The Athletic asked a collection of 31 NBA insiders to offer their opinions on the best and worst owners, with Ballmer finishing atop the list with 20.5 votes and Arison next with 14 votes. The makeup of the voters included 13 executives, 10 personnel from front offices, six scouts and a pair of coaches.
“Really with Boston and Miami, I think both of those owners do an unbelievable job,” an NBA agent said. “They have two people in Danny Ainge and Pat Riley who are two of the most respected executives ever but they let them do that. They never interfere … I think that speaks to just structure and an ownership group that is willing to listen to the people they hire and they trust. You see it all the time.”
Arison became the Heat’s majority shareholder in January 1995 and has had a tremendous run of success, highlighted by one of his sharpest moves, the recruitment of Pat Riley to run the team.
In the quarter-century since Arison has owned the team, the team has won three NBA titles and made six finals appearances. Over that span, the Heat have reached the postseason 19 times and have compiled a winning percentage of .568.
Stability when it comes to coaching has also been a trademark of the Arison era, with the Heat having just three head coaches over that lengthy span.
The Heat are coming off their latest finals appearance and have spent the short offseason striving to bolster the team for what would be a fourth title run. Given Arison’s track record, Heat fans should have confidence that winning it all again can be accomplished.