After making four straight NBA Final appearances and winning two championship titles within the past five years, Heat-nation felt its first stint of humility during the 2014-2015 NBA season. Let’s face it; last year was not our brightest moment. After the departure of LeBron James, the Heat tried to put together a competitive team to compensate for their loss star player. But even with their resilient efforts, the team was dismantled by various injuries and lack of cooperation. Even the trade for Goran Dragic was not enough to spark the fire that we have seen the Heat ignite time and time again. To make things worse, Chris Bosh was diagnosed with severe blood clots in his lungs and was uncertain if he would ever return to the game. While last season seemed grim, this is a new year. This is the year where Heat-nation will rise from the ashes and become the team they are known to be, the future NBA champions.
Formed in 1988, Miami Heat has an incredible rich history. During the first few years, the Heat got their NBA welcome playing mediocre basketball and almost to none chances at winning a title conference. It wasn’t until 1995 when the organization brought in Pat Riley as the team president and head coach. During his first year, Riley acquired the Heat legend Alonzo Mourning and point guard Tim Hardaway to serve as the centerpieces for the team. While many people didn’t know it, it was the beginning of the dynasty that would continue today.
As the team grew, so did their reputation. It was a seen as the new kid on the block trying to make big strides. In addition to its attractive city name, various collegiate players and NBA stars began considering Miami as their destination to play ball. In 2003 NBA draft, Miami was able to select one of the most iconic shooting guards to this day, Dwayne Wade. With the help of Alonzo Mourning, Lamar Odom, and summer blockbuster trade Shaquille O’Neal, the Heat were on an unstoppable streak only to lose in Game 7 of the Conference Finals against the Detroit Pistons. While this lost was a heavy one, it did not reflect the fighting spirit and fire that is the Heat.
In the summer of 2005, Pat Riley orchestrated various free agent trades such as Gary Payton, James Posey, Jason Williams, and Antoine Walker. During the heat of the battle, Pat Riley decided to relieve Van Gundy of his duties and assumed head coach for the rest of the season. With his efforts and an incredible contribution from Dwayne Wade, Miami Heat was able to capture its first ever championship title against the Dallas Mavericks and become 2006 NBA Champions.
For the next four years, the Heat laid dormant becoming a relic of their former 2006 selves. While it was a dark time for the team and the fans, it gave the long time assistant Erik Spoelstra the opportunity to become head coach and revitalize the entire organization back to its glory.
Going into the 2010 era was the mark of greatness in basketball history. It is a moment that comes once in a lifetime, but when seen in action is something that is the definition of perfection. This moment was the trio or for the Heat, The Big Three.
For the Boston Celtics they had Kevin Garnett, Paul Perce, and Ray Allen. For the Los Angeles Lakers, they had Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, and Derek Fisher. For the Chicago Bulls, they had Michael Jordan, Scotty Pippen, and Dennis Rodman. A trio in basketball is one of the greatest definers of true teamwork. It is the combination of tricks, passes, and shots that makes reinvigorates your love of the game. For four years, the Miami Heat had their own trio, formally known as The Big Three. This consisted of local boy Dwayne Wade, super start Chris Bosh, and the notoriously loved and hated, the king, LeBron James. What was incredible was simply not just the idea that they made it to the finals for all four times and won two NBA championship titles in 2012 and 2013, but the fashion that they did it. The teamwork, chemistry, and strategic chess moves orchestrated by Pat Riley led to one of the greatest NBA final wins where you saw Ray Allen save the game with a 3 point buzzer beater and LeBron James spark fire single handedly winning one of the final games himself. The beauty and athleticism seen by that entire team and especially that trio was something every Heat-Lifer fan will cherish till the day they die. But like all stories, they have to have its ending. During the transfer window for the 2014-2015 season, LeBron James made the decision to leave Miami.
And now it brings us to today. While we can speculate that the problems of the season was because of the lack of LeBron James, the real reasons were are in fact more serious. The two main stars and leaders of the team Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh were injured during the season, with Chris Bosh uncertain that he would return to the game. Finishing with one of their worst records in Heat history, they were still able to rebuild. They were able to leverage those pains and woes and change it into something reputable. They were going to rise.
With the gains of Goran Dragic, rookie star Shabazz Napier, James Ennis, and now Duke sensation Justise Winslow, the Heat are starting to find a strong place into this up and coming NBA season. With just a month away, I am confident in the decision that our fearless leader, Pat Riley, has made to change the game for the Heat. Remember, we have been in this place before. But the one thing every Heat fan knows is that we always rise from the ashes. All I can say is, “Let’s Go HEAT!”