18) Sherman Douglas
Yes, The General’s shorts were very short, but his fashion sense is not what got him on the list. Back when the Heat were awful and a 24 win season seemed a successful campaign, point guard Sherman Douglas was the first Heat player who hinted at competence. His high scoring and his alley-oop passes to college buddy Rony Seikaly hinted that we might not always be God awful.
17) Keith Askins
Before he was the Heat’s bowtied assistant coach who looked like a member of the Nation of Islam, Askins had a ten year career with the Heat going from benchwarmer to protoypical defensive stopper/ three point shooter later emulated by Bruce Bowen, James Posey, and Shane Battier. His defense on Michael Jordan in the 1997 Eastern Conference Finals was as good as anyone ever played on him.
16) PJ Brown
Normally, I am not a fan of violence, but when PJ Brown flipped over New York Knick Charlie Ward in the 1997 playoffs I was cheering. The Knicks were a bunch of dirty, undisciplined thugs who ran on to the court to battle PJ Brown. Unfortunately for the Knicks they broke an NBA rule that says you are not allowed to leave the bench unless you are in the game. So all the Knick’s star players from Patrick Ewing to Allen Houston were suspended for the next game allowing the Heat to use a technicality to climb out of a 3-1 deficit, and make it to their first conference finals. And we owed it all to PJ Brown’s temper.
15) Norris Cole
The retro flat top is the first clue that the Heat’s back-up point guard is old school. So is his aggressive game where he takes the ball strong to the basket and never whines to the refs about a call they missed. From his first game, a Christmas day match up against the Dallas Mavericks who had just beaten the Heat in the Finals, the young fellow has been speedy and effective. He’s also been a good luck charm as the Heat have won every championship since he joined their roster. His nickname Cole Train is old school rad too.
14) Gary Payton
When Gary Payton joined the Heat he wasn’t just old school, he was old. The feisty Hall of Famer had a lot of fight left in him. You could hear his trash talking and his hard hacks from the upper rows of the stadium, but what gets the Glove so high on the list was the greatest shot in Heat history (until that of another former Seattle Supersonic). In Game 3 of the 2006 Finals with the shot clock running down Payton had the ball passed to him. Instead of taking a difficult three pointer, he pump faked, took a dribble and made a beautiful shot that allowed the Heat to clinch the first of four straight games to win their first championship.
13) Dan Majerle
A buddy of mine wanted to make a painting of Thunder Dan fist raised with the crowd cheering after a made three pointer. The guy was a rock star on the court always giving it his all and never taking a play off. His back at times was so bad that when the coach took him out he had to ride a stationary bike to keep himself loose, but that didn’t prevent him from playing recklessly hearty ball every single minute he was out there.
12) Rony Seikaly
Before becoming one of Miami’s lamest DJs, Rony Seikaly was the Miami Heat’s starting center. His defense was as soft as you would expect from the son of a Greek tycoon and the husband of a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model, but the guy could rebound and had some nifty low post moves that certain kids without much athleticism might try to imitate.
11) Shaquille O’Neal
If Big Daddy would have kept the fun loving vibe he had when a forced a trade from the Lakers to join the Heat he would be in the top 5 of this list. His first season with the Heat, his passing, his dunking, his rebounding, hell, even his defense were a joy to watch. In his second season all those skills atrophied, but he did enough to help the Heat win a championship. A season and a half later he faked injuries to force a trade from Miami then talked trash on the way out about the team including insulting Dwyane Wade and threatening to fight Coach Pat Riley. I can forgive, but I can’t forget.
10) Ray Allen
He only played a season and a half with the Heat, and if Ray Allen did nothing else but hit that one remarkable shot that forced overtime in Game 6 of 2013’s NBA Finals he would deserve this spot. Allen, the greatest 3 point shooter in league history has done more. In his third game with the Heat he hit a game winner and all throughout his time with the Heat his three point shooting inspired more confidence than most player’s lay-ups. Best of all he spurned the Heat’s arch-rival, the Boston Celtics, to join the good guys.