All right, so the Miami Heat didn’t make the NBA playoffs. So they won only two NBA titles with the Big Three of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Can we back up just a minute now that it’s all over to savor what they did achieve?
Try this one for size. Miami played in four consecutive NBA Finals from 2011-14.
In the history of major professional sports on this continent, there have been only seven instances of a team reeling off a longer string of appearances in the league championship round.
In the NBA, the Boston Celtics made the Finals an astonishing 10 times in a row with Bill Russell, Bob Cousy, John Havlicek and other stars between 1957-66. No other run has ever topped Miami’s four NBA Finals in a row, though at different times the Lakers and the Celtics have matched the Heat.
In hockey, there have been three long strings of appearances in the Stanley Cup finals. The Montreal Canadiens got there 10 times in a row from 1951-60 and five times in a row from 1965-69. Also, the New York Islanders, an organization run by Bill Torrey of West Palm Beach, had a five-year run of Stanley Cup trips in the 1980s.
Baseball has two examples of a franchise topping Miami’s four-year run of championship appearances. The New York Yankees did it each time, going to five consecutive World Series from 1949-53 and showing up again five years in a row from 1960-64.
The Cleveland Browns made six consecutive trips to the NFL Championship game between 1950 and 1955, which is better than the Heat’s recent run of NBA Finals, but the Super Bowl has been a much tougher return gig.
No has ever topped Buffalo’s four consecutive appearances in the Super Bowl. The Miami Dolphins come next with three from 1971-73. Seattle could stretch it to three consecutive appearances if they get there again this year.
The Heat aren’t the greatest team in sports history and they won’t be any time soon but they sure had it going for a while there. We shouldn’t be too spoiled to see that.
And now a limerick to lighten the mood for South Florida fans missing that postseason buzz.
Ndamukong is quite a name, sure
Buy one vowel or two at your pleasure
With Suh on the roster
The Dolphins will prosper
And spelling bees aren’t what we’re here for