If you have been following me around this summer, you will notice what Jeff Fox over at Hoops Manifesto has been doing this month. Under his guidance, we have been going team-by-team and selecting the ten best players in each franchise’s history.
We made our way up to Miami earlier this week. And with Pat Riley firing back at Stan Van Gundy and Otis Smith for comments they made earlier this summer it is on.
I am all for good white board material — as a journalist, you have to be fishing for that stuff, it is great quotes. So let’s give Miami fans a reason to hate Orlando — not like they would need any after Smith and Van Gundy scribbled quotes so eloquently upon the minds of the Heat. And then the Pat Williams thing way back when the teams were just little baby franchises.
I know what Heat fans are going to say: “We have a title and you don’t! We beat you in our only postseason meeting!” I say, so what. Let’s see how we do this year. Because we can all agree, the Magic and Heat rivalry has never been bigger.
So, let me slam the Heat top 10. And Leaving It All on the Court, I expect a return slam from you when the Magic are up (which should be fairly soon). Just remember this is all for fun and camaraderie to build this rivalry up a little bit more. Feel free to comment your Heat hate, just keep it good-natured and as clean as possible.
1. Dwyane Wade
No argument that Wade is the best player in team history. Wait, yes there is. Because I voted for Alonzo Mourning. Kill me later for it. I think Mourning has meant more to the Heat franchise than Wade.
Besides, didn’t Wade get sued for allegedly spreading a sexually transmitted disease to his girlfriend? And he was sued by a business partner for running their joint restaurant into the ground because he allegedly had wild parties at the restaurant involving lots of drugs and lots of free stuff and little cleanup or responsibility.
Ladies and gentlemen, the captain of the supposedly unbeatable Heat.
2. Alonzo Mourning
I don’t have much bad to say about ‘Zo. The guy was great on and off the court and I placed him No. 1 on my ballot because of his work in the community. He was known to be a bit of an @$$hole on the court, but that was part of the passion he brought to every game. It really was too bad the kidney disease took away a lot of his playing time, otherwise I could find something bad to say about the guy.
3. Tim Hardaway
I don’t think I need to go over how nasty Tim Hardaway can be.
4. Glen Rice
Rice is another good guy. Don’t have much to say about him. Wikipedia says he was arrested in 2008 for felony battery. But I mostly remember him for missing that 3-pointer that would have allowed me to beat NBA Jam Tournament Edition. Nine 3-point shooter <shaking head>.
5. Shaquille O’Neal
Miami fans, I think we can both agree Shaq is self-involved and generally not a good teammate. O’Neal left you on pretty bad terms after clogging up the lane in his third year in Miami and forced his way out because he could not handle losing. At least O’Neal did not leave you at the altar. He is on Boston now, so we can be joined in our hatred for Shaq. Coexistence, indeed.
6. Eddie Jones
Eddie Jones was always asked to play a role that was far beyond his talent. And he usually fell short in doing that. Not his fault, it is what Miami gets for constantly surrounding him with below-average players until Lamar Odom (Skittles, anyone?) and Wade (see above) joined the team. I am not sure if his team consisting of him, Ron Harper and Shawn Kemp, but judging from his career I am betting he performed admirably but came up just a bit short.
7. Rony Seikaly
Don’t want to say too much bad about DJ Rony Seikaly. He tends to keep the hits fresh and had a nice season and a half with the Magic. Although, I find it difficult to believe he married (and divorced) a Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover model.
8. Udonis Haslem
The charges were dropped, but still Udonis? And why couldn’t you guys beat Michigan State in the 2000 National Championship game? You and Mike Miller can opine that fact as Orlando is lifting the Eastern Conference trophy.
9. P.J. Brown
I cannot think of a more boring player than P.J. Brown (not that I would not kill for him to be on our team when he was in his prime). He was just a good mid-range shooter and a tough player, but not a bruiser like Charles Oakley. Although he did have a textbook body slam on Charlie Ward and did a good job fighting off Jeff Van Gundy in that classic 1997 fight with the Knicks.
10. Steve Smith
If only his broadcasting was as good as his play… Here is another one of those guys that kept me from beating NBA Jam Tournament Edition.