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Could Cristiano Ronaldo help make Miami a sports hub?

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Could the presence of world famous athletes like Cristiano Ronaldo help the Miami Heat lure top basketball talent to AmericanAirlines Arena?

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Reports out of England has sports mega star Cristiano Ronaldo considering a move to Miami to join his friend David Beckham in starting up a MLS franchise. With luminaries Floyd Mayweather and Lewis Hamilton attending Miami Heat games, the presence of top-ten earning sports elite could help Pat Riley recruit basketball talent to his team, especially for those players who value the connections such icons may provide them.

Dwyane Wade mentioned on his "Inside The Heat" feature that while his playing days are winding down, his business dynasty has just begun. The trio of Wade, Chris Bosh and Amar'e Stoudemire realize their playing days are numbered, even if they are still capable of providing dominant performances this season. Their charismatic personalities, along with that of Riley, could lay a foundation of attracting top-tier talent for the next generation of Heat players.

Wade at his website, DwyaneWade.com, lists...

  • Li-Ning
  • Sandals Foundation
  • Wade's World Foundation
  • The Collection
  • Fanstang
  • Gatorade
  • Hublot
  • Mission
  • Naked
  • Pahlmeyer
  • Pepperidge Farms
  • The Tie Bar
  • Stance

...as organizations that he is actively engaged in. These alternative streams of income show how contracts are only part of a larger picture in accumulating wealth during a playing career. Add connections to personalities such Taylor Swift and Cristiano Ronaldo, the allure of being part of the Miami Heat family and its brand has more than a local interest, but a global reach.

Signing Stoudemire and Gerald Green for minimum contracts illustrates the persuasiveness the Miami Heat name has in basketball circles. This could be crucial during the very competitive bidding for free agents this upcoming summer and hopefully promises to keep championship caliber players on the Heat team and within budget.

Money may be the primary factor discussed in the media, but top-tier stars also want to maximize their sponsorship income as well. Miami is one of the select places that enhances an athlete's visibility and could provide access to high-profile connections who frequent the city and sometimes even Heat games. This cache that the Heat organization possess makes the current players try even harder to cement their place on the team and stay loyal to the organization.

Currently the Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs and Cleveland Cavaliers are the elite teams in the NBA. The notion that a sports figure of Cristiano Ronaldo's magnitude would consider moving to Miami, may influence some talented players in considering Miami, like the afore-mentioned duo, as a destination where an individual's lifetime earnings could be supplemented by non-basketball related income.