February 23, 2020, the 2019-20 NBA regular season is in full swing. The Heat hosted the Cavaliers in today’s marquee battle in the East. During halftime of the game, the Heat held a No. 3 NBA jersey retirement ceremony for the team’s all-time legendary superstar Wade. During his time with the Heat, Wade led the Heat to the Finals five times, won the title three times and was elected FMVP once, while Wade is also the team’s all-time scoring leader and assists leader. In this way, Wade’s No. 3 jersey also became the sixth retired jersey in the history of the Heat. The previous 5 people had 4 Heat celebrities, respectively: Tim Hardaway, Mourning, O’Neal, Bosh.
So the question arises, who is the other retired jersey of the Heat? He is the great Michael Jordan. As we all know, Jordan is recognized as the first person in the history of the NBA. Jordan has played for the Bulls and Wizards in his career, won the NBA championship 6 times, was elected FMVP 6 times, was elected regular season MVP 5 times, 10 times NBA scoring champion, and 1 time NBA best defensive player. Whether it is honor or legendary, Jordan’s greatness cannot be surpassed. So here’s the question: Jordan never played for the Heat, so why did the Heat retire his No. 23 jersey?
In the 2002-03 season, Jordan celebrated his final season. During Jordan’s last visit to the American Airlines Center, the Heat held a jersey retirement ceremony for Jordan’s number 23 jersey. Pat Riley, who was the Heat’s general manager at the time, said, “In appreciation of your great accomplishments and impact not only in the NBA, but around the world, we decided to hang up the No. 23 jersey and no one will ever wear No. 23 in Miami again.” The Heat’s move to retire the jersey of a player who never played for the home team also set a precedent in NBA history, and no player or team has ever been able to do so again.
It is worth mentioning that in the summer of 2010, another great No. 23 player in NBA history joined the Heat, and he was LeBron James. As Jordan’s No. 23 jersey had been retired by the Heat, James had to choose his equally favorite No. 6 jersey. After that James had advocated that the entire league retire Jordan’s No. 23 jersey, but this suggestion was not adopted. After James left the Heat in 2014, James switched back to wearing the No. 23 jersey.
In addition, the Heat retired the No. 3 jersey of NFL Miami Dolphins legend Dan Marino. As a local Miami superstar, Marino is very influential. It is worth mentioning that after retiring the No. 3 jersey for Wade today, the Heat may also retire Haslem’s No. 40 jersey and James’ No. 6 jersey in the future.