Miami HEAT Logo

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.

Skip to Previous Era
Era 1 - 1986-1988 The HEAT is on
Skip to Next Era
The Miami Herald -  The HEAT is on

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

Suddenly It's the Miami 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.

Miami Arena B&W Photo
Next Slide Previous Slide

click here for other name submissions!


In October 1986, we held a contest to name our fledgling franchise. The contest winner was Stephanie Freed, who could feel the HEAT down in her soul all the way back then.

1988 Miami HEAT Logo

“I thought, well, this might be kind of fun to be in.” — Mark Henderson, Original HEAT Logo Designer

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.

Ron Rothstein and Miami HEAT coaches standing in front of the Miami Arena


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.

1988 Miami HEAT Players and Coches
1988 - Game 1 Jump Ball vs. Clippers
Nov. 5th 1988 - First Jump Ball in Team History

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.

Skip to Previous Era
Era 2 1988-1991 A team is born
Skip to Next Era
Bringing Up An NBA Baby

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.

Newspaper Clipping 1

Growing Pains

During the early years of HEAT history, we counted exciting young talent and draft picks —┬ánot wins or playoff appearances. Our front office looked for these young assets to pull us out of the NBA doldrums.

Ron Skikaly and Glen Rice
Steve Smith

Cloth Talk

We debuted our signature look with two jerseys that became instant classics.

Cloth Talk - Jersey Wire
Classic Home White Jersey - Front
Classic Home White
Classic Road Black Jersey - Front
Classic Road Black
12/14/88 First Game Win - Official Scorer's Report

Good things come to those who wait.

The first victory in HEAT history came on December 14, 1988 at the Los Angeles Sports Arena against the Clippers.

Weekend with the Stars

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.

Newpaper Clipping - All-star Weekend in Miami Feb. 9th-11th 1990
Burnie Transformation

Face Off

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!

Skip to Previous Era
Era 3 - 1991-1995 Changes
Skip to Next Era
Coach Kevin Loughery
Kevin Loughery - The man who fired up the HEAT

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.

The HEAT is in! 1992 Playoffs

Four years after our team was born, we made our very first playoff appearance. This was a feeling HEAT Fans could get used to.

Clapper Souvenir
One Windy City Reaches out to the other. Benefit game for Florida hurricane victims.

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.

A nationally televised benefit game that raised over $500,000 for rebuilding efforts
Baby Jordan Emerges as Demon Dunker

Rookie Harold Miner capped off his freshman campaign in the '93 Dunk Contest, soaring to a 97.4 winning score.

Harold Miner dunking in the '93 dunk contest
Eight Seeded Miami Defeats Atlanta 93-88 for it's first playoff victory

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.

HEAT takes game 1 - 1994 NBA Playoffs
A clean sweep in the individual All-Star competition by HEAT's Miner and Rice

Heat Wave in Phoenix

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.

Big day for Rice
Rice's 56 steal show, stun Magic

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.

A Fresh Start

Micky Arison took control of the HEAT in 1995, vowing to keep the team in Miami and sowing the seeds of HEAT Culture.

New era brings renewed hope
Erik Spoelstra begins his first season with the HEAT as the team's Video Coordinator

Spo Knows

Behind the headlines and away from the limelight, a familiar face joined the HEAT video room.

Skip to Previous Era
Era 4 1995-2002 Riley Era Begins
Skip to Next Era
HEAT gets its man - and new hope

September 2, 1995 — Aboard the Carnival Cruise Liner Imagination, Micky Arison announces the arrival of the HEAT's newest Head Coach Pat Riley.

Pat Riley - Micky Arison
Alonzo Mourning
Wake Up! It's Mourning!

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.

When Change Raises Its Beautiful Face, Embrace It

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.

Tim Hardaway

This-A-Way, That-A-Way, Hardaway

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.

New Threads

Uniform Wire
Classic Red Jersey - Front
Classic Red Alternate

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.

Welcome Home - HEAT Road Warriors

Road Warriors

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.

A Spitting Image

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.

Miami HEAT facing off against the New York Knicks

Change Clothes

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.

Uniform Hanger
Home White Jersey - Front
Home White
Road Black Jersey - Front
Road Black
Home, sweet home: HEAT comes back

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.

AmericanAirlines Arena opened on December 31, 1999
Alonzo Mourning diagnosed with a kidney disorder.

“It's Sad, Because nobody's Ever Envious Or Jealous Of SomeBODY THAT HAS Good HEALTH.” —ALONZO MOURNING

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.

City on My Chest

Uniform Wire
Miami Red Alternate Jersey - Front
Miami Red Alternate

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.

Skip to Previous Era
Era 5 2002-2006 Building a champion
Skip to Next Era
Caron Butler - Draft Night

Draft Party

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.

Dwyane Wade - Draft Night

With the fifth pick in the historically-stacked 2003 NBA Draft, the HEAT looked to continue the youth movement — and on June 26, 2003...

“The Miami HEAT Select Dwyane Wade from Marquette University.”

Stan Takes the Reins

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.

Stan Van Gundy - Head Coach
Shaquille O'Neal acquired during the 2004 offseason

Welcome to the Love, Shaq

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.

Uniform Wire
Floridians Black Jersey - Front
Floridians Black

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.

Pat Riley returns as head coach

Riley Returns

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.

White Hot Playoffs - 2006

The Bulls, Nets, and Pistons. Three teams standing in the way of our franchise's first Finals appearance.

Round 1 vs. Bulls
Round 2 vs. Nets
Round 3 vs. Pistons
The Miami Herald - Champions!
Ring of Fire - MVP Wade leads HEAT to first title

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.

Miami HEAT - Championship Parade
Vicotry's Glow - South Florida salutes HEAT; parade on Friday

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.

Skip to Previous Era
Era 6 2006-2010 Reset Button
Skip to Next Era


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.

Championship banner hung on opening night 2006-07 season
September 5, 2008 - Pat Riley inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame

Hall of Fame

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."

The rise of Erik Spoelstra

"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."

Pat Riley, Erik Spoelstra, Micky Arison

¡Qué Calor!

Uniform Wire
El HEAT Jersey - Front
Noche Latina

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.

Wade wearing a themed bandage


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.

Wade on scores table, This is my HOUSE!
This is my HOUSE.

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.

Alonzo Mourning - Jersey Retirement Ceremony

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.

Alonzo Mourning Poster
Tim Hardaway Poster
Tim Hardaway Jersey Retirement Ceremony

"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.

Skip to Previous Era
Era 7 2010-2014 The Big Three
Skip to Next Era

Decisions, Decisions

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.

We want UD Back

...And We Got U Back

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.

Finals rematch against the Mavericks - HEAT lose in 6 game series


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.

Back in Black (And White)

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.

Uniform Wire
Back in Black Jersey - Front
Back in Black
Floridians White Jersey - Front
Floridians White
Lebron James MVP
Lebron James - 2012 NBA MVP

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.

HEAT Reign - Crowning moment as champs savor night of glory
KINGS! Lebron is MVP; HEAT wins second ring

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.

Taking it to the Streets

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.

2012 HEAT Championship Parade

Who We Are

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.

Uniform Wire
Miami Black Jersey - Front
Miami Black
White Hot Jersey - Front
White Hot


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).

HEAT 27 game wining streak
REPEAT! HEAT wins second title in a row

Rebound Bosh... Back Out To Allen...

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.

HEAT Championship Parade - Return of the Kings

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.

2013 HEAT Championship Parade

Nicknames and Campaigns

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.

Uniform Wire
Name Collection Jersey - Back
Name Collection
Red Zone Jersey - Front
Red Zone
Fourth straight Finals apperance - HEAT fall short

Falling Short

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.

Skip to Previous Era
Era 8 2014-2018 The Next Challenge
August 8, 2014 - Alonzo Mourning was inducted into the Hall of Fame

Hall of Fame: Zo Edition

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."

HEAT Nation

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.

HEAT Nation campaign

Suit Up (Black Tie)

Uniform Wire
Black Tie Jersey - Front
Black Tie

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.

Uniform Wire
Homestrong Jersey - Front
Home Strong
Legacy Jersey - Front
Wade celebrating in front of fans
White Hhot Playoffs

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 Poster
Shaq Jersey Retirement Ceremony

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.

Suit Up (White Tie)

Uniform Wire
White Tie Jersey - Front
White Tie

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.

HEAT Culture 2016-17 players on court

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.

Erik Spoelstra - 455 franchise record for most wins as Head Coach


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.