After the team's disappointing loss to the Detroit Pistons in the 2005 Eastern Conference Finals, Pat Riley decided the roster that had won 59 games in 04-05 wasn't good enough to compete for a championship.
He wasn't kidding around, either.
Riley orchestrated a 5-team, 13 player trade that was the largest in NBA history. Gone were names like Eddie Jones, Damon Jones, and Rasual Butler; replaced by Antoine Walker and Jason Williams.
After the trade, Riley added Gary Payton, James Posey, Jason Kapono, and later Alonzo Mourning.
The roster from the year before was almost completely overhauled, but the results were mixed. The Heat went 52-30 in the regular season, finishing second in the Eastern Conference.
Though their record was solid, Miami had struggled all season against division leaders, winning just two of those contests in the regular season.
Media and fans from around the league labeled the franchise as overrated because of their poor showing against the NBA's elite, but a determined Heat team silenced all doubters on their way toward becoming the 2006 World Champions.
Gary Payton and Alonzo Mourning had been waiting a combined 33 seasons for that moment, and it showed every minute of the playoffs. There are few players whose hunger for a ring elevated their games more than the duo.
Mourning made a ton of key defensive plays throughout the postseason and his passion and emotion became the embodiment of the roster as a whole.
Gary didn't provide as much, but when it was all on the line he wasn't afraid to step up.
In game 3 of the NBA Finals, with the Heat down 0-2 in the series, Payton lined up for a jump shot with 9 seconds remaining and the game tied at 95. The moment was supposed to belong to Dwyane Wade, but with Dallas throwing everything they had at him, Wade dished the ball off to the Glove.
Payton hadn't attempted a single shot in the contest to that point. He nailed the bucket for a swish as ice pumped through his veins and the Heat went on to win 98-96. They'd win the next three games to take the title.
That season, Miami would defeat the Detroit Pistons in 6 games to reach the Finals. Wade would put together one of the most impressive postseason runs in NBA history.
Shaq witnessed the final year of his prime. Pat Riley would return to the bench midway through the season and solidify his position as one of the all-time great coaches.
The Miami Heat would reach the pinnacle of their sport and log their name in the history books.
It was the first and only NBA Finals appearance in Heat history and cemented the 2005-2006 team as the greatest in franchise history.