Over time we've built the hardest-working, best conditioned, most professional, unselfish, toughest, meanest, nastiest team in the NBA, but we're not done writing our history just yet.This is our story. Where we come from.
MIAMI — How do you build a franchise from the ground up? Break ground on a brand new arena? Lay the foundation of everything to come after... the parades, the titles, the evolution of a real basketball culture in South Florida?
It all started with a dream.
From humble beginnings to becoming Miami's hardwood heroes — and everything in between — this is the story of your Miami HEAT.
Our story begins in 1986...
Please turn to ARENA
As it turns out, before you can open your doors to the public, first you need some doors! The HEAT's first house, Miami Arena, opened its doors for the first time on July 13, 1988.
With a name chosen, now we needed a logo. Enter Mark Henderson and Richard Lyons. Their design was selected as the winner with 34% of the fan vote. Aside from a few color changes and minor cleanups throughout the years, the HEAT logo remains relatively unchanged today.
A brand new arena to call home, a hot name and logo — but still no basketball team! The first addition to the on-court product was Head Coach Ron Rothstein, fresh off a stint with the Bad Boy Pistons.
We wore our Sunday's best for our NBA baptism. Miami Vice star Don Johnson introduced us to the HEAT Dancers. And after an intro including indoor fireworks, we witnessed the start of HEAT basketball.
By October 1988, we had our arena, our coach, our team, and our fanbase. While getting to this point presented its fair share of challenges, our thirty-year on-court history finally began here.
During the early years of HEAT history, we counted exciting young talent and draft picks — not wins or playoff appearances. Our front office looked for these young assets to pull us out of the NBA doldrums.
We debuted our signature look with two jerseys that became instant classics.
The first victory in HEAT history came on December 14, 1988 at the Los Angeles Sports Arena against the Clippers.
From Michael and Magic to Bird and Barkley, nearly every big name from the era made an appearance at the Miami Arena for All-Star Weekend 1990.
Burnie wasn't born beautiful — in fact, frankly he was a little terrifying — so we brought in the big guns. Team Physician Dr. Harlan Selesnick performed the operation in front of a surgical theater of thousands, and after a short recovery period, our beloved Burnie appeared much as he does today!
The '91–'92 season saw the arrival of our second Head Coach, Kevin Loughery. Coach Loughery was charged with turning our fledgling franchise into a competitor.
Four years after our team was born, we made our very first playoff appearance. This was a feeling HEAT Fans could get used to.
After Hurricane Andrew swept through Miami during the 1992 offseason, Michael Jordan and the Bulls came to Miami for Rebound South Florida, a nationally televised benefit game that raised over $500,000 for rebuilding efforts.
Rookie Harold Miner capped off his freshman campaign in the '93 Dunk Contest, soaring to a 97.4 winning score.
The year is '94 and the HEAT was on. We broke through and finally got our very first (and second) playoff wins against the #1 seed Atlanta Hawks.
In the '95 All-Star Weekend, Harold Miner returned for his second NBA Slam Dunk title in three years while underdog Glen Rice took down the favorite, Reggie Miller, in the Three-Point Competition.
On April 15, 1995, Glen Rice led the HEAT to a 123–117 upset victory over the Orlando Magic with 56 points, an individual HEAT scoring record that would last almost 19 years.
Micky Arison took control of the HEAT in 1995, vowing to keep the team in Miami and sowing the seeds of HEAT Culture.
Behind the headlines and away from the limelight, a familiar face joined the HEAT video room.
September 2, 1995 — Aboard the Carnival Cruise Liner Imagination, Micky Arison announces the arrival of the HEAT's newest Head Coach Pat Riley.
Two months into Riley's reign, All-Star big man Alonzo Mourning hit the trade block. The HEAT capitalized on the chance to add the 25-year-old center.
February 22, 1996 brought hurricane force winds of change as Riley's front office executed a head-spinning series of trades involving three teams and 10 players — both League records at the time.
The whirlwind trade deadline was a big deal, but it was less about the 10 players who packed their bags and more about the acquisition of point guard Tim Hardaway.
A new third uniform made its debut in February of 1996. Blood red with black and white trim, the HEAT's new clothes were the first of many alternate uniforms worn throughout the years.
After winning every game of an early season six-game roadtrip, the '96–'97 HEAT were dubbed The Road Warriors. The name stuck, with the team going on to rack up 32 road wins during the campaign.
Four consecutive postseasons from 1997 to 2000 found your Miami HEAT facing off against the New York Knicks — a team built by Riley's hand using the same philosophies he brought to the shores of Biscayne.
Out with the orange, in with the new. In the 1999–2000 season, Miami underwent a wardrobe update. The new jerseys featured striped panels on both sides, updated numerals, a shift from orange to a bold yellow, and a wishbone collar to bring the HEAT into the new millennium.
The doors to AmericanAirlines Arena opened on December 31, 1999. A few days later the HEAT got a W in their very first game at the Triple A — an overtime thriller against the Orlando Magic.
In October 2000, Alonzo Mourning announced he would not play basketball for the entire season after being diagnosed with a kidney disorder. True to form, Zo returned to play the final 13 games of the season.
During the '01–'02 season, the HEAT debuted an updated red uniform. This jersey followed the same look as our home white and road black — but for the first time, we put Miami on our chest.
With the 2001–02 HEAT season coming to a disappointing end, the team found themselves out of the playoffs and collecting the 10th overall pick in the 2002 NBA Draft. On June 26, 2002, the HEAT selected Caron Butler, the first building block in what would turn into a multi-year rebuild.
With the fifth pick in the historically-stacked 2003 NBA Draft, the HEAT looked to continue the youth movement — and on June 26, 2003...
October 24, 2003 — Assistant Coach Stan Van Gundy rose to the role of Head Coach, with Pat Riley stepping down to focus on his duties as team president.
What happens when you pair Flash with Superman? We got to find out when we acquired larger-than-life center Shaquille O'Neal during the 2004 offseason.
In the '05–'06 season, the Miami Floridians of the ABA took over AmericanAirlines Arena, going back to the days of funk and the 'fro in the first installment of the NBA's Hardwood Classic Nights.
December 12, 2005 — Head Coach Stan Van Gundy stepped down for personal and family reasons and Pat Riley returned to the bench to take over head coaching responsibilities.
The Bulls, Nets, and Pistons. Three teams standing in the way of our franchise's first Finals appearance.
In June 2006, Miami reached the pinnacle of basketball. Down two games to none against the Dallas Mavericks, the HEAT fought back to win the next four games on the back of Finals MVP Dwyane Wade. Miami won the series 4–2.
18 seasons after the HEAT landed in Miami and 11 seasons after Pat Riley's arrival, Miami residents broke out the pots and pans for the championship parade down Biscayne Boulevard that Riley envisioned all those years ago.
On Opening Night of the 2006–07 NBA season, with our Championship core resigned, AmericanAirlines Arena hung our very first Championship banner. And we wanted more.
September 5, 2008 — Pat Riley was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. "All of these men, all of these women, all the people that I've been involved with have lifted me up, and I'm so appreciative of that."
"We're hiring Spoelstra today to get a result," Pat Riley said, seated next to newly-hired Head Coach Erik Spoelstra. "The reason why I think we're going to get a result is because he's a man we can trust."
The NBA's Noche Latina program celebrates basketball fans of Hispanic heritage — and we have our fair share in Miami! In the program's second season, EL HEAT appeared on our jersey's chest.
After taking an in-game shot to the face, Dwyane Wade needed a few stitches. For several games afterward, he wore a themed bandage under his left eye until his fashion statement was banned.
March 9, 2009 — Tied in double-overtime against the Bulls with the clock winding down, Dwyane Wade stole the ball and lofted a buzzer-beating three. Game, HEAT. And from that moment, there's been no question whose house this is.
What do you give a man that pledged his mind, body, and soul to the franchise? You put his jersey in the rafters. On March 30, 2009, we honored Zo and hoisted #33 to the ceiling forever.
"There are always going to be those names that have helped develop the taproot and foundation for what we hope to be a long tradition of success here in Miami," said Pat Riley. On October 28, 2009, Tim Hardaway's #10 joined Zo's #33 as the only HEAT jerseys to be retired at the AmericanAirlines Arena.
While most teams were hoping to land one big fish during the summer of 2010, your Miami HEAT went fishing with dynamite. The only team with enough cap space to fit three All-Stars got three All-Stars — and KABOOM! — The Big Three was born.
On June 9, 2010, we got our cake and ate it too. The whole HEAT staff loaded onto a bus and made a trip to the Haslem House for Udonis' surprise birthday celebration — and naturally, about a month later, this #HEATLifer stayed in Miami.
Five years after winning the franchise's first championship, the HEAT squared off against the Mavericks in a Finals rematch. Another six game series versus Dallas, only this time it wasn't us holding Larry overhead at the end.
In 2011–12, we broke out a couple of brand new styles. The Back in Black uniform was a reference to our 2003–04 playoff color campaign and the ABA Floridians returned in white, orange, and magenta.
Our franchise had seen a lot over the years, but the 2011–12 season brought another HEAT first. On May 12, 2012, LeBron James received his third MVP, the first regular season MVP ever won by a HEAT player.
In their second trip to the Finals in as many years, the HEAT emerged as Champions. LeBron James was named Finals MVP, while Wade, Haslem, and Miami celebrated their second NBA title.
Securing the first Championship of the Big Three Era, the HEAT took to the streets in double decker buses under a bright South Florida summer sun. Confetti, sweat, and pots and pans flooded Biscayne Boulevard for the first time since 2006.
In 2012–13, we updated our road black jersey, putting Miami across our chest so fans across the NBA would know exactly what city we rep. We also went White Hot a little earlier than usual, celebrating our playoff campaign with an all-white-everything aesthetic.
From February 3 to March 25, the 2012–13 HEAT went on a historic run that falls second in NBA history for win streak in a season, making some good memories along the way (or bad, if you ain't a HEAT Fan).
There's clutch, and then there's Ray Allen clutch. In a back-and-forth Finals filled with highlights, this series will forever be known for a single shot from Game 6 — The Shot. HEAT in seven.
After an emotional and unforgettable Finals run, we broke out the double decker buses once again. Over 400,000 fans packed the streets to get a glimpse of the back-to-back Champions.
Fresh off winning Larry #3, we dropped Name Collection, and whether you were a witness to King James or you took flight with the Birdman, you could don our traditional Home White with a colloquial twist. Next, we rounded out our Playoff color campaign collection with Red Zone — the '04–'05 predecessor to White Hot.
Our fourth straight Finals appearance saw a rematch against the Spurs, but this time with different results. The series marked the end of the Big Three era with the offseason departure of LeBron James.
August 8, 2014 — Alonzo Mourning was inducted into the Hall of Fame. "This is not my day — this is Mrs. Fannie Threet's day, Coach Thompson's day, this is my entire family and friends who have contributed to this particular moment."
From Day One, we've proudly worn this city's name across our chest. The HEAT Nation campaign celebrated our Championship culture — past, present, and future.
A team full of fashion-forward players hit the floor for our 2014–15 season, so we matched their mindset in the mirror and on the court. High-octane athletics met high-fashion aesthetics in Black Tie.
Pat Riley founded the Home Strong program in 2006, and ten years later we built upon that promise by designing and debuting an on-court homage to our heroes in the Armed Forces. In the same year, we also unveiled Legacy, a tribute to the color campaign of Playoffs past.
Making the Playoffs with a brand new team, Dwyane Wade led this cast to two seven-game series, including a memorable Game 6 in Charlotte where Wade showed just how clutch he still was.
Shaq arrived in Miami on a Diesel truck, carrying a squirt gun, and making a promise. He left as a man of his word with the Larry O'Brien trophy finally making its way to 601 Biscayne Blvd. "He changed the direction of our team," Pat Riley said. "He brought an absolute legitimacy to our franchise." And for that, we raised #32 to the rafters.
The White Tie uniform is a total inversion of Black Tie. White and black lines re-tailored, creating something new from something old. High-octane athletics and high-fashion aesthetics — re-styled.
Written off in the first half of the 2016–17 season after an 11–30 start, a team of supposed castoffs made no excuses and showed they had something to say. Digging deep and embracing HEAT Culture, they finished the season 30–11, barely missing the playoffs by virtue of a tiebreaker, but building a foundation for the future.
Since 2008 our homegrown Head Coach has been stacking W's at an incredible rate. On December 16, 2017 Erik Spoelstra eclipsed Pat Riley's franchise record for most wins as Head Coach.