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Top 10 Miami Heat Moments of the 2010s: Part I

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Reminisce on some great moments in Heat history from the last decade.

Miami Heat Introduce LeBron James, Chris Bosh And Dwyane Wade Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images

To see Part II of this series, please click here.

A lot has happened to the Miami Heat this decade. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh convulsed the NBA when they signed with Miami. The Heat won two championships and went on a 27-game win streak — but also lost all three members of the Big Three and struggled to find a way forward (until now, it seems).

As we close the books on a decade, let’s take a look at the top 10 Miami Heat moments from 2010-2019.

10. Jimmy Butler signs with the Miami Heat

The Miami Heat were stuck in NBA purgatory — two trips to the lottery and just one playoff victory since the 2016-17 season. And due to some ill-advised contracts handed out in 2017, the Heat didn’t have any cap space going into the 2019 off-season.

The Heat had nearly traded for Jimmy Butler in October 2018, but the deal fell apart. ESPN’s Jorge Sedano reported that Pat Riley called Tom Thibodeau a certain unprintable word after Thibodeau demanded more draft picks in trade talks. (Riley denied using the word.) The Minnesota Timberwolves traded Butler to the Philadelphia 76ers, and it seemed like the Heat had missed their chance at landing Butler.

But just before free agency opened, some tweets from Butler and Dwyane Wade opened the door to a possibility.

The Heat executed a sign-and-trade that dealt Josh Richardson, Hassan Whiteside and a 2023 first-round pick for Butler and Meyers Leonard. It gave Miami their first in-his-prime superstar since LeBron James. And now, the Heat are one of five teams with 20 wins this season.

9. Dwyane Wade saves the Heat against the Charlotte Hornets — and Purple Shirt Guy

The Miami Heat traveled to Charlotte down 3-2 in their first-round series to the Hornets in 2016. Miami showed resilience with their backs against the wall, jumping out to a first-quarter lead. But in crunch time, Wade scored five points and had a key block to send the series to a Game 7. The three-time NBA champion also answered a Hornets fan in a purple shirt who mocked Wade court-side.

The Heat blew out Charlotte in Game 7. It remains the lone time the Heat advanced past the first round since LeBron James’ departure in 2014.

8. Wade returns to Miami to finish his career

The relationship between Wade and the Miami Heat hit its lowest point during the 2016 free agency period. The 2006 NBA Finals MVP wanted one final payday, but the Heat didn’t want to tie up money in a declining star. (They just spent money on Whiteside instead.) Wade signed with the Chicago Bulls, bringing a bitter end to Wade’s time in a Heat uniform.

In January 2018, Wade’s longtime agent Hank Thomas passed away. At the funeral, Pat Riley and Wade embraced.

“The hug that we embraced was real and it was all we needed,” Wade said of the brief encounter with Riley at the funeral. “That’s it. That’s all we both needed. I walked away and I felt better about everything, without even getting into anything.”

Miami traded for Wade the next week, giving the franchise’s best player the sendoff he deserves. In between then and his retirement in April 2019, Wade hit game-winners and put in a vintage playoff performance.

7. The Heat sign LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh

Stephen A. Smith tweeted on June 28, 2010 that LeBron James and Chris Bosh would join Wade in Miami. After days of speculation and free agency meetings, that happened.

The move inspired instant backlash. Michael Jordan said that he wanted to beat other superstars, not join them. Talking about the new NBA just two months ago, Kobe Bryant said, “I like my rings the hard way.” But Miami’s free agency coup changed the NBA, with stars now using free agency to team up with each other. It’s no secret that the Heat will look to recapture their 2010 success in 2021.

6. Heat win 27 straight games

Sit back and enjoy.

To see Part II of this series, please click here.