The Miami Heat is now 26 years old. Since I’ve been obsessing over this NBA team since the ancient year of 1988 I figured it was my obligation to record for posterity the 26 players on the organization I have the fondest memories of.
Just a reminder before you tell me how wrong I am, this list does not go in the order of the Heat’s best players (though it eventually does skew in that direction), merely my 26 favorite.
With apologies to Willie Burton, Ledell Eackles, Dexter Pittman, and Bimbo Coles here we go…
26) Marty Conlon
Who? I couldn’t even find a picture of Marty Conlon in a Miami Heat jersey. He only played for the Miami Heat from 1997-1999 with a grand total of 25 game appearances, but his absurd shooting form made him a popular favorite. As a game was growing out of reach either in the Heat’s favor or against it, the crowd would cheer for the man at the end of the bench. “Mart-y! Mart-y! Mart-y!”
25) Manute Bol
Shane Battier and Mike Miller’s agents are going to be pissed I placed a guy who only scored two points in 8 Miami game appearances ahead of them. This seven foot seven bean pole thin center’s brief tenure with the Heat was a dream come true for a young, tall, skinny ball player who in spite of his differing complexion had the playground nickname of Manute. Here is a link to my obituary for Mr. Bol when he passed away a few years ago.
24) Antoine Walker
For most of his time with the Heat the forward earned my ire. His lowest point coming when Pat Riley suspended him from the team for being too fat. But for six glorious weeks in the 2006 playoffs on the way to the championship Antoine Walker played perfect basketball. He nailed clutch threes, took the ball hard to the basket, and shimmied at the most opportune times.
23) Mario Chalmers
I wanted to keep Super Mario off the list with his propensity for stupid fouls, but he’s made too many important shots as the championship starting point guard over the years not to include him. Any time you’re ready to write him off he hits a crucial basket and has provided years of amusement with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade yelling at him any time something goes wrong. But my favorite feature is when he scores a basket at American Airlines Arena they play the mushroom eating sound effect from the video game Super Mario Brothers.
22) Harold Miner
I still don’t understand how the man nicknamed “Baby Jordan” didn’t have a longer career. In three seasons with the Heat he won two slam dunk championships and provided instant electrifying offense off the bench. Miner was the closest thing Miami saw to Wade until we drafted Wade. I never got why Coach Kevin Loughery didn’t play him more, but apparently the rest of the league got it as after being banished from the Heat in 1995 Miner’s career only lasted 19 more insignificant games with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
21) Chris “Birdman” Andersen
I was not a fan of the Heat acquiring Chris Andersen last season. We already had a championship winning roster and did not need a man accused of having child sex porn on his computer joining the team. Since that time the allegations were proven to be false and as soon as Andersen started playing for the Heat last year rhey went on their 27 game win streak. Then in the playoffs Birdman made 18 consecutive shots. Every minute he plays is with absolute frenetic energy and every game he’s guaranteed to provide a spectacular dunk and/or block.
20) Eddie Jones
Jones was never fully embraced by Heat fans even though he was a homegrown product, because even though he was paid like a star his true role was one of an excellent supporting actor, albeit one with awful luck. He was going to be the missing piece for the Heat in 2000, but then Alonzo Mourning suffered a debilitating kidney disease. In 2005 the Heat would have won the championship thanks to Jones solid defense but then Wade got hurt. EJ was then traded for James Posey, Jason Williams, and Antoine Walker so the Heat finally could win a championship in 2006 and came back a year later when the ship had already sunk. Though the team was always a day late and a dollar short with Jones on it I always appreciated the smoothness to his game.
19) Alan Ogg
There are twelve men on an NBA roster and Alan Ogg was what was called the twelfth man. He sat at the end of a bench for a mediocre team and had to wait for such immortals as Grant Long and Rony Seikaly to get hurt or in foul trouble to see any game action. I don’t know if it was his name or the fact that he played garbage time like it was the last minute of a tied elimination game, but the people loved him. Fans would wait until the end of blow outs and chant “We want Ogg! We want Ogg!”
One time at the end of a game Ogg scored eight points in one minute of play. The Miami Herald calculated that if he played the full 48 minutes he would have obliterated Wilt Chamberlain’s record 100 point game with 384 points.
But his most meaningful professional moment was probably in game 3 of the first round of the 1992 playoffs. The expansion Miami Heat were in the playoffs for the first time in their four year existence. They were playing one of the great teams of all time in Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls. The Bulls flirted the whole season with winning a then record seventy games.
The first two games were routs. But somehow in game 3 in the friendly confines of the Miami Arena the Heat had taken a lead. The Bulls wanted momentum to go into the locker room. They drew up a play for an open jump shot. Some player in red stood in the corner and hoisted what looked like an easy two, but no sir. There was Alan Ogg blocking that shot into the second row. The crowd erupted as did I in my living room. Ogg the Log.
The Heat ended up losing that game. Jordan had 56 points. Pippen had 31. Ogg had zero.
It was the last game he ever played for the Miami Heat. I assume he had many more meaningful moments in the seventeen years between that game and his death. His obituary mentioned a wife and a stepdaughter, but they could have also mentioned a city full of fans.