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Aug 31 2006 11:28AM

THE NICKNAMES
Behind The Name
Bobcats
Bucks
Bulls
Cavaliers
Celtics
Clippers
Grizzlies
Hawks
Heat
Hornets
Jazz
Kings
Knicks
Lakers
Magic
Mavericks
Nets
Nuggets
Pacers
Pistons
Raptors
Rockets
Sixers
Sonics
Spurs
Suns
Timberwolves
Trail Blazers
Warriors
Wizards
When Miami was awarded an NBA franchise to begin play in 1988, team officials wanted to have the fans in South Florida involved in the naming, so a contest was held.

Among more than 5,000 entries submitted were Sharks, Barracudas, Flamingos, Palm Trees, Beaches, Heat, Suntan, Shade, Tornadoes and Floridians.

“The Heat was it,” said the team’s general partner, Zev Bufman. “When you think of Miami, that’s what you think of.”