Miami Mount Rushmore of Sports activities: Dan Marino, Dwyane Wade, Bob Griese, Alonzo Mourning voted better of one of the best

The SN Rushmore venture named 4 professional athletes from the 13 cities which have had no less than 4 of the next 5 leagues represented for no less than 20 years – NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, WNBA. Whereas there have been no hard-and-fast guidelines pertaining to the athletes chosen, our panel of specialists thought of particular person resumes, workforce success and legacy inside the sports activities panorama of every metropolis. A number of gamers from the identical franchise have been allowed, and never each franchise wanted to be represented. All sports activities followers have an opinion on this matter. That is ours.

Miami is the guts of the South Florida professional sports activities scene. It’s been simply in need of 30 years since MLB’s Marlins and NHL’s Panthers gave the recent spot illustration in all the “large 4.”

Earlier than 1993, the Dolphins dominated the scene for 30 years. The Warmth got here alongside in 1988 and finally developed right into a South Seashore model of “Showtime”, main as much as the height years with LeBron James and offering town with an finish to its championship drought with a number of rings.

MORE: See The Sporting Information Rushmore of all 13 cities

When deciding on what professional athletes ought to be on Miami’s Mount Rushmore, that made it simpler for Sporting Information’ panel of specialists to lean towards a 1-2 punch of soccer and basketball.

Beloved Corridor of Famers Dan Marino and Bob Griese are nonetheless the usual in opposition to whom Dolphins quarterbacks who got here after them are measured. Though there have been many robust defensive candidates from through the years, topped by edge rusher extraordinaire Jason Taylor, two QBs have been deemed to be the correct representatives from town’s most enduring workforce.

As for the Warmth, though James loved 4 spectacular prime seasons with them, stamped by two NBA MVPs and two NBA titles and two extra Japanese Convention titles, his time in Miami was thought of just a little too brief to get on town’s Mount Rushmore. That made his former famous person teammate, Dwyane Wade, the first alternative from the franchise.

With James and different short-term total greats equivalent to Shaquille O’Neal out of the combination, the second Warmth participant needed to be Alonzo Mourning over many others, given the large man’s large contributions on the courtroom and in the neighborhood. Very similar to Marino and Griese have been an extension of Don Shula, Mourning being tied to Pat Riley’s indelible mark in Miami additionally performed an enormous issue.

Native sports activities skilled Omar Kelly, NFL columnist for the South Florida Solar-Sentinel, agreed it was troublesome to stability the Dolphins’ long-time foothold on town and the Warmth’s scorching emergence with the followers’ emotions on the newer baseball and hockey groups.

“For many years, we had solely the Dolphins and the Miami Hurricanes. Then the Warmth got here alongside as an enlargement franchise, so did the Florida/Miami Marlins after which the Panthers. We even have a really large transplant group,” Kelly stated.

“While you speak in regards to the hard-core followers, these are folks born and bred right here and individuals who suffered by way of these lean years the place you needed to speak in regards to the Dolphins and Hurricanes year-round, versus the newcomers who benefited from having 4 main sports activities franchises.”

When debating a alternative for both of the 2 Dolphins or two Warmth gamers, different Dolphins and Warmth gamers obtained SN consideration vs. high Marlins (Jeff Conine) and Panthers (Roberto Luongo).

DAN MARINO (Dolphins, 1983-1999)

Marino was the final quarterback taken within the first spherical from the storied 1983 NFL Draft class. The Dolphins noticed the Colts, Chiefs and the remainder of the AFC East — the Payments, Patriots and Jets — all take QBs earlier than their flip at No. 28 total. Of those that have been taken earlier than Marino, John Elway and Jim Kelly additionally ended up within the Professional Soccer Corridor of Fame.

Earlier than Elway and Kelly obtained to a number of Tremendous Bowls, Marino owned the early ‘80s because the AFC counterpart to Joe Montana. He captivated the Dolphins devoted with a direct splash as a younger gun out of Pitt, beginning to exhibit his large arm and prolific downfield passing as soon as he displaced David Woodley as a rookie.

By 12 months 2, Marino already was anointed a neighborhood legend. At solely 23, he led the league in makes an attempt, completions, passing yards, passer ranking, yards per try and a then-record 48 landing passes, shattering the earlier mark by 10. Marino’s MVP-worthy season lifted the workforce right into a Tremendous Bowl XIX look in opposition to Montana’s 49ers.

Though Marino would by no means win one other AFC championship for Miami, he continued to select aside defenses for a decade. In 1985, he was the one QB to resolve the mighty, Tremendous Bowl-shuffling Bears in an epic Monday night time efficiency. Marino saved lighting it up together with his gifted receivers through the years, highlighted by go-to guys Mark Duper and Mark Clayton.

Marino’s Dolphins delivered in Shula’s final teaching wave with a slew of successful seasons. His widespread play was certain to make him a crossover superstar, from his iconic Isotoner glove commercials to his hilarious flip in “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.”

“There’s no query about his spot on Mount Rushmore. It was his greatness on the sector, pre-Achilles damage that actually cemented him, even when he had by no means performed once more,” Kelly says.

From his rookie season in 1983 to struggling that Achilles’ tear in October 1993, Marino didn’t miss a begin. He nonetheless recovered from that devastation to make two extra Professional Bowls and stay the unquestioned chief of the workforce. By the point age and put on lastly totally caught as much as him, Marino might stroll away figuring out he gave every thing he might on the sector in 17 seasons in Miami, even with out that elusive ring. Dolphins diehards revered his toughness and expertise alike and he’s nonetheless the primary face one thinks of beneath their basic helmets.

“The broadcasting profession, the truth that he nonetheless has roots right here and works for the Dolphins group, all of these issues performed a component. That was the best layup,” Kelly says. “He already does have a statue … and now Dwyane Wade is due one in entrance of the Warmth’s enviornment.”

Marino By The Numbers
All-Professional First Staff 3
NFL MVPs 1
Professional Bowls 9
Instances main NFL in passing yards  5
Instances main NFL in passing TDs 3
Tremendous Bowl appearances 1

TSN ARCHIVES: Dan Marino is Fairly a QB (Jan. 9, 1984)

DWYANE WADE (Warmth, 2003-16, 2018-19)

As some reminiscences of Marino have pale for the newer generations, one other loveable participant made his huge mark on Miami a few a long time later. What Magic and Kobe have been to the Lakers within the trendy period, Wade was to the Warmth.

When James made his calculated determination to play for Miami, it was to affix Wade and construct on the established championship pedigree from the 2006 NBA Finals upset of the Mavericks. Wade earned the respect of James and everybody else within the NBA because the consummate skilled with excellence on either side of the ground, unselfish play, and easy scoring strikes.

Wade parlayed his work within the mid-2000s to a particular run with James within the 2010s, including repeat rings in 2012 and 2013. Like Marino, his longevity because the centerpiece deserved to be etched in stone. Not like Marino, Wade additionally gave his sports activities metropolis three causes to have a good time with long-deserving parades, together with one other repeat for Riley.

“I’d put him forward of Dan Marino as a result of (he) gained championships, plural in two completely different eras for 2 completely different generations,” Kelly stated. “I do know it gained’t be a preferred opinion as a result of soccer is king down right here, however Wade most likely deserves the primary spot.”

Wade grew up in Chicago idolizing Michael Jordan and left to play for the Bulls earlier than reuniting with James in Cleveland in the course of his profession. The actual fact Wade got here again house to Miami to complete his time within the NBA spoke volumes about the place his coronary heart really lay.

Warmth followers ought to all the time be glad about that.

Placing his stats apart — together with being the main scorer in franchise historical past — Wade’s intangibles have been his most touching moments in Miami.

Wade By The Numbers
NBA Titles 3
NBA Finals MVP 1
All-NBA 8
All-Defensive workforce 3
NBA scoring title 1
All-Star Recreation picks 13
All-Star Recreation MVPs 1

TSN ARCHIVES: Dwyane Wade, Miami ‘ceaselessly going to be my house’ (April 10, 2019)

BOB GRIESE (Dolphins, 1967-80)

Griese-Obama-Shula-111715-Getty-FTR.jpg

The Dolphins had many basic and trendy candidates to affix Marino in representing their greatest, however when inspecting different offensive gamers and several other defensive stars. Griese stood out as one other acquainted face to grace Miami’s final sports activities sculpture.

Griese got here out of Purdue and rapidly got here into his personal, rocketing into stardom not lengthy after the launch of his professional franchise. He was key in serving to the Dolphins make a profitable transition from the AFL to the NFL, together with his on-field management bridging towards the start of the Shula period, very similar to Marino stamped the tip of the coach’s tenure.

Not like Marino, Griese made a lot of his presence often called a gritty gamer extra so than a prolific passer. The Dolphins’ dynastic outcomes with Griese can’t be denied, as they grew to become synonymous with the Steelers and Raiders as AFC royalty within the Nineteen Seventies.

Griese was forward of his time together with his cerebral command of the sport, being trusted by Shula to name his personal performs. It was applicable how a lot Griese gained whereas carrying No. 12, establishing Marino to make jersey No. 13 simply as particular in Dolphins lore not lengthy after him.

For his run-heavy, defensive-minded period, Griese’s clutch play popped greater than his numbers (although he was first-team All-Professional twice) and nearly 50 years later, the Dolphins are nonetheless chasing his championship time with the workforce.

Griese’s voice has endured together with his long-time work with ABC and ESPN calling among the greatest school soccer video games. Since he retired from that nationwide highlight in 2011, he’s been a fixture once more in Miami. His legacy as a Dolphin and tv analyst carried over to his quarterbacking son with whom he has a particular bond, Brian.

“Most individuals beneath 40 know Bob Griese extra as a broadcaster than a participant,” Kelly says.

Wanting again at Griese’s profession, stat-crazed children could be left to marvel what all he meant to Miami. Watching his highlights after which asking these from the previous and current about him will present the definitive reply.

Griese By The Numbers
Tremendous Bowl wins 2
Tremendous Bowl appearances 3
All-Professional First-Staff 2
Professional Bowls 6
Instances main NFL in passing TD 1
Instances main NFL in completion proportion 1
Years broadcasting school and NFL video games 35

TSN ARCHIVES: Bob Griese Routs Rivals as AFC Participant of 12 months (Jan. 22, 1972)

ALONZO MOURNING (Warmth, 1995-02, 2005-08)

When taking a look at Warmth historical past past Wade, there’s the brief however good in James and the lengthy and regular in Udonis Haslem. However in relation to wanting on the man in the course of beginning all of it, it’s Mourning over town’s different aggressive cagers.

“Zo” didn’t begin his profession in Miami. He was taken No. 2 total by Charlotte within the 1992 NBA Draft out of Georgetown. He began off nicely as a Hornet, however a blockbuster commerce to the Warmth forward of the 1996 draft was fortuitous. The transfer paired Mourning with Riley because the latter’s up to date model of Kareem. Along with his scoring, rebounding and shot-blocking, Mourning was the focal point for elite groups within the Japanese Convention, solely to fall in need of a championship early due to the Bulls’ dynasty and Knicks’ nastiness.

When Mourning left Miami for New Jersey in 2003, he was met with the largest adversity of his NBA profession, a kidney illness that nearly compelled him to retire for good. When his comeback try and regain a key position pale with the Nets and he was dealt to the Raptors, he in the end determined Miami was greatest for him and his household. The Warmth have been there for him once more.

MORE: A dissenting voice: Peak LeBron James made a Rushmore-like mark on Miami

Mourning was rejuvenated in Miami by backing up and supporting O’Neal. He began 66 video games when O’Neal wasn’t obtainable in three-plus overlap seasons with Shaq and was a key rotational participant within the Warmth’s playoff runs. Mourning accepted doing the soiled work to enrich Wade and was rewarded with the long-awaited lone championship of his profession, additionally the primary in Warmth historical past.

Mourning grinded and gave all he might together with his older beat-up physique, which was simply as spectacular as his early stat-sheet stuffing. He had Wade’s again within the 2006 Finals and he ended up behind solely Wade on Miami’s all-time NBA scoring listing.

Very similar to Wade, regardless of completely different stops, Mourning’s Corridor of Fame coronary heart was most at house in Miami.

He obtained the last word honor rapidly after hanging it up for good in 2009. The franchise, metropolis, state and his Georgetown prolonged household have been all there in full power as Mourning’s No. 33 was the primary jersey quantity retired in Warmth historical past forward of Wade and several other others. It’s no shock the long-term feeling was mutual between Mourning and Miami, as he adopted Riley right into a front-office job to maintain him working for his beloved workforce.

“Mourning was an important participant and presence,” Kelly says. “He does have a management position with the Warmth to at the present time.”

Mourning By The Numbers
NBA Titles 1
NBA Defensive Participant of the 12 months 2
All-Star Recreation appearances 7
Instances main NBA in blocks 2
J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award 1
USA Basketball Male Athlete of the 12 months 1

TSN ARCHIVES: Alonzo Mourning’s anxious days (Oct. 16, 2000)

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