Miami Heat: Ranking the 10 Best Players in Franchise History

Adam DavisCorrespondent ISeptember 7, 2011

Miami Heat: Ranking the 10 Best Players in Franchise History

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    The Miami Heat have been around for over 20 years, and even though the franchise has only won a single NBA Championship, it has been the home of some incredible players. 

    Excellent Heat players have been acquired through the draft as well as free agency and trades, and some of these guys could very well be future Hall of Famers. 

    While some of the guys on this list only made brief appearances in South Beach and others have played for the Heat their entire careers, they all had a major impact on making the Heat what it is today. Let's see who made the cut. 

10. Jamal Mashburn

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    Mashburn was a solid contributor for the Heat and helped them to win four consecutive Atlantic division titles. All that without most of the guys on this list. Impressive. 

9. Udonis Haslem

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    Haslem is a fan favorite in Miami considering he is a homegrown star. He grew up and attended high school in Miami and went to the University of Florida. Haslem is an electrifying player who is a solid role player on the current Heat roster as well as their championship team in 2006.  

8. Rony Seikaly

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    Seikaly was the first player to be drafted in franchise history back in 1988, and he won the team's first-ever NBA award for Most Improved Player in 1990. He is known for holding a number of franchise records as well as being particularly awesome considering he is sitting next to former Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover model Elsa Benitez in this picture. 

7. Chris Bosh

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    I'm a big fan of Chris Bosh and I think he's a great player, but until he shows some serious improvement and domination on the court he will remain in the bottom half of this list.

    Still, Bosh is a six-time All-Star and has the potential to be one of the top forwards in the league. Maybe the next time this list is written up he'll have risen in the ranks. 

6. Glen Rice

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    As I spent hours playing through all of the modes in the new NBA Jam game, I was a bit surprised to see that Glen Rice was unlockable as a member of the Miami Heat instead of the Charlotte Hornets.

    Rice did, however, have some of his best years in Miami as he averaged 20 points in his five final seasons with the franchise. He also holds the franchise record for most points in a single game with 56. 

5. Tim Hardaway

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    Tim Hardaway is one of two Heat players to have his number retired by the club for the effort he put in in making the team relevant in the late 1990s. Hardaway was a very solid player for the Heat and still holds several franchise records. 

4. LeBron James

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    While I am a huge LeBron James fan, I still think he has a long way to go as a member of the Heat to rise up in these rankings. I think it's very possible after another season or two, but right now LeBron stands at fourth. 

    James is a great player who has serious potential inside of him, and while he didn't win a ring for the Heat this year, he did help lead them to the finals, which is at least a start. 

3. Shaquille O'Neal

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    Shaq's dominance as a player was one of the key reasons why the Heat were able to win it all in 2006. The big man was a force in the 2006 season and him teaming up with Wade showed glimpses of his greatness in L.A. with Kobe.

    Shaq is definitely one of the best Heat players ever even though he only played a few seasons with the franchise. 

2. Alonzo Mourning

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    Not only did Zo contribute greatly to the Heat with his intensity on the floor, but he also did it as a natural-born leader in helping to mentor young Miami players like Dwyane Wade.

    Mourning's jersey number was retired by the Heat which shows what he did to make this team what it is today. He was a major part of the 2006 title run and if he could've played longer in the league, well, who knows what he could have done. 

1. Dwyane Wade

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    Were you expecting someone else?

    D-Wade is without a doubt the best player in franchise history, and will likely remain so for a long time. He led the team to its first championship in 2006 and is still the true leader of the team, even after the arrival of LeBron and Bosh. 

    Wade is not only an incredible talent but he is also a humble player who leads by example, one that the fans can't help but love. He is exactly what the Heat could ask for and will hopefully help return the NBA Championship to the city.