Looking at a photo of a billboard made in San Antonio that read “built not bought” obviously shading Miami made me chuckle. The photo of the billboard may be fake, but it still sets a thought that is running rapid through the minds of Heat haters.
If there is a team that has been through the most humble of beginnings, it is the Miami Heat. The Heat have struggled since inception. If you have been watching the NBA for the last twenty years, you know that this success mirrors built instead of bought. Popular opinions say otherwise. Even though the Miami Heat have never been able to do what the Yankees do so often in baseball (there is no salary cap in baseball), the common belief is that the ascension of the Heat as a dynasty was done with a quick draw of the pocketbook.
It was not.
The Heat have earned everything they have obtained. They have built on successes to be able to get to where they are now.
The Heat were an expansion team in 1988. If you are a Heat fan, you know that the glory days that you have been a part of lately are long overdue, given the pain, suffering and “suckiness” (made that word up) that they’ve had to endure.
The Heat were part of an expansion draft and crawled for 17 games to get their first win on the shoulders of Rony Seikaly. The rise of Glen Rice and Steve Smith in the early 90’s instilled a basketball tradition in South Florida. We all remember the magical and gritty coach Riley years bringing toughness and championship aspirations to Miami. That led up to the closest we have been to glory and eventually birthed the Knicks rivalry. That rivalry reached boiling point and players resorted to fist and punches. Even then, that wasn’t enough to put them over the top.
Having to contend with bad bounces (Allan Houston Leaner) and some guy named Michael Jordan, made things a little difficult on the young franchise. Then, after the turn of the century and a couple of sub 500 seasons, it was time for the Heat to rise.
With a little bit of luck, Miami got the chance to draft Dwayne Wade, who single-handedly not only brought Miami back to playoff contention, but brought Miami its first championship (WITH SHAQ’s HELP).
That brings us to the greatest time in Miami Heat’s history so far — “The LeBron Era”. The Heat now have a chance to three-peat and put themselves next to the greatest NBA teams EVER.
The Heat will have to accomplish this task by going against a formidable team. Maybe the most formidable team in recent memory. The Spurs have 4 championships and a culture of excellence and class that precedes them.
But the Heat’s legacy is already cemented in the archives and this is the stuff we will tell our children’s children about. The point being made here is, APPRECIATE it. Whatever the result of these finals are, you are in the epicenter of history.
– THE HEAT ARE SET TO TAKE ON THE SPURS TONIGHT at 9:00 PM on ABC.