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The Miami Heat is a professional basketball team based in Miami, 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 American Airlines Arena. The team is owned by Micky Arison, coached by Erik Spoelstra and are managed by Basketball Hall of Fame coach Pat Riley.

The Heat were formed in 1988 as an expansion franchise along with the Charlotte Hornets. Since then, Miami has fielded squads that have made the playoffs 13 out of the 21 seasons, captured seven division titles and won the 2006 NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks 4–2. Miami has been the most successful of the four expansion teams brought into the league in 1988 and 1989 in terms on winning percentage.

During the boom period of the NBA of the 1980s the league sought to expand itself from 23 teams to 27 by the end of the decade. In Florida, a state devoid of any NBA franchises, groups from Orlando, Tampa/St. Petersburg and Miami all vied to land franchises.

The Miami Sports and Exhibition Authority eventually endorsed a group led by NBA Hall of Famer Billy Cunningham and former sports agent (and lifelong friend of Cunningham's) Lewis Schaffel, who received their financial backing from Carnival Cruise Lines founder Ted Arison, who would be majority owner. Day-to-day operations would be handled by minority shareholders Cunningham and Schaffel.

In April 1987, the NBA expansion committee endorsed the bids of the cities of Charlotte and Minneapolis. However, the committee was split between awarding the third and final franchise to Miami or Orlando, causing representatives from both cities to toss barbs at the other. Finally, it was decided that the NBA would expand by 4 teams, with the Charlotte Hornets and Miami Heat debuting for the 1988–89 season and the Minnesota Timberwolves and Orlando Magic beginning for the 1989–90 season.[1]

The Heat came into the NBA for the 1988–89 season with an unproductive first year, with a roster full of young players and journeymen. Among the players on the inaugural roster were first round picks Rony Seikaly and Kevin Edwards, fellow rookies Grant Long and Sylvester Gray as well as NBA vets Rory Sparrow, Jon Sundvold, Pat Cummings, Scott Hastings, Dwayne "Pearl" Washington and Billy Thompson. The team started out the season by losing its first 17 games, an NBA record. It did not help that the Heat were placed in the Midwest Division of the Western Conference, in defiance of all geographic reality. This forced them on the longest road trips in the NBA; their nearest divisional opponent was the Houston Rockets, over 900 miles from Miami. The team ultimately finished with a league-worst 15–67 win-loss record (second worst season in franchise history).

Original Heat logo used from 1988–1999To help address Miami's league-low point production, the Heat picked Glen Rice from the University of Michigan in the first round of the 1989 NBA Draft, and Sherman Douglas of Syracuse University in the 2nd round. The team also moved to the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference for the 1989–90 season, where they would remain for the next 15 years. However, the Heat continued to struggle and never won more than two consecutive games, en route to an 18–64 record.

The 1989–90 season saw Miami awarded with the 3rd pick overall, only to parlay via two trades (first with the Denver Nuggets and later with the Houston Rockets) into getting the 9th and 12th picks, with which they selected Willie Burton of the University of Minnesota and Alec Kessler of the University of Georgia. Both picks flopped, as the Heat tried to turn Burton, a college small forward, into a shooting guard without much success and Kessler was bogged by injury problems and was not physical enough to be a quality NBA power forward.

While Rice, Seikaly and Douglas all showed improvement from the previous year, Miami still only went 24–58 and remained in the Atlantic Division basement.

Rothstein would resign as head coach at the end of the season, but later would return to the Heat prior to the 2004-05 season as an assistant coach, a role he still fulfills today.

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miami_Heat) www.nba.com