The greatest Miami Heat players of all time
The Miami Heat sprung to life in 1988 as an expansion franchise, and while they don’t have half a century of history like some of the league's blue bloods, the Heat do have a proud tradition of excellence.
Miami won three NBA championships and made four straight Finals appearances from 2011-14. Success like that can’t be achieved without great players, so let’s take a look at the five best Miami Heat players of all time.
5. Tim Hardaway
Position: Point guard
Accolades: 5x All-Star, 5x All-NBA
Tim Hardaway joined Miami in the franchise's infancy, and was the Heat's greatest player for many years. After coming to Miami from the Golden State Warriors, "Tim Bug" led the Heat to six straight playoff appearances.
Hardaway was an elite scorer, averaging over 20 points per game in his first season, and 17.7 for his career. He was a clutch shooter and outstanding playmaker who never shied away from the game's biggest moments.
4. Shaquille O’Neal
Accolades: Hall of Fame, 15x All-Star, 14x All-NBA, 3x Finals MVP, 1x MVP, 4x NBA champion
Shaq’s best years were undoubtedly spent with the Los Angeles Lakers, but as his career began to decline he ventured to the other side of the country. While O'Neal only played three and a half seasons in South Beach, his impact shouldn’t be understated as he was instrumental in turning the Heat into one of the best franchises of the past 20 years.
O’Neal brought a winning attitude to Miami and was an essential piece of the 2006 championship team, as he averaged 13.7 points and 10.2 rebounds per game during the Finals.
3. Alonzo Mourning
Accolades: Hall of Fame, 7x All-Star, 1x NBA champion, 2x Defensive Player of the Year
Aside from providing the world one of the greatest gifs of all time with his bench reaction, Mourning provided Heat fans over a decade of excellent play. His grit and effort on the defensive side of the court endeared him to those that appreciate more than offense.
Mourning is third in minutes played, second in rebounds, second in points, and has over twice as many blocks as any other player in franchise history. He also was a prominent member of the 2006 championship team, and remains one of pro hoops' true warriors.
2. LeBron James
Position: Small forward
Accolades: 17x All-Star, 16x All-NBA, 4x MVP, 4x NBA champion, 4x Finals MVP
LeBron James is arguably the greatest player of all time, and will almost certainly go down as the most decorated. While James only spent four years in Miami, taking his talents there proved to be a tectonic shift in the NBA landscape.
LeBron James in Game 7 of the 2013 NBA Finals:— ethan (@okcfanethan) July 19, 2020
The Heat won by single digits with only FIVE players scoring at all (and Chris Bosh and Ray Allen scoring 0 points). LeBron is INSANE pic.twitter.com/tquoOvMOLL
The Heat would accomplish unprecedented success during James' tenure, including four straight NBA Finals appearances and an impressive 27-game win streak in 2013.
1. Dwayne Wade
Position: Shooting guard
Accolades: 13x All-Star, 8x All-NBA, 3x All-Defensive, 3x NBA champion, 1x NBA Finals MVP
Wade is Mr Heat. The dynamic shooting guard entered the league out of Marquette and instantly inserted himself as the leader of the franchise for the next decade-plus. Wade leads the franchise in minutes played, points, assists, and steals, and despite being 6'4", he is even second in blocks.
Wade earned three championships with Miami, averaging an incredible 34.7 points per game during his first NBA Finals in 2006. For a franchise with a short history, players like Wade leave us with long memories.