The NBA started to Heat up
The Miami Heat were founded in 1988, along with the Charlotte Hornets. Ted Arison, co-founder of Norwegian Cruise lines and founder of Carnival Cruise Lines, along with a group endorsed by The Miami Sports and Exhibition Authority got the ball rolling on the expansion of the NBA to Florida. The team was established in 1988 but the process started in 1986 when they broke ground on building the Miami Arena, the Miami Heat’s home until 2008. Along with a new arena the group was on the search for a name. A name contest was done and they received over 5,000 entries. The lucky winner was the Heat which was picked by Stephanie Freed. One of the more popular names that wasn’t chosen was Miami Vice based off the famous detective show. The work to get the franchise going did not end there as they needed a logo. Another fan vote was conducted both Mark Henderson and Richard Lyons received 34% of the votes with their fiery basketball through a hoop design.
Charitable Founding Fathers
The Miami Heat are extremely involved in their community. Since 1997, they have established six organizations for community benefit. Their first foundation was the Heat Charitable Fund Mission. It provides educational scholarships for high school seniors and partners with elementary schools funding the Heat Academy, which provides after-school tutoring and mentoring programs. One of their beneficiaries is SafeSpace, a domestic violence shelter for women and children. The Heat also pour into the veterans in the South Florida area. Their ‘Home Strong’ foundation works to assist some unmet needs of military personnel and their families who’ve returned from Iraq and Afghanistan. The names of some of their other foundations are: The Heat Family Charity Group, Miami Heat Family Festival, Annual Toy/Food Drive, and Heat Scramble Golf Classic. Most of their events raise money that goes back to their Heat Charitable Fund Mission. All of the team’s community activities are to help families, at-risk children, and be inclusive. The Miami Heat have thrown a night party called “Loud and Proud”, which is a free and fun night out that is targeted at the LGBTQ community; they have music, food, and special guest appearances from people who represent the community. The Heat acknowledge that they have the largest Hispanic season ticket fan base in the NBA. So in October they have a Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration.
A Winning Culture
The Miami Heat have one the winningest cultures in the NBA. Since 1999, the Heat have the third most championships in the NBA. They’re also tied for sixth with 3 NBA championships amongst all 30 teams in the league. The team has been a staple in the playoffs since Pat Riley took over as president of basketball operations and head coach in 1995. They have made the playoffs 18 out of 23 years. Winning 13 division titles: 9 Southeast division titles and 4 Atlantic division titles. They also have won 5 conference titles. Each and every year they are competitive and are expected to make noise once the playoffs start. Another thing that attributes to their winning culture is their success in having players on the Sioux Falls Skyforce, their G-league (NBA’s developmental league) called-up to the NBA. Of the players that have played for the Skyforce they have had 10 guys get called up who have had successful seasons or careers. Their G-league affiliate, the Skyforce has won 2 championships and Kasib Powell, a former player for the team, has won MVP.
Winning stems from Coaching
Winning starts with the players first and is followed by the coaches. The Miami Heat have had great coaches come from their G-league team as well as their organization. Pat Riley is the head of the teams coaching tree. He has coached the Miami Heat for 13 years. He gave up the head coaching position in 2003 giving Stan Van Gundy his first opportunity as a head coach. Stan Van Gundy was fired midway through the 2005-06 season but went on to coach the Orlando Magic and Detroit Pistons. Pat Riley resumed duties after the firing of Stan Van Gundy until 2008 when he officially retired from coaching and head the team over to Erik Spoelstra. Riley has had two other assistant coaches get promoted to head coaching positions under his tutelage: David Fizdale and Jeff Van Gundy. The coaching tree even extends to the G-league team as 6 others who were the head coach of the Sioux Falls Skyforce ended up becoming successful head coaches or assistant coaches in either the NBA or the college ranks.