Heat places seven players* among NBA's all-time Top 100 (*but how many are really ours?); plus Dolphins two-round mock draft, Riley's last push, your verdict on Shaq, The List (Marlins), chocolate bunny under siege & more
GREG COTE'S RANDOM EVIDENCE BLOG: MIAMI. SPORTS. AND BEYOND.
1) It is THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 11. In The Previous Blogpost: Should-Heat-retire-Shaq's-number poll, Miami Jackson's historic move, "Omahallelujah" (ode to Peyton), Super Bore 50, Canes' All-ACC brainiacs & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, Instagram, Vine and Periscope.
On Pat Riley's late-career imperative: Today's latest column by me is a reckoning of Pat Riley's career and Heat legacy as he nears his 71st birthday. I touch on the significance of his decision to retire Shaquille O'Neal's number and explore whether Riley has one last hurrah -- one more NBA title -- in him, and how his decision on Hassan Whiteside's future will weigh on that. Click on Riley's Last Push to read.
HEAT PLAYERS AMONG NBA'S ALL-TIME TOP 100, AND HOW MUCH OF THEM ARE "OURS": Lists-mad ESPN just named the NBA's all-time top 100 players (full list here) and seven of them (not bad!) have worn a Heat uniform. Here are the seven in order, and what percentage of their career NBA games (including playoffs) were or have been spent playing for Miami:
No. 3 LeBron James: 33.42% (and falling) -- James in 2010-14 played 381 games for Miami, of the 1,140 in career thus far.
No. 9 Shaquille O'Neal: 17.22% -- O'Neal played 245 games for Heat in 2004-07, of a career total of 1,423.
No. 27 Dwyane Wade: 100% -- D.Wade (pictured) has played all 983 of his career games, and counting, for Miami.
No. 45 Gary Payton: 11.69% -- Payton played 1,489 total games, and 174 were for the Heat to end his career in 2005-07.
No. 50 Ray Allen: 13.26% -- Allen ended career in Miami in 2012-14, playing 195 of his 1,471 total games for the Heat.
No. 65 Alonzo Mourning: 72.35% -- Zo played 675 of his 933 career games for Miami, in 1995-2002 and in 2004-08.
No. 86 Chris Bosh: 47.05% (and rising) -- With the Heat since 2010, Bosh as of now has played 462 of 982 career games for Miami.
Bottom line: Wade is all ours. Claiming rights to Zo are strong. Bosh will tip up over the 50% mark for Miami in the 2016 playoffs or early next season. And we had a substantial minority share of LeBron. The other three were glorified career rentals for Miami, although Shaq and Allen see their place in club history magnified by their role in winning a championship. Wade's 983 career games, by the way, rank sixth among active players who have played their entire career for one franchise, trailing only Tim Duncan/Spurs (1,610), Kobe Bryant/Lakers (1,545), Dirk Nowitzki/Mavericks (1,454), Tony Parker/Spurs (1,259) and Manu Ginobli/Spurs (1,095). Also of note: Three other Miami-related figures make ESPN's all-time top 100: No. 37 Rick Barry was of course one of the Miami Hurricanes' first stars; No. 52 Bob McAdoo was a Heat assistant coach in 1995-2014; and No. 88 Billy Cunningham was among the Heat's founding minority owners from 1988-94.
Poll result: Approval for retiring Shaq's jersey, but it's hardly overwhelming: Shaquille O'Neal remains a somewhat polarizing figure in Miami. We asked and 55.4 percent agreed with the Heat's decision to retire his No. 32 uniform number and raise it to the arena rafters. But another 38.3% said no, and the other 6.3% were undecided. Interestingly (at least to me), the percentages were running against Shaq when the poll started out in my blog only, but shifted in his favor when the poll began running concurrently elsewhere in MiamiHerald.com.
DOLPHINS' TWO-ROUND MOCK DRAFT: Via Sports Illustrated today, it is projected Miami's first-round draft pick in April at No. 8 overall will be Florida Gators cornerback Vernon Hargreaves, pictured (I could see that pick), and that the Dolphins' second-round pick (42nd overall) will be Kansas State guard/tackle Cody Whitehair. So there. Take that, Kiper!
THE LIST: MARLINS CAREER HOME-RUN LEADERS: To whet the appetite for spring training, for which Marlins players report late next week, here are the club's all-time Top 10 home run hitters:
Player Homers Years
Giancarlo Stanton 181 2010-current
Dan Uggla 154 2006-10
Hanley Ramirez 148 2006-12
Mike Lowell 143 1999-05
Miguel Cabrera 138 2003-07
Derrek Lee 129 1998-03
Gary Sheffield 122 1993-98
Jeff Conine 120 1993-97, '03-05
Cliff Floyd 110 1997-02
Preston Wilson 104 1998-02
Note: Marcell Ozuna, tied for 24th place with 36 homers, is second among active Marlins after Stanton.
BLASPHEMY! CHOCOLATE BUNNIES UNDER SIEGE: Not sure if this rises to the level meriting one of my "Back In My Day" radio-TV rants, but I find it mildly annoying nonetheless, and timely as Easter fast approaches. The bunny once stood alone in the animal kingdom when it came to chocolate treats for Easter. The Easter bunny! Now? As visual evidence presented here verifies, other chocolate animals -- in this case a sheep and a duckling, apparently -- are now infiltrating the bunny's holiday domain. Folks, I know there are greater, larger causes to get behind. Global warming, for example. But mustn't the small battles be fought, too? Reject as anti-American and perhaps anti-Christian those interloping, infiltrating chocolate animals that would blatantly denigrate a hallowed tradition. Stand with the chocolate Easter bunny!
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