The NBA Miami Heat basketball team plays in the Eastern Conference’s Southeast Division in the National Basketball Association. The Heat is based out of Miami, Florida and plays at the American Airlines Arena.
In 1988, the Heat and Charlotte Hornets joined the NBA as expansion teams. In 21 seasons, Miami has made it into the playoffs 13 times, has won their division title seven times, and also won the NBA Finals in 2006 versus the Dallas Mavericks.
In 1991, the Heat drafted Michigan guard Steve Smith. Led by Smith, Glen Rice and Rony Seikaly, the Heat came in fourth in their division and for the very first time made the playoffs. They were swept by the Chicago Bulls in three games. In 1993-94, the Hawks returned to the playoffs after going 42-40 for their first winning record. The Heat were defeated by the Atlanta Hawks in the first round.
Pat Riley was hired in 1995 to be the head coach of the Heat. Matt Geiger and Glen Rice were traded to the Hornets for Alonzo Mourning. Riley also acquired Walt Williams, Chris Gatling and Tim Hardaway. The Heat made it into the playoffs but were swept by the Bulls in the first round. The next season the Heat won the Atlantic Division for the first time and went 61-21. They defeated the New York Knicks in the playoffs but lost the Eastern Conference Finals to the Chicago Bulls. In 1997-98 and 1998-99, the Heat also lost to the Knicks in the playoffs.
In July 2004, the Heat acquired Shaquille O’Neal from the Los Angeles Lakers. Alonzo Mourning and Steve Smith also re-signed with the Heat. Miami went 59-23 and advanced to face the defending champion Detroit Pistons at the Eastern Conference Finals. However, the Pistons prevailed. In December 2005 Pat Riley once again became the Heat’s head coach. The Heat went 52-30 for the 2005-06 season. They defeated the Dallas Mavericks to win the NBA Championship.