Miami Heat turn up the heat to win another NBA championship
The heater is on! The Miami Heat, that is. Although relatively new to the NBA, the Heat have already made their mark. In just two decades, the team has played in three Eastern Conference Finals and taken home the NBA Finals trophy. The Heat have even produced a basketball Hall of Famer, Pat Riley. How did it all start and how did the Heat rise to the top of the NBA totem pole?
Once upon a time, Miami had hosted an ABA team, the Miami Floridians. In 1988, the Heat were one of four new NBA expansion teams in two years. How did they become Heat? Fans participated in a “name the team” contest, defeating the other finalist names, including “Flamingo” and “Waves.” Here are some interesting facts about Miami, the city that the Heat represents:
or annual average sunny days: 250
o Average winter temperature: 60-75 ° F, or 15-24 ° C
o Average annual rainfall: 1.07 inches per week
o number of golf courses: more than 1200
o major industries: international trade, software, tourism
Although the Miami Heat finished 15-67 during their first season (1988-1989), they posted an excellent 61-21 record in the 1996-1997 campaign. After defeating the Orlando Magic (3-2) and the New York Knicks (4-2), they lost to the mighty Chicago Bulls in the Conference Finals (4-1).
Then, in 2005 and 2006, the Miami Heat made back-to-back trips to the Eastern Conference Finals. In the 2004-2005 season, the addition of Shaquille O’Neal by the Heat complemented Dwyane Wade and made them immediate contenders for an NBA championship. After amassing an impressive 59-23 record in the regular season, the Heat eliminated the New Jersey Nets (4-0) and the Washington Wizards (4-0). However, they lost the Conference Finals to the Detroit Pistons (4-3), in part because of Wade’s injury.
For the next season, the Miami Heat had a mission. They added Gary Payton, Antoine Walkers and Jason Williams, adding more depth to their squad. Although the team was not consistent, they finished the regular season with a 52-30 record. In the playoffs, they got rid of the Chicago Bulls (4-2), the New Jersey Nets (4-1) and the Detroit Pistons (4-2). In the NBA Finals, the Heat battled the Dallas Mavericks, eventually winning their first NBA Championship (4-2).
Throughout its history, the Miami Heat have had several key players, including:
Tim Hardaway: All-time attendance leader for the Heat (1,947) and contributed to some of the Heats’ best seasons.
Alonzo Mourning: All-time leading scorer for the Heat and Defensive Player of the Year twice (1999, 2000)
Shaquille O’Neal: Without a doubt, a future Hall of Famer and a key player in the Heat’s first NBA championship.
Glen Rice: He averaged 20 points per game during his last five seasons with the Heat.
Dwyane Wade – Member of the NBA All-Rookie team and Finals MVP during the 2006 series.
Although the Miami Heat is only two decades old, they have already won an NBA Championship. Use Miami Heat merchandise to cheer on the team as the heat rises!