NBA: All-Time Starting 5 of the Miami Heat
- Here are the five players who made it into the Miami Heat's all-time starting five.
The Miami Heat began in the NBA as an expansion team in 1988. The team was very inconsistent in the first few years of their existence, making the playoffs twice until 1995. The arrival of Alonzo Mourning and Tim Hardaway changed the team’s fortunes, as well as the appointment of Pat Riley as team president and head coach.
During the 1990s, the Heat made the playoffs five straight years before a bad 2002-03 season brought them a lottery pick. That pick turned out to be great for the team as they drafted Dwyane Wade with the fifth overall selection.
Wade, along with Shaquille O’Neal, helped deliver the team’s first ever NBA championship in 2006. And in 2010, Riley orchestrated one of the biggest free agency summers in NBA history. Riley was able to re-sign Wade to an extension while also signing free agents LeBron James and Chris Bosh.
The Big 3 brought two more NBA championships to Miami in four NBA Finals appearances. Already one of the most decorated franchises in the league, many legendary players have already played for them. Here are the five players who made it into the Heat’s all-time starting five.
Center – Alonzo Mourning
The first big acquisition of the Pat Riley Era in Miami, Alonzo Mourning was acquired from the Charlotte Hornets in exchange for Glen Rice. Mourning would team up with Tim Hardaway to guide the Heat to six playoff appearances. With Mourning as their main guy, the Heat reached Eastern Conference Finals in 1997, losing to the Chicago Bulls in five games.
Mourning left the Heat in 2002 to join the New Jersey Nets. After battling a kidney disease, he re-joined Miami in 2005 as a veteran role player and stayed until 2008. The Hall of Famer was a five-time All-Star with the Heat and a two-time Defensive Player of the Year in 1999 and 2000.
Honorable Mention: Center – Shaquille O’Neal
Acquired from the Los Angeles Lakers in 2004, Shaquille O’Neal played a pivotal role for the Heat in their title-winning campaign in 2006. Shaq was a three-time All-Star in Miami while also making the All-NBA First Team twice.