The Miami Heat organization hasn't been around as long as most of the clubs in the NBA, but they still have managed to establish a very rich tradition of winning and first class attitudes.
They have been around since 1988. They're first home was a place called the Miami Arena, one of the jazziest arenas of it's day.
The Heat actually had some pretty good drafts in their first two seasons. They grabbed five players that would have solid NBA careers: Glen Rice, Sherman Douglas, Kevin Edwards, Rony Seikaly and Grant Long.
The Heat would struggle for the first three years of their history, but the team would change their luck in 1991 with the drafting of Steve Smith. Behind Smith running the show with Glen Rice, the Heat would get their first trip to NBA post-season play.
That lead to the coupling of Pat Riley, Alonzo Mourning, and Tim Hardaway.
Those three would combine to lead the Heat to four consecutive Atlantic Division championships(1997-2001).
The Miami Heat are an organization that have yielded four players to play for the USA national team (Wade, Mourning, Smith, and Hardaway.)
The organization has reached the playoffs in 14 of it's 22 years in the league. Yes, the basketball gods have been good to the Heat.
Whatever players come to this club will have a steep mountain to climb if they want to go down as all-time favorites in the eyes of Heat fans.
1. Tim Hardaway (367 games)
2. Sherman Douglas (159 games)
3. Jason Williams (187 games)
4. Bimbo Coles (462 games)
5. Mario Chalmers (155 games)
Tim Hardaway is mostly remembered as a young guard for the Golden State Warriors. But he should always be remembered as the greatest point guard in Miami Heat history.
Hardaway played over six seasons as a member of the Miami Heat. He lead the Heat to six straight post-seasons. He would also lead the the Heat to four consecutive division titles. He is also the only point guard to make an All-Star team in Miami Heat history.
Sherman Douglas would only play two seasons for the Heat but they would be two spectacular seasons for the young guard who went on to become one of the best statistical point men in Boston Celtics history.
Jason Williams will forever be remembered as the starting point guard of the Heat's lone Championship team.
The Heat haven't been blessed with a ton of All-Star caliber talent at the point position, but they have had some pretty good contributors and floor generals.
This free agent period doesn't offer up much, but it does offer a few upgrades from last season.
Mario Chalmers is still a part of the Heat organization and his career has yet to be written. If he is moved, I hope Luke Ridnour is the next guy to get a chance to climb the charts.
1. Dwyane Wade
2. Steve Smith
3. Eddie Jones
4. Dan Majerle
5. Kevin Edwards
In just seven short years, Dwyane Wade has ascended to the top of the Heat mountain. He owns nearly every Heat record not related to rebounding and blocks.
He will forever be remembered as the player that carried the Heat to their lone NBA Championship.
Steve Smith changed the culture of Miami Heat basketball. The team saw an immediate impact when he was drafted. He helped lead the team to their first playoff appearance as a rookie and would go on to become one of the most clutch shooters of his era.
Eddie Jones will probably be remembered as the home town guy that didn't get it done. However, he also should be honored for his helping in the development of Dwyane Wade and his constant effort. He left everything out on the floor.
1. Glen Rice (478 games)
2. Jamal Mashburn (180 games)
3. Caron Butler (134 games)
4. Keith Askins (486 games)
5. Willie Burton (223 games)
Glen Rice is a top five all-time Heat player. Before Wade arrived, Glen "G-Money" Rice was the greatest scorer in Miami Heat history. He was the original face of the franchise.
Glen Rice is regarded as the greatest outside shooter in Miami Heat history and one of the best in NBA history. He never lead the Miami Heat past the first round, but that was mostly due to Jordan and his Bulls.
Jamal Mashburn was never the scoring machine that he was in Dallas and Charlotte, but he was the most versatile member of his Heat clubs.
Caron Butler had a legit chance to go down as the greatest at his position, but he was moved before his third season began in order to get Shaq to Miami.
The Heat have had a lot of one season stop-gap players that helped the franchise. They also have groomed players that have gone on to do better elsewhere. It'll be interesting to see who mans the spot next season.
Offseason rumors have the Miami Heat targeting LeBron James and Mike Miller. Other rumors have Beasley being moved to the position.
Whoever it is, they will be contending with a very rich tradition of talented small forwards.
1. PJ Brown (284 games)
2. Udonis Haslem (517 games)
3. Michael Beasley (159 games)
4. Grant Long (541 games)
5. Lamar Odom (80 games)
P.J. Brown is the second greatest defender in Miami Heat history, only a center that wore the No. 33 was better. Brown was the ultimate Pat Riley guy and will forever be remembered as a hard-nosed, no-nonsense kind of guy.
Udonis Haslem is the hometown hero that leaves it all on the court. His effort and professionalism has allowed fans to ignore many of his shortcomings. He is a free agent currently and it appears that after seven seasons, he'll be calling somewhere else home next season.
Between Michael Beasley and Lamar Odom, the Heat have had two of the most talented and versatile players at their position in NBA history. The two also are associated with not living up to their maximum potential.
What isn't said about Beasley and Odom are their contributions to the Heat becoming playoff teams. Both arrived after the Heat had finished with 25 or fewer wins. Both contributed heavily to their clubs winning 42+ games and making the playoffs in their first season.
This has been the most prolific position in Heat history. They've seemingly always had a top 20 power forward, and it appears things just got brighter with Chris Bosh saying that he will join the Heat for the next half decade.
The future is indeed looking brighter for Miami.
1. Alonzo Mourning (593 games)
2. Rony Seikaly (439 games)
3. Shaquille O'Neal (205 games)
4. Jermaine O'Neal (97 games)
5. Isaac Austin (134 games)
If ever their was a foundation for a franchise, it was Alonzo Mourning. He embodied everything that a player should represent for a franchise. And he wasn't too shabby a player either.
Mourning is atop all the defensive statistics and is regarded by Heat team president, Pat Riley, as the greatest Miami Heat player ever. Had it not been for his kidney ailment, the Miami Heat fans might not have known the name Dwyane Wade.
Rony Seikaly is the greatest rebounder in Miami Heat history. He was the original big man and manned the position very well for six seasons. For five consecutive seasons, he averaged 15+ points per game and 10+ rebounds per game...same as Alonzo Mourning.
Shaquille will be remembered for helping lead the Heat to their only title. He also will be remembered for the downfall of the team after that. He failed to keep the team together while Wade was injured. Ultimately, the club would be dismantled because of his poor play and lack of leadership skills.
The Heat have a rich history of good to great play at the center position. With the position vacant, it'll be interesting to see who the next big man is.
Will it be the second round selection of this past NBA draft, Dexter Pittman? Or will it be a NBA veteran like Brendan Haywood?
Whoever it is, he better bring his hard hat. The Heat have a long history of getting the most out of their big men.
Most Heat fans are aware of the rich history and culture that has been established.
The Miami Heat organization hasn't been showered in NBA titles, most of which is largely due to the Chicago Bulls and the New York Knicks. However, all this is about to change.
With Wade and Bosh confirming that they will team up in Miami, the Heat is set to have the greatest pairing of players since Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant teamed up for three titles and a brief LA dynasty.
This free agent class has a chance to do the same for Miami. Having two of the top 10 players on their roster, the Heat have the potential to create something great.
It will be on their front office to fill out the roster with the pieces needed to help the team win multiple titles. Today really is a good day to be a Miami Heat fan.
The rest of the NBA might not be feeling so lucky!