The offseason marks the peak of boredom for diehard NBA fans like me. But it also a time to think about all the great experiences the league has had in store for basketball fans ever since its inception, and especially the times from when the Bird-Magic rivalry took the league to a whole other level of popularity it hadn't experienced beforehand.
What you're about to dive into is an assortment of trivia questions that your average weekend quizmaster wouldn't be asking you about - but is definitely something you can tell your friends about. These facts are not ranked in any order except the one in which they popped into my head.
#1 The Miami Heat retired their own #23 jersey in honour of Michael Jordan, even though he never played for them
That the greatest basketball player of all time would have his jersey retired by the teams he played for is obvious. After all, who else could do justice to MJ's iconic #23 jersey in a Chicago Bulls uniform?
What is not obvious, however, is that a team he never played for, and routinely beat in the playoffs in the latter part of his career, had enough respect for him to retire his jersey. The Miami Heat organization was unable to give LeBron James his favoured #23 jersey which he wore in Cleveland because they'd already retired it for MJ.
Thus, LeBron wore the #6 jersey for 4 seasons after taking his talents to South Beach.
The Heat have retired four numbers, although only three 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.
The Heat have also announced plans to retire the #1 number worn by Chris Bosh from 2010 to 2016, but have not yet set a date for the formal ceremony.