Tim Hardaway says he, Alonzo Mourning and Pat Riley put the Miami Heat on the map

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Miami Heat legend Tim Hardaway recently reflected on his impact with the franchise after being named to the latest class of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Hardaway recently said that a trio of him, Alonzo Mourning and Pat Riley helped get the Heat’s name out there.

“We put the Miami Heat on the map and made them what Pat Riley wanted the Miami Heat to be,” Hardaway told the Sun Sentinel. “It started when I got traded there in February in ‘96.”

Both Mourning and Riley have already been recognized by the Hall of Fame for their own impacts on the game of basketball and are undoubtedly happy that Hardaway is getting honored in the same way.

Prior to the Heat’s acquisition of him, Hardaway had been benched by the Golden State Warriors. At the time of his benching, he was only 29 years old.

The acquisition of the five-time All-Star certainly paid off for the Heat, as Hardaway instantly became one of the team’s leaders and helped elevate the franchise.

The Heat had only made two playoff appearances before Hardaway, who was drafted with the 14th overall pick in the 1989 NBA Draft, arrived. The Heat were swept in three games by Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls during their first playoff appearance. Miami never missed the playoffs during Hardaway’s time with the team.

During his time with the Heat, Hardaway averaged 17.3 points, 3.2 rebounds and 7.8 assists per game while shooting 41.0 percent from the field and 35.6 percent from beyond the arc.

Riley is now the Heat’s president and has built a franchise that’s won three NBA titles since Hardaway finished out his career. However, Hardaway helped build the franchise’s foundation that still exists today.

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Brad Sullivan is a freelance writer for HeatNation.com, having been an avid fan of NBA basketball for more than four decades. During that time, he's watched the Heat evolve from gestation period to expansion team all the way to three-time NBA champions. He'll follow their quest toward again reaching those lofty heights, and do so by offering some perspective along the way.