Miami Heat Mount Rushmore: The Winning Formula
One of the most captivating franchises of the last two decades, the Heat have always managed to put at least a competitive team on the floor every single year. As a young franchise, they have certainly made their mark, and have built three completely different championship-level teams in just this short time span. Today, the team remains as one of the best, and we don’t have to go far back in time when examining who belongs on the Heat Mount Rushmore.
There is only one man to start this list off, and it’s the man who helped bring nearly two decades of success to the franchise. Statistically, Wade is by far the greatest player in Heat history, leading the franchise all-time in points, assists, steals, field goals, and win shares. He forever stayed loyal to the city and helped bring two different championship teams to the top (for a total of three rings) at two very different points in his career. There will never be a Heat list that isn’t complete without a mention of Wade, who may as well be called Mr. Heat for his contributions to the team.
Next up is the most talented player to ever wear the Heat jersey, transforming the franchise into instant contenders through his first move out of Cleveland. Although he may have spent just four seasons in Miami, James ranks inside the top five all-time for the Heat in points, assists, and field goals made, and he is second in win shares, piling up a ridiculous 65.3 during his time with the team. James’ four seasons with the Heat are among the greatest stretch of seasons by any player ever, with an overall average of 26.9 points per game while playing nearly every position, being incredibly efficient, and being a tremendous leader.
We go a little bit back in time to talk about Mourning, who had two distinct stints with the team, the first one being in his prime, and the second as a key bench piece to their 2006 championship run. During Mourning’s first seven years with the team, he averaged 19.8 points per game, 9.7 rebounds per game, and 2.9 blocks per game, reaching the All-Star game 5 times. He then returned back to the team after 1 1/2 seasons with the Nets to help lead them to their first title. Mourning was a terrific defensive player, an efficient scorer, and is in the Basketball Hall of Fame.
Although many fans may see him as just a bench player today, Haslem used to be a great player back in the 1980s. Ok, I’m joking, but during Haslem’s best stretch of years from the 2004-2005 season to the 2009-2010 season, he averaged 10.5 points per game and 8.4 rebounds per game on over 50% efficiency from the field. Aside from these contributions, Haslem was a critical part of all three of the Heat championship teams, providing passion and leadership even when his play wasn’t at a high level. Essentially acting as a coach today, he’s helping to build the team’s foundation for the future.