed the Heat to settle for the recently noticed triple-double performer.
With one of the big men being unhappy in Toronto, and the other one being on more teams in a week than cities in America, I think we got the larger half of the straw.
Wade is a perennial All-Star who will shine for years to come. His scoring title and finals MVP are just dots on the radar of what will be, when all said and done, one of the most storied careers in NBA history.
7. Dan Marino Finally Gets His Ring
After the retirement of the holder-of-all-records quarterback, the Dolphins inducted him into their Ring of Fame in 2000.
He got his Hall of Fame induction (and ring) in 2005. He still remains a fan favorite all across Miami.
6. Saturday, June 24, 2000
The Panthers acquired the franchise's best goalie and best position player in the same trade from the Islanders.
Jokinen has the franchise record with 419 points in 567 games. Luongo holds the record for most wins and shutouts in a season, along with most career games played, won, and shutouts recorded for the panthers.
This trade made the Panthers contend for some years, although never making the playoffs. This trade is this high because for years the only two players that anyone in South Florida knew, who were on the Panthers, were Jokinen and Luongo.
5. Trade for Hanley Ramirez
In 2005, when the Marlins traded Beckett, Lowell, and Mota, namely our best starter, reliever, and one of our best all-around players, I thought the franchise was done for.
We got in return Anibal Sanchez and Hanley Ramirez. In return we got a no-hitter. In return we got a player who Baseball Tonight deemed as one of the top two players in the league.
He won the batting tile. He won Rookie of the Year. There are more good years that will come; as long as the franchise drops its love of fire sales.
4. Trade for Shaquille O'Neal
On July 14, 2004, Shaq arrived in Miami after we sent Lamar Odom, Caron Butler, Brian Grant, and a future first rounder to get the big Aristotle.
We won a championship with him, which is why the trade is ranked so high up.
But after his second year, in which we won the championship, The Diesel was starting to go downhill.
3. Florida Marlins Championship
"Trying to win it all again. Posada, slow roller right side. Beckett picks it up, tags Posada, and the Florida Marlins are World Champions! The Marlins have stunned the Yankees, shocked New York, and this improbable team, improbable ride. They end up on top, winning in six games over the Yankees.
—Final out of Game 6."
2003 brought a sense of rejuvenation to a city and a franchise still traumatized by the effects of the fire sale of the 1997 team. WIth a rotation, where the weakest link was the rookie of the year. Josh Beckett, Brad Penny, AJ Burnett, Carl Pavano, Mark Redman, and the occasional D-Train.
After a lucky error against the Giants, and a bunch of Cubs (players and fans alike) miscues, the Marlins were slated to play the Yankees. The Yankees, coming off of a great ending to the ALCS where Aaron "Bleepin" Boone hit them to victory were the heavy favorites.
After Josh Beckett allowed only one run in two starts, the Marlins hoisted the trophy again.
2. Miami Hurricanes Football Championship
I was looking for a good picture to describe the 2001 Hurricanes. I was looking for a picture that could display their dominance. There was none.
A National Championship has never been so much of an understatement. They outscored their opponents 552-117. That is less than 10 points a game surrendered.
They had 16 future first-round draft picks from this team. They had three Pro Bowl running backs, a Pro Bowl receiver, two Pro Bowl safeties, and a demeanor that would make anyone want to forfeit.
May we return to the promised land again.
1. Miami Heat World Championship
It was a long time coming. The Heat of the 1990s were arguably a better team, but the team of 2006 did not have Michael Jordan waiting for them.
In Shaq's second season, the Heat were victorious. Dwyane cemented his place in the upper eschelon of the league. ZO showed that he had fully recovered from his illness. And everything that year fell into place.
The unity in Miami at this point was unfathomable. The demeanor of people on the streets were so elevated by the one unifying moment of a Miami Heat championship.
With Shaq's 30-20 game against the Bulls, Dwyane's buzzer steal against the Nets, The convincing win against the Pistons, and the overcoming of a 2-0 deficit in the finals, the Heat wanted to prove that they can finish games. And they did
Heat- ZO's comeback
Marlins- Resigning of Hanley Ramirez (showed that they will spend money)
Panthers- Drafting Nathan Horton
Hurricanes- Returning to prominence this year with nine wins
Heat- ZO's Kidney Failure
Marlins- Joe Girardi's premature firing
Dolphins- 1-15 season
Hurricanes- 5-7 Season in 2007