Who are the 20 greatest people in Miami Heat history? You all voted and we have the results.
This is an important question, as the Heat have been to four NBA Finals in eight seasons, and have won three. This franchise that was born in 1988 is well on its way to joining the likes of the Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers and Chicago Bulls and NBA royalty.
More than 180 votes were cast from mid-July to mid-August with the final list comprising mostly of players. Honorable mentions that did not make the final 20 include Chris Andersen (32 votes), Eddie Jones (32 votes), Bob McAdoo (32 votes), Stan Van Gundy (31 votes), Ron Rothstein (28 votes), Steve Smith (25 votes) and Heat announcers Eric Reid (24 votes) and Tony Florentino (23 votes).
Personally, I find it hard to believe that Eric Reid did not get more votes. Obviously he can be a bit of a homer, but he has been synonymous with Heat hoops for the last 25 years. Since I’m editor, I’m making him the honorary honorable mention.
But you all voted, so, without further “Adoo”, here are your 20.
20. Tie between Chris “Birdman” Andersen, Eddie Jones and Bob McAdoo with 32 votes each
Birdman is an underdog on this list that somehow made a push for the top 20. After just one season with the Heat, he leaped Heat all-timers Ron Rothstein and Steve Smith. Is it all hype, or do fans really believe that without Birdman, the Heat lose to the Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals and the Big Three era comes crashing down?
Eddie Jones was on the Heat for a bazillion years and was part of the Dwyane Wade and Shaq team that won a title in 2006. Bob McAdoo is currently an assistant coach for the Heat who had a great playing career… just never with the Heat.
19-18. Gary Payton and Dan Majerle with 33 votes each
Dan Majerle I can understand. He played for the Heat for half a decade and had some very good years.
But Gary Payton? Yes, the glove was terrific, incredible. He’s a Hall-of-Famer. But for the Heat? He backed up Jason Williams for Pete’s sake and played in Miami for just two seasons. But he was a part of that 2006 Championship team… soooooo.
Did Payton get the McAdoo treatment and crack the top 20 because of his name? Is he really more important to the Heat than Eric Reid?
17. P.J. Brown, 34 votes
Now we are getting into some classic 90′s Heat teams. P.J. Brown was a fixture on those late 90′s squads. Good job, fans.
16. Rony Seikaly, 43 votes
The first-ever draft pick by the Miami Heat in in 1988, the Heat drafted Seikaly out of Syracuse with the ninth overall pick. He immediately became a cornerstone of the franchise, leading the team in points, rebounds and blocks in his second year.
He averaged 16 points and 10 rebounds a game with the Heat and is cemented in team history with his records as one of the franchise’s greatest rebounders.
15. Mike Miller, 48 votes
Sigh. This one is bitter sweet, aint it, folks? Miller was amnestied but we can still remember the ole’ sharp shooter fondly.
Remember, years ago, when he hit a million threes in Game 5 of the NBA Finals to suck the life out of the Oklahoma City Thunder? Good times. It seems like a lifetime ago that Miller hit the one-shoe-three to keep the Heat alive in Game 6 against the San Antonio Spurs. I think he and Seikaly were on the same team, no? If not, they were close. But I have a distinct memory of Seikaly working in the post and passing it out to Miller to hit what would have been considered a three-pointer, but the NBA did not yet institute the three-point shot.
The Heat need a new Miller. They haven’t been able to fill his shoes (or shoe) since he left.
14. Mario Chalmers, 51 votes
Although he should not be allowed to be anywhere near a basketball, Chalmers is easlily one of the greatest draft picks in Miami Heat history. Taken in the second round out of Kansas, Chalmers thinks he has made a living by thinking he is better than he really is, but really he made a living by being better than he was expected to be.
He might be 14th on greatest people in Miami Heat history, but he is first on everyone’s sh*t list.
13. Shane Battier, 53 votes
More than a flopper, Battier has been around winning teams his entire career. He was a part of the Heat’s 27-game win streak this past season, the Houston Rockets 22-game win streak and Duke’s 32-game run in college.
Battier, I believe, should be in the NBA Hall of Fame. Why? Hear me out:
- We all agree that you can’t define a basketball player or game by just the stats, right? Right.
- Well, then, wouldn’t you say the argument against Battier not having “Hall-of-Fame stats” is short-sided and therefore illegitimate?
- When it comes down to it, don’t we want our players to win? (ehem, 27, 22, 32, two NBA titles)
- His career could be defined by getting teams over the hump. The perennial “missing piece.” Battier has gotten great players into the Hall, shouldn’t he join them?
12. Glen Rice, 64 votes
What more can I say? Drafted fourth overall by the Heat in 1989, he was paired up with Seikaly to start the franchise on a high note. He took the Heat to the playoffs twice before newly hired man-in-charge Pat Riley (later) traded him to the Hornets for Alonzo Mourning (also later).
11. Ray Allen, 71 votes
10. Shaquille O’Neal, 82 votes
The Los Angeles Lakers traded Shaq to the Heat in 2004 for Caron Butler, Lamar Odom, Brian Grant (one of my all-time favorite Heat players, but you don’t care), a future first-round pick and a mountain of fresh-off-the-Port-of-Miami cocaine. Shaq escaped Kobe Bryant and the Heat acquired a veteran all-star to pair along with budding super star Dwyane Wade. The Heat won its first-ever NBA Championship a season later. I would argue that this is THE MOST IMPORTANT TRADE IN MIAMI HEAT HISTORY. (I don’t count the sign-and-trade for LeBron a real a trade, that’s more like a wink wink deal)
The Shaq trade gave the Heat something LeBron James in Cleveland and Carmelo Anthony in Denver didn’t have — a legitimate all-star to play with. It put the Heat on the map with its first ever NBA title and set up the Heat for prolonged success. I believe that without this trade, the Heat float around in mediocre-ville/Atlanta territory until Wade follows in the footsteps of LeBron and Melo and forces a trade out of Miami… probably to Chicago.
But it didn’t happen that way. Instead, Miami became the place to be and has three franchise titles to show for it.
9-7. Udonis Haslem, Tim Hardaway and Chris Bosh with 86 votes each
Haslem, Hardaway and Bosh tied?! Honestly, you guys did a terrible job voting. I buy all of them in the Top Ten but someone has to be decisive.
Who, me? No. No I can’t choose.
6. Micky Arison, 92 votes
The Jew! The Captain! The Bank! THE JEW!
None of this could be possible without this guy. Every great franchise needs a “Jerry Buss” — someone that can embrace the heart and culture of the city within the franchise — and Arison did just that by posing with an ex-Mob-guy-convicted-of-murder-turned-South-Beach-night-club owner and a woman wearing an upside-down-cleavage dress at the post-Championship celebration.
(Why is it when someone says Micky Arison, I automatically think of Modest Mouse song “Float On”?)
TOP FIVE/ ONE HUNDRED CLUB
5. Erik Spoelstra, 100 votes
Often thought of as Pat Riley’s puppet earlier in his coaching career, Spo has separated himself with a revolutionary style of play, two championships and one Grammy award for his hit “Just the Way You Are.”
He will go down as the winningest coach in Miami Heat history.
4. Alonzo Mourning, 112 votes
Mr. Heat himself. Mourning was the Heat for the better part of the 90s and then rejoined the Heat in 2005 to be an important part of the team’s first-ever championship after overcoming a kidney transplant. What did you do in 2005?
Mourning couldn’t leave the Heat, so now he the Vice President of Player Programs and Development for the Heat. (Clue: Anytime someone has “development” in their job title, they don’t really do anything)
When playing, Mourning was a dominant shot blocker and a two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award winner. He was also involved in one of the greatest brawls in NBA history in a fight with Larry Johnson.
3. LeBron James, 125 votes
Could the greatest player, potentially, in NBA history be third on this list? Weird.
LeBron has done more than bring two more titles to Miami while simultaneously pissing off the rest of the country — he has put the Heat franchise on the forefront of the NBA.
We know how the NBA works, only a select few chosen franchises get to win NBA titles and consistently compete. As long as Miami has LeBron, the Heat are one of those franchises.
2. Pat Riley, 134 votes
But the man who really put the Heat on the map is this guy. He ditched the Knicks for the Heat then created a bitter rivalry between the Knicks and the Heat. Swag. He made the Heat matter in the 90s, then took a front office role and made Stav Van Gundy the coach. He drafted Dwyane Wade and traded for Shaq, then fired Stan to the Van to the Gundy and won the title himself. Swag. Then, in the summer of 2010, he convinced Wade to stay and LeBron and Bosh to join. He pissed off the Knicks and SVG (it’s funny ’cause he’s fat), made the Heat competitive and then created a Heat dynasty all in one paragraph.
1. Dwyane Wade, 141 votes
Let’s get this out of the way: Would LeBron have come to miami if not for Wade? No.
Drafted fifth overall out of Marquette in 2003, Wade is the greatest draft pick in Miami Heat history. He resurrected the Heat franchise by taking them to the playoffs in his rookie season.
Then, he was joined by Shaq and won a title and NBA Finals MVP in 2006. Wade made a living off a deadly fadeaway early in his career and patented the jump-into-the-guy shot that guarantees an and-one opportunity within the Association’s wacky rules. He has since evolved his game to become the NBA’s best shot-blocking guard and one of the league’s best (and underrated) defenders.
How he overcomes his knee issues will determine where he ranks among the NBA’s greatest ever. But there is little doubt that Wade will likely overthrow Mourning as Mr. Heat and could go down as the greatest Miami Heat player of all time.
As of now, he is.
What do you think of the list? You voted, now give us your thoughts in the comments section below.