While Dwyane Wade is thought of as the best and most impactful player in Miami Heat history, there are a number of great players that called Miami home before the three-time NBA champ.
One such player is Tim Hardaway, who joined the Heat in the middle of the 1995-96 season and played with the team until 2001. He was a pivotal member of the Heat during that time and was named to two All-Star teams during his time in South Florida.
Hardaway recently discussed which accomplishment he is most proud of from his time with the Heat. It’s not the stats he put up that were impressive nor the postseason runs he enjoyed with the team. Instead, the accomplishment he feels most pride about has to do with helping turn Miami into a basketball town.
“The fans didn’t like basketball,” Hardaway told Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald. “We made them like basketball. We made them understand the game of basketball. They’re football fans, they’re soccer fans, they’re baseball fans. It wasn’t like, ‘Let’s go have some drinks and just go watch the Heat play.’ No. It was, ‘We’re going to watch the Heat play because they’re going to kick some [butt]. Let’s go watch these boys play. Let’s go cheer these guys on.’ That’s what I’m most proud of.”
It’s not all that shocking to think that Miami was not much of a basketball town when Hardaway joined the team in 1996. After all, the Heat franchise was not even a decade old at that time.
Since then, the franchise has become synonymous with the city and has also made a name for itself by being one of the most consistently competitive teams in the entire NBA. Hardaway believes that he helped put the organization on the right path.
Right now, the Heat are on the verge of solidifying their spot as the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. They look set to make a deep run in this year’s postseason.
Without a doubt, Hardaway will be rooting for his former team as it looks to win its fourth NBA title in franchise history.