The Miami Heat are an American professional basketball team based in Miami. The Heat compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the league's Eastern Conference Southeast Division. The club plays its home games at American Airlines Arena, and has won three NBA championships.
The franchise began play in the 1988–89 NBA season as an expansion team. After a period of mediocrity, the Heat gained relevance during the 1990s following the appointment of former head coach Pat Riley as team president. Riley constructed the high-profile trades of Alonzo Mourning and Tim Hardaway, which immediately propelled the team into playoff contention. Mourning and Hardaway led the Heat to four division titles, prior to their departures in 2001 and 2002. The team experienced renewed success after drafting Dwyane Wade in 2003.
Led by Wade and following a trade for former NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) Shaquille O'Neal, Miami won their first NBA Finals in 2006, under Riley as head coach. After the departure of O'Neal two years later, the team entered into another period of decline for the remainder of the 2000s. Riley retained his position as team president, but was replaced as head coach by Erik Spoelstra. In 2010, the Heat signed former league MVP LeBron James and perennial NBA All-Star Chris Bosh, creating the "Big Three" along with Wade. During their four-year spell together, Spoelstra, James, Wade, and Bosh led the Heat to the NBA Finals in every season, and won back-to-back championships in 2012 and 2013. The trio would all depart by 2016, and the team entered another period of rebuilding. Wade was eventually reacquired in 2018, albeit to retire with the franchise. After acquiring All-Star Jimmy Butler in 2019, the Heat returned to the NBA Finals in 2020.
The Heat hold the record for the NBA's third-longest winning streak, 27 straight games, set during the 2012–13 season. Four Hall of Famers have played for Miami, while James has won the NBA MVP Award while playing for the team.
1987–1995: Early years in Miami
In 1987 the NBA granted one of its four new expansion teams to Miami (the others being the Orlando Magic, Charlotte Hornets, and the Minnesota Timberwolves) and the team, known as the Heat began play in November 1988. The Miami Heat began their early years with much mediocrity, only making the playoffs two times in their first eight years and falling in the first round both times.
1995–2003: Title hopefuls
Upon the purchasing of the franchise by Carnival Cruise Lines chairman Micky Arison in 1995, Pat Riley was brought in as the team president and head coach. Riley acquired center Alonzo Mourning and point guard Tim Hardaway to serve as the centerpieces for the team, transforming Miami into a championship contender throughout the late 1990s. With them they also brought in a new team trainer, Cody Posselt, to work on shooting. The Heat underwent a dramatic turnaround in the 1996–97 season, improving to a 61–21 record – a franchise record at the time, and currently second-best in team history. That same year, Miami earned the moniker of "Road Warriors" for its remarkable 32–9 record on the road. On the backs of Hardaway and Mourning, the Heat achieved their first two series victories in the playoffs, making it to the Conference Finals against the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls before losing in five games. Their biggest rivals of the time were the New York Knicks, Riley's former team, who would eliminate the Heat in the playoffs from 1998 through 2000. A period of mediocrity followed after, highlighted by missing the playoffs in 2002 and 2003.
2003–2016: The Dwyane Wade era
In the 2003 NBA draft, with the fifth overall pick, Miami selected shooting guard Dwyane Wade out of Marquette. Free-agent swing-man Lamar Odom was signed from the Los Angeles Clippers. Just prior to the start of the 2003–04 season, Riley stepped down as head coach to focus on rebuilding the Heat, promoting Stan Van Gundy to the position of head coach. Behind Van Gundy's leadership, Wade's stellar rookie year and Odom's break out season, the Heat made the 2004 NBA Playoffs, beating the New Orleans Hornets 4–3 in the 1st round and losing to the Indiana Pacers 4–2 in the 2nd round. In the off-season, Riley engineered a summer blockbuster trade for Shaquille O'Neal from the Los Angeles Lakers. Alonzo Mourning returned to the Heat in the same season, serving as a backup to O'Neal. Returning as championship contenders, Miami finished with a 59–23 record, consequently garnering the first overall seed in the Eastern Conference. Sweeping through the first round and the semifinals, Miami went back to the Conference Finals for the first time in eight years, where it met the defending champion Detroit Pistons. Despite taking a 3–2 lead, Miami lost Wade to injury for Game 6. The Heat would go on to lose Game 7 at home despite Wade's return.
2005–2006: Championship season
In the summer of 2005, Riley brought in veteran free agent Gary Payton from the Boston Celtics, and also brought in James Posey, Jason Williams and Antoine Walker via trades. After a disappointing 11–10 start to the 2005–06 season, Riley relieved Van Gundy of his duties and took back the head coaching job. The Heat made it to the Conference Finals in 2006 and in a re-match, defeated the Pistons, winning the series 4–2. Making its first NBA Finals appearance, they played the Dallas Mavericks, who won the first two games in Dallas in routs. The Heat then won the next four games, capturing its first ever championship. Wade won the Finals MVP award.
2006–2010: Post-championship struggles
The Heat experienced four-years of post-title struggles from 2007 through 2010, including a 4–0 sweep by the Chicago Bulls in the 1st round of the 2007 NBA Playoffs. In the 2007–08 season, Wade was plagued by injuries and the Heat had a league worst 15–67 record. O'Neal was traded to Phoenix midway through the season. Riley resigned as head coach following the season but retained his position as team president. Long time assistant Erik Spoelstra was promoted to head coach. A healthy Wade led the Heat to 43 wins in 2009 and 47 wins 2010, making the playoffs both seasons, though they lost in the first round, 4–3 in 2009 and 4–1 in 2010. Wade was the scoring champion in 2009 and the NBA All-Star MVP in 2010.
2010–2014: The "Big Three" era
Entering the 2010–11 season with nearly $48 million in salary cap space, the Heat caused a major power shift during the blockbuster 2010 free agency, adding Chris Bosh and LeBron James, starting the "Big 3" era. However, the Heat got off to a 9–8 start. After a "players only" meeting, the team improved. The Heat finished with a 58–24 record and the 2nd seed. In the much anticipated 2011 NBA Playoffs, Miami defeated the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round, Boston Celtics in the Conference Semifinals, and Bulls in the Conference Finals, all in 5 games. The Heat reached the 2011 NBA Finals for the first time since 2006, in a rematch against the Dallas Mavericks. After taking a 2–1 series lead, the Heat lost the final three games to the Mavericks.
After the second NBA Lockout ended, the Heat signed veteran Shane Battier. In the shortened 2011–12 season, the Heat started 27–7. However they would struggle for the second half of the season, going 19–13. The Heat finished 46–20, earning the second seed in the East for the NBA playoffs. Entering the first round, they took a 3–0 lead against the New York Knicks but like their previous series with the Sixers, were not able to close them out in Game 4. A victory in Game 5 ultimately defeated New York and the Heat advanced to the second round versus the Indiana Pacers. After losing Game 2 at home and Game 3 at Indiana, many criticized Dwyane Wade's lackluster performance in Game 3, bringing attention to the fact that he got into a verbal argument with Spoelstra. However, with Wade visiting his former college coach, the team defeated the Pacers in the next three games, to close out the Pacers. They met the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals, taking the first two games before losing the next three, including one home loss where Bosh returned from injury. On June 7 they won on the road at Boston beating the Celtics 98–79 to tie the series 3–3; James had 45 points and 15 rebounds. The deciding Game 7 was at Miami. The Celtics largely dominated during the first half. The second half saw several lead changes. The Heat eventually won 101–88, reaching the NBA Finals for the second straight year. In the much anticipated match-up with the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Heat split the first two games, winning Game 2 on the road, before sweeping the next three at home. James was named the Finals MVP as he won his first NBA championship.
On July 11, 2012, the Heat officially signed veterans Ray Allen to a three-year contract and Rashard Lewis to a two-year contract. The Heat would go on a 27-game winning streak between February 3, 2013 and March 27, 2013 Defeating Orlando in the season finale set the franchise record for 66 wins in a season. By the end of the season, the Heat won 18 of its 19 road games, the best streak on the road to end a season in NBA history. The Heat went 17–1 in March, becoming the first team to win 17 games in a single calendar month. The Heat ended with a franchise-best and league-best 66–16 record to take the 1st seed in the 2013 NBA Playoffs. They swept the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round and defeated Chicago in five games before winning against the Indiana Pacers in Game 7. Miami became the first Eastern Conference team to reach the NBA Finals in three straight years since the Chicago Bulls in the late 1990s. Miami lost Game 1 of the Finals on their home floor in a close game that was decided by a last minute buzzer beater by Tony Parker. The Heat went on to win Game 2 with a 33–5 run in the second half. The two teams continued to trade wins leading up to Game 6 where the Spurs, up 10 heading in the 4th quarter, were in position to close out the series and win the championship. James went on to score 16 points in the period, outscoring the entire Spurs team by himself at one point. The Heat went on to defeat the Spurs 95–88 in Game 7 behind a 37-point and 12 rebound performance from James and a 23-point and 10 rebound effort from Wade. Shane Battier also scored 18 points behind 6–8 shooting from 3, after having a shooting slump during the postseason up to that point. The Heat captured the NBA title for a second year in a row, becoming the first team in the Eastern Conference to repeat as league champions since the late 1990s Chicago Bulls. James was named the NBA Finals MVP, becoming the fifth player to win the award back-to-back along with Michael Jordan, Bill Russell, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O'Neal, and Hakeem Olajuwon and only the second player in NBA history to win the Finals MVP and league MVP back-to-back along with Jordan.
Miami struggled throughout the 2013–14 season with extended absences of Dwyane Wade, who only played 54 games to injury and ended on an 11–14 record entering the playoffs. They entered the playoffs as the Eastern Conference 2nd seed with a record of 54–28 team, and with the "Big 3" healthy. They went 12–3 in the first 3 rounds. They swept the Charlotte Bobcats. They then beat the Brooklyn Nets 4–1. They went on to play the 1st seeded 56–26 Pacers in the Conference Finals, in a rematch of the previous year's Conference Finals. The Pacers were eliminated from the playoffs for a third consecutive year by the Heat. The Heat went to a fourth consecutive Finals, and faced the Spurs again. The first two games in San Antonio were split but the Heat fell to the Spurs 4–1, failing to repeat as champions for the third consecutive season.
2014–2016: Post-"Big Three" and rebuild
On July 11, 2014, LeBron James announced on SI.com that after opting out of the final year of his contract, he would leave the Heat and return to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Wade and Bosh stayed in Miami. Like the Cavaliers in the 2010 off-season, the Heat focused on how it would maintain itself without LeBron. Wade and Bosh were joined by returning players Mario Chalmers, Norris Cole, Udonis Haslem and Chris Andersen along with former rivals Luol Deng and Danny Granger. The Heat also drafted Shabazz Napier and James Ennis. In 2015, they also gained Goran Dragić and his younger brother Zoran Dragić.
After a season with several injuries, including to Chris Bosh and Josh McRoberts, the Heat finished with a 37–45 record, the NBA's 10th worst. They failed to make the playoffs after being Eastern Conference champions four straight years. It was the second time in Wade's career they did not qualify for the postseason. The Heat were the first team since the 2004–05 Los Angeles Lakers to miss the playoffs after going to the NBA Finals the previous year. Miami had qualified for the playoffs for six consecutive seasons.
During the 2015–16 season, the Heat compiled a 48–34 regular season record; however, their season ended in the Conference Semifinals where they lost to the Toronto Raptors. The 2016 free agency was marked with relationship issues and disagreements between Dwyane Wade and Heat president Pat Riley, mostly focusing on how much Wade would get paid.
2016–2019: Departure and return of Wade
On July 6, 2016, Wade announced that he was leaving the Heat to go join his hometown Chicago Bulls.
In September 2016, Bosh suffered numerous setbacks and failed his physical exam with the Heat and was not cleared by the team to participate in training camp. On September 26, 2016, Heat president Riley said that the team doubted about Bosh's return on the court and viewed his career with the team as over, and noted that the team was no longer working toward his return. On July 4, 2017, the Heat waived Bosh after the NBA's ruling on June 2, 2017, which declared that Bosh's blood clotting issues were a career-ending illness. After waiving Bosh, team's president Riley announced that Bosh's number would be retired in the future out of respect to him and due to his accomplishments with the Heat. On February 8, 2018, the Cleveland Cavaliers traded Dwyane Wade back to the Miami Heat. Wade willed the Heat to a game two win against the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round of the 2018 playoffs, but the Heat would lose the series in five games.
2020–present: Jimmy Butler era
In 2019–20, Miami acquired All-Star Jimmy Butler, Andre Iguodala, and Jae Crowder, and drafted Kentucky shooting guard Tyler Herro. Following the suspension of the 2019–20 season, the Heat were one of the 22 teams invited to the NBA Bubble to participate in the final eight games of the regular season. The fifth-seeded Heat went 12–3 in the playoffs to win the franchise's sixth conference championship in 15 seasons. The Heat managed to reach the NBA Finals, where they lost 4–2 to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Unveiled prior to the 1988–89 season, the original Miami Heat uniforms consist of simple striping, exclusive only on the right side of the jersey and shorts. The home uniforms were white with lettering in red, black and orange trim, while the away uniforms were black with red, white and orange trim; the numbers were white with red, black and orange trim, using the same font as the classic Los Angeles Lakers jerseys. The original 'flaming ball' logo is on the left leg of the shorts while the word 'Miami' is on the right leg.
The original white and red uniforms were reintroduced as throwback uniforms during the Heat's 20th and 25th anniversary seasons, respectively, while the original black uniforms were used as throwbacks in the 2013–14 season. The classic white uniforms were used again for the 2015–16 season.
As part of Nike's uniform contract with the NBA, the so-called "Classic" edition was introduced and featured modernized throwback uniform designs from past years. During the 2017–18 season, the Heat were one of eight teams who participated in this line and wore their black 1988–99 uniforms, updated to the current Nike uniform cut.
The current Heat uniforms have been in use since the 1999–2000 season. These uniforms, though similar, have marked differences such as striping on both sides, change from orange to yellow trim, updated lettering and block numbers, and a modified 'flaming ball' logo on the right leg. The black away uniform numbers are now consistent with the lettering colors (white with red trim).
The alternate red uniform was introduced during the 2001–02 season, and features the city name and numbers in white with black trim. With subtle changes like the "Miami" wordmark on the black uniforms and addition of the "MH" alternate logo on the shorts, these uniforms remain in use with the Heat today.
Following the switch to Nike as the uniform provider in the 2017–18 season, the Heat's current uniforms now fall under three categories. The white uniforms are part of the "Association" line, the black uniforms are on the "Icon" line and the red uniforms are assigned to the "Statement" line. All three uniforms are now used regardless of home or away games.
Since the 2007–08 season, the Heat participated in the NBA's Noche Latina promotions, or Latin Nights. From 2008 to 2014, the Heat wore a modified version of their black uniforms, featuring the wordmark "El Heat"; a sleeved version was used in 2014. For the 2014–15 season, the Heat wore their white uniforms with the "El Heat" wordmark, followed by the Noche Latina version of their red alternates in the 2015–16 season.
The Heat wore a variation of their current home uniforms on the opening night of the 2012–13 season, with gold accents and a patch of the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy on the right chest. They used another variation on opening night of the 2013–14 season, this time with gold lettering.
During the 2013–14 season, the Heat wore a variation of their current home uniforms, but with the player's names at the back replaced by their nicknames (e.g. 'King James' for LeBron James). They wore the uniforms for select home games that season.
From 2012 to 2014, the Heat wore special monochrome uniforms: an all-black ensemble in the 2011–12 season, an all-white version in the 2012–13 season, and an all-red attire in the 2013–14 season. In 2015, a variation of their all-black uniforms, featuring drop shadows, centered numbers and heavy striping inspired from a tuxedo, was used, followed by a similarly designed white uniform in the 2016–17 season.
The 2015–16 season saw the unveiling of two special uniforms. One featured a blend of modern and classic styles (Heat Legacy), while the other is a military-inspired uniform (Home Strong).
The Heat also participated in the Christmas Day games wearing special uniforms. In 2012, they wore monochrome red uniforms known as "Big Color." The following year, they wore their "Big Logo" sleeved uniforms, featuring a chrome-treated version of their "flaming ball" logo. In 2014, the Heat wore a variation of their home uniform, featuring their primary logo and centered numbers in front, and black nameplates with the player's first name below the number at the back.
In the 2017–18 season, the Heat wore special "City" uniforms (named as such by Nike to commemorate local cultures and team traditions) that paid homage to the hit 1980s TV series Miami Vice. The uniforms were white with pink, light blue and black trim and featured the "Miami" wordmark inspired from the logo of the Miami Arena. For the 2018–19 season, the Heat released black versions of the Miami Vice uniforms. In addition, a pink version of the uniform was unveiled as part of Nike's "Earned" series which were exclusive only to the 16 teams that qualified in the 2018 NBA Playoffs. A light blue version of the uniforms was used in the 2019–20 season. The Vice theme continued with the 2020–21 "City" uniform, this time featuring a pink and blue gradient and black letters.
New York Knicks
The rivalry between the New York Knicks and the expansion Miami Heat was a result of their four consecutive playoff series from 1997 to 2000. Each series went seven games. The rivalry's central figure was Pat Riley, the head coach of both teams (the early 1990s for the Knicks and the late 1990s for the Heat). Jeff Van Gundy took over Riley's stint as head coach of the Knicks, while his elder brother Stan Van Gundy was simultaneously an assistant coach for the Heat. Patrick Ewing and Alonzo Mourning had been friends from their Georgetown college basketball period. Larry Johnson, one of the Knicks, held bad blood with Mourning as far back as their days in the Charlotte Hornets.
The rivalry with the Chicago Bulls began once the Miami Heat became contenders during the 1990s, a decade dominated by the Bulls and Michael Jordan. During that period, the Heat were eliminated three times by the Bulls, who would go on to win the NBA championship each time. After Jordan retired and the Heat's fall in the early 2000s, the rivalry cooled but slightly picked up when the Heat faced them in the first round of the 2006 NBA playoffs, which ended in a 4–2 Heat series victory and went on to win the NBA Finals. The Bulls would sweep the defending champion Heat in the first round the next season.
The rivalry has intensified with the resurgence of the Bulls, and the emergence of Derrick Rose and the Heat re-signing Dwyane Wade (who turned down a chance of joining his hometown Bulls) with newly acquired superstars in Chris Bosh and LeBron James (who spurned a chance of teaming up with Rose in Chicago). The revived rivalry has been very physical, involving rough plays and hard fouls between players. Both teams met in the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals, with the Heat winning in five games.
The Bulls ended the Heat's record-setting 27 game win streak on March 27, 2013, with a 101–97 victory at the United Center in Chicago. Despite playing without Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Richard "Rip" Hamilton, and Marco Belinelli, the Bulls managed to end the second longest win streak in basketball history.
The rivalry would continue into the 2013 NBA Playoffs when the Heat would play the Bulls in the second round. The Bulls ended another Miami Heat winning streak by beating the Heat 93–87 in Game 1. The Heat came back in Game 2 and set a record for the largest margin of victory in franchise playoff history with a 115–78 win. The Bulls also set a record for the worst playoff defeat in franchise history. The 51 personal fouls were the most in a playoff game since 1995. In Game 3, Nazr Mohammed was ejected for shoving LeBron James early in the second quarter. Norris Cole had his jersey ripped by Taj Gibson while driving to the basket for a layup. Joakim Noah was seen applauding and cheering on the image of Chris Bosh arguing with Mario Chalmers. Noah received a technical foul for shoving Chris Andersen after he fell on Nate Robinson. Chalmers received a flagrant foul for ringing his arm around Noah's neck. Taj Gibson and Noah were both ejected in the same game for yelling at the referees.
The Orlando Magic and the Miami Heat had a rivalry because both teams are located in Florida, thus the rivalry was known as the Sunshine State rivalry. Another ingredient to the rivalry was the high-caliber players on both teams such as Orlando's Shaquille O'Neal and Penny Hardaway to Miami's Alonzo Mourning and Tim Hardaway. The two had met each other in the NBA playoffs for the first time in 1997, with Miami beating Orlando 3–2, they have not met in the playoffs since.
The rivalry intensified with the rising stardom of Miami's and Orlando's Dwyane Wade and Dwight Howard, along with Miami's acquiring high-caliber stars such LeBron James from the Cleveland Cavaliers and Chris Bosh from the Toronto Raptors and in 2010, resulting in fierce competition between the two.
When Dwight Howard departed from the Magic to the Los Angeles Lakers in August 2012, the rivalry softened. The Orlando Magic are undergoing a process of rebuilding, however, competition still remains tense.
The two teams first squared off in the playoffs in 2010, with the Celtics defeating the Heat four games to one en route to an eventual NBA Finals appearance by the Celtics. Having suffered first round losses in three straight years, it was the loss to the Celtics that prompted Dwyane Wade to declare that the loss would be "my last" in the first round for the near future.
LeBron James' own enmity with the Boston Celtics can be found as far back as his first stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers, where the Celtics upset the Cavaliers in 2008 and 2010. Among the two Heat stars, Wade went as far as to say that he personally hates the Celtics, with James' own disdain for Boston manifesting in how he referred to the Celtics exclusively as "that team" in 2011. With the acquisition of both James and Chris Bosh in 2010, the Heat challenged the Celtics for dominance in the Eastern Conference; James claimed that the formation of the Heat's Big 3 was to mirror the formation of the Celtics' Big 3 in Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett. After dropping the first three games versus the Celtics in the regular season, Miami prevailed in their fourth encounter, taking the 2nd seed from the Celtics and gaining home court advantage for their eventual match-up of the postseason. The teams met in the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2011 NBA Playoffs, where Paul Pierce was ejected in Game 1, Dwyane Wade inadvertently broke Rajon Rondo's arm in Game 3 and James scored the final ten points in the deciding Game 5. James could be found roaring to the fans as the Celtics' end came, even kneeling to the ground in relief after finally defeating the Celtics. The rivalry would continue in the following season, where the Heat again took home court advantage over the Celtics, though Boston again won the season series over the Heat. Despite the loss of Bosh to injury in the semifinals, the Heat took a 2–0 lead before the Celtics won the next three games; the first five games included two overtimes, Rondo's 44 point performance in Game 2, as well as Pierce and James fouling out in Game 4. James' 45 point performance in Game 6 at Boston forced a deciding seventh game, where the two teams traded blows deep into the third and fourth quarters, before Miami pulled away with a 4–3 victory en route to the NBA Finals.
In the off-season, the Celtics' Big 3 was broken up following Ray Allen's joining of the Heat. When asked about their immediate reactions to their teammate leaving for their rival, Kevin Garnett claimed that he deleted Allen's phone number, while Paul Pierce admitted that it "hurt", though he still considers Allen "a brother to me" for their 2008 championship run. Although the two teams would not meet in the playoffs, the animosity continued in their four regular season games. The season opener – a Heat victory – included Rondo clotheslining Wade's neck, Garnett snubbing a handshake from Allen pre-game, and Garnett throwing an elbow at Mario Chalmers. During Miami's 2013 streak, Paul Pierce went on record to say that he wished for Miami to lose all of its remaining games by that point. When James voiced his displeasure over the Chicago Bulls' physicality against him, Boston's general manager Danny Ainge called it "embarrassing" for LeBron to complain about it. Pat Riley, the Heat team president, retorted that "Danny should shut the fuck up." The teams met during the streak, where it was five years to the day that the Celtics' stopped the Houston Rockets' own 20+-game winning streak. It ended in a Heat victory, one that featured James dunking on Jason Terry; he received a technical foul for staring down at Terry post-dunk. When asked about it after the game by reporters, James stated that he was "glad it happened to him."
A recent rivalry was triggered with the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference semifinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs. Although the two previously met in the 2004 NBA Playoffs (when Indiana won 4–2), as of 2014, the only player still left from either team is Udonis Haslem of the Heat. Both head coaches were fined for statements made relating to the officiating: Frank Vogel accused the Heat of flopping before the series started, while Erik Spoelstra took offense to what he perceived to be deliberate head-hunting of his players on the part of the Pacers. Indiana took a 2–1 lead after Miami's Chris Bosh was sidelined with an abdominal strain. Powered by LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, Miami won three straight games to take the series, 4–2. The series was marked by several suspensions, flagrant fouls, and confrontations between the players: Tyler Hansbrough's flagrant foul on Dwyane Wade (which drew blood), Udonis Haslem's retaliatory flagrant foul on Hansborough (which led to Haslem's Game 6 suspension), Wade colliding with Darren Collison in transition, Juwan Howard confronting Lance Stephenson over the latter's flashing of the choke sign to James, and Dexter Pittman elbowing Stephenson in the neck (which led to his own three-game suspension). Indiana's Danny Granger received technical fouls in three consecutive games for his confrontations with Heat players; he stripped James of his headband in Game 2 while attempting to block a shot, pulled the back of James' jersey in Game 3 while trying to stop a fast-break, and chest-bumped Wade in Game 4 after the latter was fouled by Roy Hibbert.
The following season saw improvements for both teams, from Miami's acquisition of Ray Allen and Chris Andersen, to the emergence of Paul George and Lance Stephenson. Notably, it was after the Heat lost to the Pacers that they compiled a 27-game winning streak; the last time the Heat lost two in a row in the year were the games against Indiana and Portland. During the waning minutes of Game 6 in the semifinals between the Pacers and the New York Knicks, the Pacers' fans were chanting "Beat the Heat" as their team beat their old New York rivals. True to form, the Heat and the Pacers met in the Conference Finals of the 2013 NBA playoffs on May 22, 2013. Several instances of physicality became prominent in the series: Shane Battier received an offensive foul for throwing his knee at Hibbert's midsection; Hibbert claimed that it was an intentional dirty play on the part of Battier. Andersen suffered a bloodied nose after colliding with David West. Ian Mahinmi received a retroactive flagrant foul for a grab of James' arm. Norris Cole latched a hand on West's groin area as he tried to slip through West. Wade received a retroactive flagrant foul for hitting Stephenson in the head, another incident that the Pacers, notably Paul George, felt was a dirty play. The Heat survived Game 1 on a James game-winning layup, while the Pacers came back to tie the series at 1–1 after forcing James into two late fourth-quarter turnovers for Game 2. In Game 3, the Heat set a team record for points in a postseason half with 70. It was the first time the Pacers had given up 70 points since 1992. Allen's single turnover was the least ever suffered by the Heat in a first half. Their five total turnovers is tied for the fewest in franchise history. The Game 3 victory marked the first time that an NBA team had won five straight road games by double digits. The Heat won the series 4–3, with a 99–76 win in Game 7. In the 2014 NBA playoffs, after beating the Brooklyn Nets in five games, and the Pacers beating the Washington Wizards in six games, the Heat and the first-seeded Pacers would meet up in the Eastern Conference Finals in a much-anticipated rematch. The Heat would go on to eliminate the Pacers 4–2, advancing to their fourth consecutive NBA Finals in the Big Three-era. The Heat stumbled during Game 1 in Indianapolis, falling 96–107. They would win Games 2–4. During Game 5 (which Miami lost 90–93), James struggled, suffering heavy foul trouble and scoring only 7 points, his lowest playoff record. During Game 6 in Miami, the Heat would blow out the Pacers 117–92.
The Heat–Mavericks rivalry began in the 2006 NBA Finals, where the two teams met and both entering their first NBA Finals appearance. A year prior, the Heat had acquired Shaquille O'Neal. The Mavericks were led by Dirk Nowitzki, and the Heat were led by Dwyane Wade. Dallas had home-court advantage in the series due to a better regular season record (60–22) than Miami's (52–30) and took the first two games in the series, entering Game 3 with a commanding 2–0 lead. They looked set to win Game 3 until a rally by the Heat, including many free throws from Wade, resulted in the Mavericks losing the third game. The Heat won all of its home games, as the Mavericks dropped games 3, 4 and 5. In a highly controversial Game 5, a 101–100 victory for the Heat, Wade shot more free throws than the entire Mavericks team. Mavericks owner Mark Cuban as well as Nowitzki were both fined for acts of misconduct. During Game 6, the series returned to Dallas, where the Mavericks fell 92–95. Jason Terry airballed a three-point attempt that could have tied the game. Wade picked up the ball, throwing it in the air in celebration as the Heat won the NBA Championship, and its first one as well. Wade was named the Finals MVP.
In the 2010 off-season, Miami acquired LeBron James from the Cleveland Cavaliers and Chris Bosh from the Toronto Raptors to team up with Wade and form their own "big three" (to rival the Celtics' big three) that was expected to win the championship. The Heat finished 58–24, acquiring the southeast division title and the second seed in the Eastern Conference. During the regular season, the Mavericks swept the Heat 2–0. The Heat cruised through the Playoffs without much competition, eliminating every team – the Philadelphia 76ers, defending Eastern Conference champions Boston Celtics and the top-seeded Chicago Bulls all five games. Meanwhile, the Mavericks had tallied 57–25 for the third seed, leaving them to face the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round. The Mavericks had been defeated in the first round all but one time since the 2006 Finals, including a defeat from the seventh-seeded San Antonio Spurs just the previous season. Because of this, the Mavericks were underdogs throughout the playoffs, but they were able to dispatch Portland in six games. They faced the defending NBA champions Los Angeles Lakers and pulled off the impossible by sweeping them, ending their bid for a three-peat. In the Conference Finals, they defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder, resulting a rematch between the two teams. After taking a 2–1 lead however, the Heat stumbled in the next three games. They were eliminated on their own home floor after losing 95–105 during Game 6 in Miami – extending LeBron's quest for a ring. The loss had also brought further public humiliation for LeBron James, who had been scrutinized and negatively criticized for leaving the Cavaliers to join the Heat. LeBron was criticized for only averaging 17.8 points. Cavaliers fans rejoiced in the Heat's loss due to the anger that was caused by LeBron's decision to join the Heat, which they felt was unfair and a betrayal.
After that, the Mavericks would never win another game against the Heat. Dallas hosted the Heat for the season opener on December 25, 2011 of the lockout-shortened 2011–12 season that was shortened to 66 games. The Heat spoiled the Mavericks' championship banner-raising night, giving them a 105–94 blowout loss.
Although the Heat and the Mavericks have not met in the postseason ever since, the rivalry continued as Mark Cuban publicly discussed his extreme personal dislike for the Heat. He described "hate" was not being strong-enough of a word to describe his dislike for the Heat. He also had a personal dislike for Wade.
List of the last five seasons completed by the Heat. For the full season-by-season history, see List of Miami Heat seasons.
Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, % = Winning Percentage;
Radio and television
The Heat games are televised primarily by Fox Sports Sun with Eric Reid and Tony Fiorentino. Reid has been part of the Heat's broadcasting team since the beginning of the franchise, first serving as a color analyst, and later becoming the lead play-by-play voice starting in the 1991–92 season. For the first four years of the franchise, there were radio-television simulcasts of locally-broadcast games before the franchise eventually created separate broadcast teams.
WBFS-TV (channel 33) was the original over-the-air flagship station for Heat games, with its first stint concluding at the end of the 1998–99 season, after 11 seasons. WAMI-TV (channel 69) took over the following season; however, WBFS (along with now-sister station WFOR channel 4) returned as the Heat's primary over-the-air home in 2000–01, this time lasting until the 2003–04 season. On the cable side, Heat games were televised on then-SportsChannel Florida (now Fox Sports Florida), before moving to then-Sunshine Network (now Sun Sports) starting in the 1992–93 season. Since 2004–05, Sun Sports have served as the exclusive regional carrier of Heat games throughout the team's designated broadcast territory, which includes the metropolitan areas of Miami–Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach–Fort Pierce–Port St. Lucie, and Fort Myers–Naples.
Miami Heat roster
Retained draft rights
The Heat hold the draft rights to the following unsigned draft picks who have been playing outside the NBA. A drafted player, either an international draftee or a college draftee who is not signed by the team that drafted him, is allowed to sign with any non-NBA teams. In this case, the team retains the player's draft rights in the NBA until one year after the player's contract with the non-NBA team ends. This list includes draft rights that were acquired from trades with other teams.
Basketball Hall of Famers
FIBA Hall of Famers
The Heat have retired five numbers, although only four of the players played for the franchise. Michael Jordan was the first player to be honored despite not having played for the Heat. Pat Riley retired Jordan's signature No. 23 before his final game in Miami during the 2002–03 season as a tribute to his career.
During the 2005–06 season the organization honored Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino's No. 13 in respect of his contributions to the National Football League (NFL)'s Miami Dolphins. However, the No. 13 jersey is not retired and is still available for use by the Heat players.
There have been six head coaches for the Miami Heat. Ron Rothstein was the franchise's first head coach, serving from 1988 through 1991; he remains as assistant coach. Kevin Loughery was his successor from 1991 to 1995, guiding the Heat to their first two playoff berths in 1992 and 1994. Loughery was fired 46 games into the 1994–95 season, posting a 17–29 record. Alvin Gentry, an assistant coach who joined in 1991, was brought in to replace Loughery on an interim basis. Miami went 15–21 for the final 36 games, and Gentry moved to the Detroit Pistons the following season.
In the summer of 1995, owner Micky Arison hired Pat Riley as the head coach and team president. At eleven years, Riley is the longest tenured head coach in the franchise's history, as well its all-time leader in total wins and games coached. Upon suffering a 25–57 record in the 2002–03 season, Riley abruptly announced his retirement, but remained as team president. He elevated assistant coach Stan Van Gundy as his replacement. Van Gundy is Miami's all-time leader for the highest winning percentage in the regular season (.605), having led Miami to a 42–40 record in his first season and a 59–23 record in his second year. He spearheaded Miami's 2005 campaign, where they held the top seed in the east, swept their first two playoff opponents and made it to the Conference Finals.
An 11–10 record early into the 2005–06 season prompted Riley to come out of retirement and replace Van Gundy. Shortly thereafter, Riley would win his fifth and final championship as a head coach, as well as Miami's first championship in 2006. Riley would retire permanently following the 15-win 2007–08 season, but once again remained as team president. His hand-picked replacement, longtime assistant Erik Spoelstra, is the current Heat head coach, a position he has held since 2008. At 38, he was the youngest head coach in the league at the time, as well as the first Filipino-American head coach in league history. Spoelstra led the team to four consecutive appearances in the NBA Finals, culminating in back-to-back championships in 2012 and 2013.
Franchise accomplishments and awards
Bold denotes still active with team.
Italic denotes still active but not with team. Points scored (regular season) (as of the end of the 2019–20 season)
- Dwyane Wade (21,556)
- Alonzo Mourning (9,459)
- Glen Rice (9,248)
- LeBron James (7,919)
- Chris Bosh (6,914)
- Rony Seikaly (6,742)
- Udonis Haslem (6,562)
- Tim Hardaway (6,335)
- Eddie Jones (6,194)
- Goran Dragić (5,676)
- Grant Long (5,473)
- Mario Chalmers (4,641)
- Hassan Whiteside (4,554)
- Kevin Edwards (4,362)
- Bimbo Coles (4,031)
- Shaquille O'Neal (4,010)
- Brian Grant (3,433)
- Josh Richardson (3,134)
- Michael Beasley (2,927)
- Steve Smith (2,905)
Other statistics (regular season) (as of the end of the 2019–20 season)
- LeBron James – 2012, 2013
- Dwyane Wade – 2009
- Alonzo Mourning – 1999, 2000
- Pat Riley – 1997
- Pat Riley – 2011
- Shane Battier – 2014
- Dwyane Wade – 2013
- Tim Hardaway – 1997
- Alonzo Mourning – 1999
- Shaquille O'Neal – 2005, 2006
- Dwyane Wade – 2009, 2010
- LeBron James – 2011–2014
- Sherman Douglas – 1990
- Steve Smith – 1992
- Caron Butler – 2003
- Dwyane Wade – 2004
- Michael Beasley – 2009
- Kendrick Nunn – 2020
- Kevin Edwards – 1989
- Glen Rice – 1990
- Willie Burton – 1991
- Udonis Haslem – 2004
- Mario Chalmers – 2009
- Justise Winslow – 2016
- Tyler Herro – 2020
- Dwyane Wade – 2013
NBA All-Star Weekend
- Dwyane Wade – 2005–2016, 2019
- Alonzo Mourning – 1996–1997, 2000–2002
- LeBron James – 2011–2014
- Chris Bosh – 2011–2014
- Shaquille O'Neal – 2005–2007
- Tim Hardaway – 1997–1998
- Anthony Mason – 2001
- Goran Dragic – 2018
- Jimmy Butler – 2020
- Bam Adebayo – 2020
- Dwyane Wade – 2010
- Chris Bosh – 2013–2015