Jun 20, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat fans celebrate outside the arena following game seven in the 2013 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena. Miami defeated the San Antonio Spurs 95-88 to win the NBA Championship. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Miami Heat, Not Dolphins, Own South Florida

The Miami Heat may have a Dan Marino jersey hanging from the rafters, but they also have another NBA title banner to hang up. It seems the Heat may have taken South Florida away from the Miami Dolphins.

The Heat have gone to the NBA finals each of the last three seasons, winning two in a row. During that same three years, the Dolphins have’t posted a winning season, going 7-9, 6-10 and 7-9 — a combined 20-28. The Heat have won 74 percent of its games while the Dolphins have won just 41.6 percent.

LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Pat Riley call American Airlines Arena home. The Dolphins have renamed its stadium four times since 2005, the most recent name being Sun Life Stadium, and haven’t had a bonafide super star put on the aqua and orange since Ricky Williams.

Is it possible that South Florida has become a basketball town?

Brian Hartline, Mike Pouncey and Stephen Ross, Mike Dee and Warren Sapp all recently talked to the Miami Herald about this issue.

Team owner Stephen Ross agrees. He grew up in Miami and concedes it’s a tough town in which to sell tickets if you don’t win. But he says the Dolphins and Heat can both thrive in the market.

“They’ve been successful, and I applaud them for that,” Ross says. “There’s enough out there for both of us if we’re winning. … You’ve got to win.”

Along with too many losses, a lack of star power is part of the Dolphins’ profile problem. While the Heat have one of the world’s most famous athletes and three NBA All-Stars, the Dolphins’ 2013 media guide has a helmet and football on the cover, instead of a player.

If the Dolphins put together a promising season and second-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill can show he should be grouped with fellow sophomores Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson instead of Brandon Weeden, then maybe they can escape the shadow of the Heat.

After all, the Dolphins have more history and stronger roots than the Heat. But the Heat, right now, are winning championships and doing it in an exciting way while getting tons of national attention.

The Heat’s offseason revolved around keeping many of the same guys around, with the exception of Mike Miller and Greg Oden. But the Dolphins have been churning and rebuilding its roster for years without finding any prolonged success.

It isn’t all about super stars. They help, of course, but not as much as winning. What else is that with the constant shuffling of players in and out of Dolphins-world, it makes it difficult for fans to get attached to the players on the team and player recognition suffers. You may not lose the die hards that way, but it sure does make it tough for the casual fan to pay attention, especially when the Heat demand it.

The Dolphins have created some buzz in SoFla by changing its logo, signing Mike Wallace and a handful of other free agents and trading up in the draft to get Jason-Taylor-body-double Dion Jordan, but it won’t mean anything if they don’t win.

The Heat ranked third in the NBA in attendance, filling the AAA to an average of 102 percent capacity. The Dolphins were fourth from the bottom in the NFL in total attendance, and last in percentage attendance filling Sun Life just 76.3 percent last season.

So this season, while the Heat look to get one more, the Dolphins are hoping to get a lot more.

If the Dolphins have any hope of beating the Heat, they have to beat some NFL teams first.

Get your tickets for the 2013-14 Miami Heat season from Go Tickets. The home opener is October 29th against the Chicago Bulls where you’ll be able to see the third championship banner in team history rise to the rafters.

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Tags: Miami Dolphins Miami Heat

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