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The history of the Miami Heat from Wikipedia. 32814
The Miami Heat are a professional basketball team based in Miami, Miami-Dade County, Florida, United States. The team is a member of the Southeast Division in the Eastern Conference of the National Basketball Association (NBA). They play their home games at the American Airlines Arena in Downtown Miami. The team owner is Micky Arison, the President is Pat Riley and the head coach is Erik Spoelstra. The mascot of the team is Burnie, an anthropomorphic fireball.
The Heat were formed as part of the NBA's plan to expand the league with four expansion franchises in the late 1980s. These included the Charlotte Hornets, Orlando Magic and Minnesota Timberwolves. Among those four teams, Miami has been the most successful, winning over 1000 games to date and making 17 playoff appearances, winning 10 division titles, three conference titles and two NBA championships. The Heat defeated the Dallas Mavericks in the 2006 NBA Finals 4-2, lost to the Mavericks 4-2 in the 2011 NBA Finals and beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 4-1 in the 2012 NBA Finals. According to Forbes, as of 2013 the Heat rank sixth in terms of valuable NBA franchises at $625 million.
An expansion team formed in 1988, the Miami Heat began its early years with much mediocrity, only making the playoffs twice in its first eight years and falling in the first round both times, despite individual success from its players. Upon the purchasing of the franchise by Micky Arison in 1995, Pat Riley was brought in as its team president, general manager and head coach. In that same year, Riley acquired center Alonzo Mourning and point guard Tim Hardaway to serve as the centerpiece for the team, transforming Miami into a championship contender throughout the late 1990s. The 1996-1997 season was marked by a franchise record 61 wins and 21 losses; they achieved their first two postseason victories and made it to the Conference Finals, despite bowing out in five games. Their biggest rivals of the time were the New York Knicks, Riley's former team, who would eliminate the Heat in the first round from 1998 through 2000.
A period of mediocrity followed shortly thereafter, until shooting guard Dwyane Wade was drafted fifth overall by the Heat in 2003. In 2004, Shaquille O'Neal was traded to Miami from the Los Angeles Lakers, leading the team back to the Conference Finals in 2005, before losing to the Detroit Pistons in seven games.Upon returning to the Conference Finals in 2006, the Heat avenged their loss against the Pistons, winning the rematch 4-2. Entering the Finals for the first time against the Dallas Mavericks, the Heat fell behind an 0-2 series deficit, before taking the last four games and winning their first championship in 2006, with Wade earning the Finals MVP award. A four-year tenure of post-title struggles befell the Heat from 2007 through 2010, where they lost in the first round three out of four years, and failed to make the playoffs in 2008. Riley resigned as head coach, but retains his position as team president and general manager. Erik Spoelstra replaced Riley as the head coach, leading Miami to the postseason in his first four years.
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