Former Miami Heat guard hopes to return to the NBA

Former Miami Heat guard Norris Cole has some regrets about how his career played out.

Miami Heat v Denver Nuggets
Miami Heat v Denver Nuggets / Doug Pensinger/GettyImages

On a recent episode of The OG’s Show, former Miami Heat point guard Norris Cole opened up about why he believes his career took a downward turn after winning a pair of championships with the Heat.

It has been noted by several NBA veterans, not only Cole, that the current generation of players in the league are more knowledgeable about their business affairs compared to the previous era. Cole reflected on his past mistakes and urged young players to avoid making the same naive errors that once cost him his spot in the league.

"I learned a hard lesson about the business of basketball man," Cole told podcast hosts Udonis Haslem and Mike Miller. "For y’all young fellas out there, when you have an agent, make sure you’re involved in what’s going on. Don’t just let them handle stuff behind the scenes without you knowing but it was my first time in free agency I didn’t know that. So I had a powerful agent, and I let him do everything all the negotiates I didn’t even think twice.”

Despite having not played in the league since 2017, former Miami Heat point guard Norris Cole still hopes he can return to the NBA.

Norris added that his agent had made shabby negotiations that ruined his reputation. “He did some bad negotiation. You just got to call it what it is, and I caught wind of it late, and I ended up firing them, and you know when you fire a powerful agent, you know of course they are gonna save face. And you know that’s what happened, and you know tried to make it seem like I was the greedy one, which in reality I wasn’t.”

Cole, who has spent the past few years abroad, joined the G League with the aspiration of making a comeback to the NBA this season.

During his time with the Heat (2011-2015), Cole was part of three NBA Finals appearances, securing two championships during the Big Three era with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh. Subsequently, he had short stints with the New Orleans Pelicans and later for the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2017. Throughout his NBA career, Cole maintained an average of 7.8 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 1.8 assists. 

Afterward, he pursued his career overseas for six seasons. During the 2022-23 season, he signed with the Grand Rapids Gold, the G League affiliate for the Denver Nuggets.

Despite having not played in the NBA since 2017, Cole hopes to draw on his championship experience from a decade ago and apply that to a team sooner rather than later.

“You can’t be a championship-level backup until you play on a championship team,” Cole said. “I was fortunate enough to play on a team where I could contribute to winning in a championship environment. Having that experience allows me to share that. Being highly competitive is very important in Heat culture. Being able to learn from mistakes quickly, because championship teams learn to correct mistakes. Those experiences were my reality as a rookie, and again as a second and third-year player.”

Despite his global travels, Cole harbors a singular desire, to secure another opportunity in the NBA. Cole inked a deal with the NBA G League Ignite last year.

“I enjoyed my time overseas, but right now my goal is to play in the NBA,” Cole said. "I want to give it every chance that I have to get back in. I’m willing to make the sacrifice of turning down bigger contracts overseas to play in the G League and give it a chance to get back up.”

Cole believes that his experience as a seasoned player enables him to excel as both a mentor and a teammate.

“I've learned so much,” Cole said. “I was fortunate to play with a lot of good veterans, a Hall of Fame coach, and a great college coach as well. The best part is to be an example. Being early, studying film, always getting the body right, and being proactive. The second part is in-game situations: Letting the young guys play to their instincts and then giving them something to think about. I don’t want to tell a guy exactly what to do. I just try to show him things that have worked in the past and give him something to think about. So the next time they’re in those situations, they have something that they can fall back on.”

Haslem has endorsed Cole's efforts to make a comeback in the NBA. In the podcast, Haslem stressed the importance of having experienced players like Cole on current teams who can be an example to the next generation of NBA players in terms of securing championships, but most importantly, how to be a leader on the team on and off the basketball court.

“It’s one thing for an older player to talk to younger players,” Cole said. “It’s another thing when a veteran player who can still play is there with them in the locker room day-to-day. That goes a long way, and that’s what my teammates express to me. It’s great to have a guy who can still play and show them the ropes, rather than just being an older guy telling them what to do.

"I believe that’s one thing I bring to the table that I can bring to an NBA franchise.”