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As one of the more recent teams to join the NBA, the Miami Heat have a history dating back only 30 years, yet it’s been marked by incredible success. Since their inception, the Heat have gone on to win 11 division titles, 5 conference titles, and 3 NBA Championships—the last of which have all occurred since 2006. The Heat have attracted many well-known players over the seasons, and their success in the aughts is in large part due to famous faces such as Dwyane Wade, Shaquille O’Neal, Gary Payton, Chris Bosh, and, of course, LeBron James. Though the Heat are currently in a period of rebuilding, fans can’t wait to see the team bring another title back to Miami. Join fellow Heat supporters with tickets to home games at Downtown Miami’s American Airlines Arena.
Alongside the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Charlotte Hornets, and in-state rival Orlando Magic, the Miami Heat were founded in 1988 as 1 of the 4 new expansion teams to join the NBA. Their early years were met by mediocre success, only reaching the playoffs 2 times in their first 8 years and losing in the first round both times. But things began to take a turn for the better in the mid-1990s when the team brought on legendary head coach Pat Riley and players Alonzo Mourning and Tim Hardaway. Between 1996 and 2003, the team won their first 4 division titles and appeared in the playoffs 6 times, though they never made it past the Conference Finals.
Then came the 2003–04 season, when the Heat signed future MVP Dwyane Wade. Over the next few years, they would add veterans Shaquille O’Neal and Gary Payton, as well as bring back Mourning, who had
previously left the Heat for the New Jersey Nets. From 2004 to 2007, they would take 3 more division titles, 1 conference championship, and in 2006, earn the NBA
Finals victory over the Dallas Mavericks. The Heat then hit 4 years of post-title struggles, losing in the first round of the playoffs in ‘07,
‘09, and ‘10, and missing the playoffs entirely in 2008.
By 2010, O’Neill, Payton, and Mourning had all left the team, but the Heat nabbed a little player named LeBron James from the Cleveland Cavaliers, as well as Chris Bosh from the Toronto Raptors. Together with Dwyane Wade, they ushered in a 4-year era of the “Big 3,” leading the team to the third-longest winning streak in NBA history, 4 straight division and conference titles, and back-to-back NBA Finals wins in 2012 and ‘13. It was undoubtedly the team’s most successful period yet, but it was immediately followed by a missed turn at the playoffs after LeBron’s departure back to the Cavs in 2014.
Even without James, Wade and Bosh were able to get the Heat back on their feet, taking the 2016 division title but losing in the NBA Playoffs in the Conference Semifinals. Later that year, Bosh suffered numerous health issues, and Wade announced he’d be leaving the team for the Chicago Bulls. Today, under Head Coach Erik Spoelstra, the Heat are attempting to regain their standing in the conference, building a roster around Goran Dragić, Josh Richardson, and Kelly Olynyk. Grab a ticket to see them face off against rivals like the New York Knicks, the Boston Celtics, and the San Antonio Spurs.