Since 1988, when the Heat were established, they have appeared in 5 finals and have won 3 championships. Dwyane Wade was the key to all of these championships. There would not be any championships without the star of the show: Dwyane Wade. The Heat have done a good job surrounding Dwayne Wade with the talent that he needs so that he could thrive in his time in Miami.
Here are the Top 5 additions to the Miami Heat:
5. Udonis Haslem
Udonis Haslem went undrafted in the 2002 draft, so he decided to go and play overseas with the Élan Chalon in France for a season. Haslem averaged 16.1 points and 9.4 rebounds in his one season in France. The Heat signed Haslem during the 2003 offseason, and during his rookie year in the NBA he averaged 7.3 points and 6.3 rebounds per game.
Since Haslem’s arrival the heat he has become the vocal leader of this team inside and outside of the locker room and has earned the nickname “Mr. 305,” because Haslem has been in Miami all of his life. He went to Miami High School, Miami University, and is playing for the Miami Heat. Haslem is 36 and is still on the team that gave him a chance in the NBA.So far, UD is averaging 7.9 points and 7.0 rebounds per game for his career. UdonisHaslemhas always played with heart and a chip on his shoulder which is why he is one of the Miami Greats.
4. The Big 3
Wow. Pat Riley pulled off a miracle with bringing these three players together. Not only did Riley add two more superstars to his team, but he made it work. Money would seem to be an issue, but because of players taking pay cuts, most notably Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem, The Big 3 was formed and went on to go to 4 Finals and win 2 Championships.
This trio of basketball players will forever be remembered in the world of basketball as one of the best trios to play the game.
3. Shaq O'Neal
Shaquille O’Neal. This man is one of the best to ever to play to sport of basketball. Shaq is the definition of a big body in the paint. Standing at 7’1 and weighing in at 344 pounds he was a foe to backboards all across the country. Pat Riley acquired Shaq through a trade with the Lakers that involved Caron Butler, Lamar Odom, Brian Grant, and a first-round pick. Was it worth it for Pat Riley to give up that much for one player? Yes. Shaq made an immediate impact in Miami.
Both Shaq and Alonzo Mourning shot 60% during the championship year run in 2006, while Haslem led the team in rebounds at 634 total rebounds. Shaq was truly one of a kind and there will never be another great big man like Shaquille O’Neal.
2. Alonzo Mourning
Alonzo Mourning is one of Miami’s best big men ever. There is no comparison to the impact that he made to the team and what he meant to the team. Zo was drafted 2nd overall by the Hornets and played three seasons in Charlotte before being traded to Miami because he refused to sign a contract extension in Charlotte. Zo had a total of 7 All-star appearances, 5 of which he was when he was on Miami.
Zo was Miami’s best player and took total control of the paint until he had to step away from basketball for a year because of a Kidney disease. He then came back and had a stint with the Nets for a season before coming back to Miami to finish out his career. Ultimately Zo had to retire because of injuries in 2009. Zo’s number was retired 2 months later by the Heat, and was the first player to have his number retired by the Heat.
1. Dwyane Wade
Dwyane Wade was Miami’s greatest addition of all time. Not only did he bring 3 championships to the team, but he was the cornerstone for each new lineup. Dwyane Wade owns a total of 17 franchise records, the one that stands out the most is most points in franchise history (16,453). Wade has a NBA finals MVP, made two All-NBA first team rosters, and a NBA scoring title. Miami would not have won their championships without Dwyane Wade.
There would be no Big 3 if it were not for Wade. Just because Dwyane Wade left, that does not mean that his legacy will be forgotten in Miami.
Now let me say I did not forget about Tim Hardaway, but this was about the top 5 Miami additions and what they did for the franchise itself. Time Hardaway is for sure a Miami great, which is why his number hangs up there with Zo’s and number 23 (in honor of the great Michael Jordan). Hardaway had 2 All-star appearances with Miami and deserved them both averaging 19.6 points and 8.5 assists per game in those two seasons combined.