THE HEAT File
Home court: FTX Arena
G.M: Andy Elisburg
Coach: Erik Spoelstra
Star: F/G Jimmy Butler
2021 Season: 53-29, lost to the Celtics in seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals.
NBA Titles: 2006, 2012, 2013
Greatest Player: G Dwayne Wade
Factoid: The NBA has four singular-name teams – the Heat, Magic, Thunder, and Jazz. Two are in the state of Florida.
With all due respect to the Magic, there is no magic happening in Miami.
The Miami Heat have been a force in the NBA since 1995, when they brought in a no-nonsense, tough-minded coach and G.M. named Pat Riley.
It was also Riley’s life experiences that made him the perfect man to shepherd a team into the new NBA.
Riley played on the Kentucky team that lost to the first all-black team to win the NCAA Tournament, Texas Western. He was an NBA role player, averaging 7.4 points, 1.7 assists and 1.6 rebounds over nine seasons.
He wasn’t a superstar player but super at identifying talent, building teams, and establishing a culture of success built on toughness and teamwork. When Riley believes in something, that belief is unshakable.
Consider the coach: Spoelstra is the second-longest tenured coach in the NBA. He was a virtual unknown when Riley retired and hand-picked Spoelstra in 2008. He’s won 59.3-percent of his games and two NBA titles.
This isn’t magic. This is Heat Way.