New York Yankees
The New York Yankees are an American professional baseball team based in the New York City borough of the Bronx. The Yankees compete in Major League Baseball as a member club of the American League East division, they are one of two major league clubs based in New York City, the other being the New York Mets of the National League. In the 1901 season, the club began play in the AL as the Baltimore Orioles. Frank Farrell and Bill Devery purchased the franchise and moved it to New York City, renaming the club the New York Highlanders; the Highlanders were renamed the Yankees in 1913. The team is owned by Yankee Global Enterprises, an LLC controlled by the family of the late George Steinbrenner, who purchased the team in 1973. Brian Cashman is the team's general manager, Aaron Boone is the team's field manager; the team's home games were played at the original Yankee Stadium from 1923 to 1973 and from 1976 to 2008. In 1974 and 1975, the Yankees shared Shea Stadium with the Mets, in addition to the New York Jets, New York Giants.
In 2009, they moved into a new ballpark of the same name after the previous facility was closed and demolished. The team is perennially among the leaders in MLB attendance; as arguably the most successful sports club in the United States, the Yankees have won 40 AL pennants, 27 World Series championships, all of which are MLB records. The Yankees have won more titles than any other franchise in the four major North American sports leagues. Forty-four Yankees players and eleven Yankees managers have been inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, including Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford. In pursuit of winning championships, the franchise has used a large payroll to attract talent during the Steinbrenner era. According to Forbes, the Yankees are the second highest valued sports franchise in the United States and the fifth in the world, with an estimated value of $4 billion; the Yankees have garnered enormous popularity and a dedicated fanbase, as well as widespread enmity from fans of other MLB teams.
The team's rivalry with the Boston Red Sox is one of the most well-known rivalries in U. S. sports. From 1903-2018, the Yankees overall win-loss record is 10275-7781. In 1900, Ban Johnson, the president of a minor league known as the Western League, changed the Western League name to the American League and asked the National League to classify it as a major league. Johnson held that his league would operate in friendly terms with the National league, but the National league ridiculed the plan. Johnson declared official major league status for his league in 1901. Plans to add a team in New York City were blocked by the NL's New York Giants. A team was instead placed in Baltimore, Maryland in 1901. Between 1901 and 1903, many players and coaches on the Orioles roster jumped to the Giants. In January 1903, a "peace conference" was held between the two leagues to settle disputes and try to coexist. At the conference, Johnson requested that an AL team be put in New York, to play alongside the NL's Giants.
It was put to a vote, 15 of the 16 major league owners agreed on it. The Orioles' new owners, Frank J. Farrell and William S. Devery moved the team to New York in 1903; the team's new ballpark, Hilltop Park, was constructed in one of Upper Manhattan's highest points—between 165th and 168th Streets. The team was named the New York Highlanders. Fans believed the name was chosen because of the team's elevated location in Upper Manhattan, or as a nod to team president Joseph Gordon's Scottish-Irish heritage; the team was referred to as the New York Americans. The team was referred to as the "Invaders" in the Evening Journal. New York Press Sports Editor Jim Price coined the unofficial nickname Yankees for the club as early as 1904, because it was easier to fit in headlines; the Highlanders finished second in the AL in 1904, 1906, 1910. In 1904, they lost the deciding game to the Boston Americans, who became the Boston Red Sox; that year, Highlander pitcher Jack Chesbro set the single-season wins record at 41.
At this time there was no formal World Series agreement wherein the AL and NL winners would play each other. The original Polo Grounds burned down in 1911 and the Highlanders shared Hilltop Park with the Giants during a two-month renovation period. From 1913 to 1922, the Highlanders shared the Polo Grounds with the Giants. While playing at the Polo Grounds, the name "Highlanders" fell into disuse among the press. In 1913 the team became known as the New York Yankees. By the middle of the decade, Yankees owners Farrell and Devery had become estranged and in need of money. At the start of 1915, they sold the team to Colonel Jacob Ruppert, a brewer, Captain Tillinghast L'Hommedieu Huston, a contractor-engineer. All the games of the 1921 and 1922 World Series were played in the Polo Grounds, when the Yankees squared off against their intracity rivals, the Giants. In the years around 1920, the Yankees, the Red Sox, the Chicago White Sox had a détente; the trades between the three ballclubs antagonized Ban Johnson and garnered the teams the nickname "The Insurrectos".
This détente paid off well for the Yankees. Most new players who contributed to the team's success came from the Red Sox, whose owner, Harry Frazee, was trading them for large sums of money to finance his theatrical productions. Pitcher-turned-outfielder Babe Ruth was the most talented of all the acquisition
National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum
The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is an American history museum and hall of fame, located in Cooperstown, New York, operated by private interests. It serves as the central point for the study of the history of baseball in the United States and beyond, displays baseball-related artifacts and exhibits, honors those who have excelled in playing and serving the sport; the Hall's motto is "Preserving History, Honoring Excellence, Connecting Generations." The word Cooperstown is used as shorthand for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum to Canton for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. The Hall of Fame was established in 1939 by the owner of a local hotel. Clark had sought to bring tourists to a city hurt by the Great Depression, which reduced the local tourist trade, Prohibition, which devastated the local hops industry. A new building was constructed, the Hall of Fame was dedicated on June 12, 1939; the erroneous claim that Civil War hero Abner Doubleday invented baseball in Cooperstown was instrumental in the early marketing of the Hall.
An expanded library and research facility opened in 1994. Dale Petroskey became the organization's president in 1999. In 2002, the Hall launched Baseball As America, a traveling exhibit that toured ten American museums over six years; the Hall of Fame has since sponsored educational programming on the Internet to bring the Hall of Fame to schoolchildren who might not visit. The Hall and Museum completed a series of renovations in spring 2005; the Hall of Fame presents an annual exhibit at FanFest at the Major League Baseball All-Star Game. Jeff Idelson replaced Petroskey as president on April 16, 2008, he had been acting as president since March 25, 2008, when Petroskey was forced to resign for having "failed to exercise proper fiduciary responsibility" and making "judgments that were not in the best interest of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum." Among baseball fans, "Hall of Fame" means not only the museum and facility in Cooperstown, New York, but the pantheon of players, umpires and pioneers who have been enshrined in the Hall.
The first five men elected were Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, Christy Mathewson and Walter Johnson, chosen in 1936. As of January 2018, 323 people had been elected to the Hall of Fame, including 226 former Major League Baseball players, 35 Negro league baseball players and executives, 22 managers, 10 umpires, 30 pioneers and organizers. 114 members of the Hall of Fame have been inducted posthumously, including four who died after their selection was announced. Of the 35 Negro league members, 29 were inducted posthumously, including all 24 selected since the 1990s; the Hall of Fame includes Effa Manley. The newest members elected on January 22, 2019, are players Edgar Martínez, Roy Halladay, Mike Mussina and Mariano Rivera, with Rivera becoming the first player to be elected unanimously. Players are inducted into the Hall of Fame through election by either the Baseball Writers' Association of America, or the Veterans Committee, which now consists of four subcommittees, each of which considers and votes for candidates from a separate era of baseball.
Five years after retirement, any player with 10 years of major league experience who passes a screening committee is eligible to be elected by BBWAA members with 10 years' membership or more who have been covering MLB at any time in the 10 years preceding the election. From a final ballot including 25–40 candidates, each writer may vote for up to 10 players. Any player named on 75% or more of all ballots cast is elected. A player, named on fewer than 5% of ballots is dropped from future elections. In some instances, the screening committee had restored their names to ballots, but in the mid-1990s, dropped players were made permanently ineligible for Hall of Fame consideration by the Veterans Committee. A 2001 change in the election procedures restored. Players receiving 5% or more of the votes but fewer than 75% are reconsidered annually until a maximum of ten years of eligibility. Under special circumstances, certain players may be deemed eligible for induction though they have not met all requirements.
Addie Joss was elected despite only playing nine seasons before he died of meningitis. Additionally, if an otherwise eligible player dies before his fifth year of retirement that player may be placed on the ballot at the first election at least six months after his death. Roberto Clemente's induction in 1973 set the precedent when the writers chose to put him up for consideration after his death on New Year's Eve, 1972; the five-year waiting period was established in 1954 after an evolutionary process. In 1936 all players were eligible, including active ones. From the 1937 election until the 1945 election, there was no waiting period, so any retired player was eligible, but writers were discouraged from voting for current major leaguers. Since there was no formal rule preventing a writer from casting a ballot for an active player, the scribes did not always comply with the informal guideline.
In sports broadcasting, a sports commentator gives a running commentary of a game or event in real time during a live broadcast, traditionally delivered in the historical present tense. Radio was the first medium for sports broadcasts, radio commentators must describe all aspects of the action to listeners who cannot see it for themselves. In the case of televised sports coverage, commentators are presented as a voiceover, with images of the contest shown on viewers' screens and sounds of the action and spectators heard in the background. Television commentators are shown on screen during an event, though some networks choose to feature their announcers on camera either before or after the contest or during breaks in the action; the main commentator called the play-by-play announcer or commentator in North America, blow-by-blow in combat sports coverage or lap-by-lap for motorsports coverage, is the primary speaker on the broadcast. Broadcasters in this role are valued for their articulateness and for their ability to describe each play or event of an fast-moving sporting event.
The ideal play-by-play voice has a vocal timbre, tolerable to hear over the multiple hours of a sports broadcast and yet dynamic enough to convey and enhance the importance of the in-game activity. Because of their skills, some commentators like Al Michaels in the U. S. David Coleman in the UK and Bruce McAvaney in Australia, may have careers in which they call several different sports at one time or another. Other main commentators may, only call one sport; the vast majority of play-by-play announcers are male. Radio and television play-by-play techniques involve different approaches, it is unusual to have radio and television broadcasts share the same play-by-play commentator for the same event, except in cases of low production budgets or when a broadcaster is renowned. The analyst or color commentator provides expert analysis and background information, such as statistics, strategy on the teams and athletes, anecdotes or light humor, they are former athletes or coaches in their respective sports, although there are some exceptions.
The term "color" refers to insight provided by analyst. The most common format for a sports broadcast is to have an analyst/color commentator work alongside the main/play-by-play announcer. An example is NBC Sunday Night Football in the United States, called by color commentator Cris Collinsworth, a former American football receiver, play-by-play commentator Al Michaels, a professional announcer. In the United Kingdom, there is a much less distinct division between play-by-play and color commentary, although two-man commentary teams feature an enthusiast with formal journalistic training but little or no competitive experience leading the commentary, an expert former competitor following up with analysis or summary. There are however exceptions to this — most of the United Kingdom's leading cricket and snooker commentators are former professionals in their sports, while the former Formula One racing commentator Murray Walker had no formal journalistic training and only limited racing experience of his own.
In the United States, George "Pat" Summerall, a former professional kicker, spent most of his broadcasting career as a play-by-play announcer. Although the combination of a play-by-play announcer and a color commentator is standard as of 2014, in the past it was much more common for a broadcast to have no analysts and just have a single play-by-play announcer to work alone. Vin Scully, longtime announcer for the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team, was one of the few examples of this practice lasting into the 21st century until he retired in 2016. A sideline reporter assists a sports broadcasting crew with sideline coverage of the playing field or court; the sideline reporter makes live updates on injuries and breaking news or conducts player interviews while players are on the field or court because the play-by-play broadcaster and color commentator must remain in their broadcast booth. Sideline reporters are granted inside information about an important update, such as injury, because they have the credentials necessary to do so.
In cases of big events, teams consisting of many sideline reporters are placed strategically so that the main commentator has many sources to turn to. In motorsports, it is typical for there to be multiple pit reporters, covering the event from along pit road, their responsibilities will include covering breaking news trackside, interviewing crew chiefs and other team leaders about strategy, commentating on pit stops from along the pit wall. In British sports broadcasting, the presenter of a sports broadcast is distinct from the commentator, based in a remote broadcast television studio away from the sports venue. In North America, the on-air personality based in the studio is called the studio host. During their shows, the presenter/studio host may be joined by additional analysts or pundits when showing highlights of various other matches. Various sports may have different commentator
Michael Jeffrey Jordan known by his initials, MJ, is an American former professional basketball player, the principal owner and chairman of the Charlotte Hornets of the National Basketball Association. He played 15 seasons in the NBA for the Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards, his biography on the official NBA website states: "By acclamation, Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time." He was one of the most marketed athletes of his generation and was considered instrumental in popularizing the NBA around the world in the 1980s and 1990s. Jordan played three seasons for coach Dean Smith at the University of North Carolina; as a freshman, he was a member of the Tar Heels' national championship team in 1982. Jordan joined the Bulls in 1984 as the third overall draft pick, he emerged as a league star and entertained crowds with his prolific scoring. His leaping ability, demonstrated by performing slam dunks from the free throw line in Slam Dunk Contests, earned him the nicknames Air Jordan and His Airness.
He gained a reputation for being one of the best defensive players in basketball. In 1991, he won his first NBA championship with the Bulls, followed that achievement with titles in 1992 and 1993, securing a "three-peat". Although Jordan abruptly retired from basketball before the beginning of the 1993–94 NBA season, started a new career in Minor League Baseball, he returned to the Bulls in March 1995 and led them to three additional championships in 1996, 1997, 1998, as well as a then-record 72 regular-season wins in the 1995–96 NBA season. Jordan retired for a second time in January 1999, but returned for two more NBA seasons from 2001 to 2003 as a member of the Wizards. Jordan's individual accolades and accomplishments include six NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Awards, ten scoring titles, five MVP Awards, ten All-NBA First Team designations, nine All-Defensive First Team honors, fourteen NBA All-Star Game selections, three All-Star Game MVP Awards, three steals titles, the 1988 NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award.
He holds the NBA records for highest career regular season scoring average and highest career playoff scoring average. In 1999, he was named the greatest North American athlete of the 20th century by ESPN, was second to Babe Ruth on the Associated Press' list of athletes of the century. Jordan is a two-time inductee into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, having been enshrined in 2009 for his individual career, again in 2010 as part of the group induction of the 1992 United States men's Olympic basketball team, he became a member of the FIBA Hall of Fame in 2015. Jordan is known for his product endorsements, he fueled the success of Nike's Air Jordan sneakers, which were introduced in 1984 and remain popular today. Jordan starred as himself in the 1996 film Space Jam. In 2006, he became part-owner and head of basketball operations for the Charlotte Bobcats, bought a controlling interest in 2010. In 2014, Jordan became the first billionaire player in NBA history, he is the third-richest African-American, behind Robert F. Oprah Winfrey.
Jordan was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Deloris, who worked in banking, James R. Jordan Sr. an equipment supervisor. His family moved to Wilmington, North Carolina. Jordan is the fourth of five children, he has two older brothers, Larry Jordan and James R. Jordan, Jr. one older sister and one younger sister, Roslyn. Jordan's brother James retired in 2006 as the Command Sergeant Major of the 35th Signal Brigade of the XVIII Airborne Corps in the U. S. Army. Jordan attended Emsley A. Laney High School in Wilmington, where he highlighted his athletic career by playing basketball and football, he tried out for the varsity basketball team during his sophomore year, but at 5'11", he was deemed too short to play at that level. His taller friend, Harvest Leroy Smith, was the only sophomore to make the team. Motivated to prove his worth, Jordan became the star of Laney's junior varsity team, tallied several 40-point games; the following summer, he trained rigorously. Upon earning a spot on the varsity roster, Jordan averaged more than 25 points per game over his final two seasons of high school play.
As a senior, he was selected to play in the 1981 McDonald's All-American Game and scored 30 points, after averaging 27 points, 12 rebounds and 6 assists per game for the season. Jordan was recruited by numerous college basketball programs, including Duke, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. In 1981, Jordan accepted a basketball scholarship to North Carolina, where he majored in cultural geography; as a freshman in coach Dean Smith's team-oriented system, he was named ACC Freshman of the Year after he averaged 13.4 ppg on 53.4% shooting. He made the game-winning jump shot in the 1982 NCAA Championship game against Georgetown, led by future NBA rival Patrick Ewing. Jordan described this shot as the major turning point in his basketball career. During his three seasons at North Carolina, he averaged 17.7 ppg on 54.0% shooting, added 5.0 rpg. He was selected by consensus to the NCAA All-American First Team in both his sophomore and junior seasons. After winning the Naismith and the Wooden College Player of the Year awards in 1984, Jordan left North Carolina one year before his scheduled graduation to enter the 1984 NBA draft.
The Chicago Bulls selected Jordan after Hakeem Olajuwon and Sam Bowie. One of the primary reasons why Jordan was not drafted
The NBA Finals is the championship series of the National Basketball Association. The Eastern and Western conference champions play a best-of-seven game series to determine the league champion; the winners of the Finals are awarded the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy, which replaced the Walter A. Brown Trophy in 1983; the series was known as the BAA Finals prior to the 1949–50 season when the Basketball Association of America merged with the National Basketball League to form the NBA. The competition oversaw further name changes to NBA World Championship Series from 1950 to 1985, as well as a brief stint as the Showdown, before settling on NBA Finals in 1986; the NBA Finals was structured to harbor a 2-2-1-1-1 format. In 1985, it was changed to a 2–3–2 format to ease the amount of cross country travel until 2013, where the first two and last two games of the series were played at the arena of the team who earned home-court advantage by having the better record during the regular season. In 2014, the 2–2–1–1–1 format was restored.
The first two are played at home for the higher-seeded team, the following two at the home of the lower-seeded team. The following three are played at each team's home arena alternately. A total of 18 franchises have won the NBA Finals, with the Golden State Warriors the current champion; the Boston Celtics hold the record for the most victories, having won the competition 17 times, as well as winning the competition the most times in a row, winning it eight times from 1959 to 1966. The Los Angeles Lakers have contested the NBA Finals the most times, with 31 appearances; the Eastern Conference has provided the most champions, with 38 wins from ten franchises. The Boston Celtics went 11–1 in the NBA Finals during 13 seasons, they won eight straight NBA championships from 1959 through 1966. This period marks the largest stretch of seasons that a single team made up over 65% of Finals appearances, includes the only time the NBA Finals was decided in double overtime. With the establishment of the Celtics dynasty in 1957 spearheaded by center Bill Russell, the team saw great success, only encountering difficulty when up against teams led by Wilt Chamberlain.
However, for most of the late 1950s and 1960s, the Celtics and Russell managed to have an upper hand on Chamberlain's teams. In 1964, who had moved to the state of California alongside his team, led the San Francisco Warriors to a Western Conference championship, but again failed to conquer the Celtics; the following season, he returned to the Eastern Conference to join the Philadelphia 76ers, who were the former Syracuse Nationals that had relocated to the city to cover the vacancy created with the departure of the Warriors. The first clash between the two stars in the playoffs was in 1966, with Boston winning the series 4–1. In the following season, Philadelphia coach Alex Hannum instructed Chamberlain to provide an increased focus on playing a team game, to avoid drawing the double-teams that troubled Chamberlain during the Finals; this tactical change brought the team to a new record of 68 wins the following season, as well as defeating the Celtics before winning the Finals. In 1968, Boston overcame a 3–1 deficit against Philadelphia to once again arrive in the Finals.
They went on to defeat the Los Angeles Lakers in the Finals to again become NBA Champions. In 1969, the Celtics faced great difficulty entering the postseason, as they had an aging team and multiple injuries to a number of players, they qualified for the playoffs as the fourth and final seed in the East, while the Lakers, who had added Chamberlain in the offseason to join stars Jerry West and Elgin Baylor. The Lakers won the West and were prohibitive favorites to become Champions for the first time since relocating to Los Angeles. Despite holding a 2-1 advantage going into Game 4, the Lakers led 87–86 and had the ball with 10 seconds to play, but after a turnover, Sam Jones scored tying the series. The series was tied 3-3 going into Game 7 in Los Angeles, with Lakers owner Jack Cooke hanging balloons in the arena in anticipation of a Lakers victory. West picked up injuries to his thigh and hamstring during the series, returned to play for the final game. Russell utilized this newly lacking mobility in West to organize fast breaks at every opportunity for the Celtics, which allowed them to gain an early lead.
They held off a furious Lakers comeback to win 108–106 and win the series, win their eleventh championship in 13 years. As many stars either declined or retired following this win, it is recognized as the last NBA Finals conducted by the Celtics dynasty; the 1970s saw. In 1970, a classic final featured the Knicks against the Lakers. In the waning moments of Game 3, with the series tied, Jerry West hit a basket from 60 feet to tie the game, a shot which became one of the most famous ever. However, the Knicks won in overtime and continued their momentum for a 4–3 win, becoming the first team after the Celtics dynasty to win an NBA championship; the Milwaukee Bucks won their first franchise title, defeating the Baltimore Bullets in 1971. Two seasons after losing in the Finals, the Lakers got a measure of revenge by winning 33 straight games, the longest such streak in NBA history. By season's end, they broke the record for most wins in a season with 69, one more than the 1966–67 Philadelphia 76ers, before taking home the championship for the first time since relocating to Los Angeles.
The Knicks returned to win the championship round again a season to record their second victorious season. Despite the rise of the Knicks, the
The Miami Heat are an American professional basketball team based in Miami. The Heat compete in the National Basketball Association, as a member of the league's Eastern Conference Southeast Division; the Heat play their home games at American Airlines Arena, have won three NBA championships. The franchise began play in 1988 as an expansion team, where after a period of mediocrity, the Heat would gain relevance during the 1990s following the appointment of former head coach Pat Riley in the role of team president. Riley would construct the high-profile trades of Alonzo Mourning in 1995, of Tim Hardaway in 1996, which propelled the team into playoff contention. Mourning and Hardaway would lead the Heat to four division titles, prior to their departures in 2001 and 2002, respectively; as a result, the team struggled, entered into a rebuild in time for the 2002–03 season. Led by Dwyane Wade, following a trade for former NBA Most Valuable Player Shaquille O'Neal, Miami made the NBA Finals in 2006, where they clinched their first championship, led by Riley as head coach.
After the departure of O'Neal two years the team entered into another period of decline for the remainder of the 2000s. This saw the resignation of Riley as head coach, who returned to his position as team president, was replaced by Erik Spoelstra. In 2010, after creating significant cap space, the Heat partnered Wade with former league MVP LeBron James, perennial NBA All-Star Chris Bosh, creating the "Big Three". During their four-year spell together, under the guise of Spoelstra, James and Bosh, they would lead the Heat to the NBA Finals in every season, won two back-to-back championships in 2012 and 2013; the trio would all depart by 2016, the team entered another period of rebuilding. Wade was reacquired in 2018, albeit to retire with the franchise; the Heat hold the record for the NBA's third-longest streak, 27 straight games, set during the 2012–13 season. Four Hall of Famers have played for Miami, while James has won the NBA MVP Award while playing for the team. In 1987 the NBA granted one of its four new expansion teams to Miami and the team, known as the Heat began play in November 1988.
The Miami Heat began their early years with much mediocrity, only making the playoffs two times in their first eight years and falling in the first round both times. Upon the purchasing of the franchise by Carnival Cruise Lines chairman Micky Arison in 1995, Pat Riley was brought in as the team president and head coach. Riley acquired center Alonzo Mourning and point guard Tim Hardaway to serve as the centerpieces for the team, transforming Miami into a championship contender throughout the late 1990s. With them they brought in a new team trainer, Cody Posselt, to work on shooting; the Heat underwent a dramatic turnaround in the 1996–97 season, improving to a 61–21 record – a franchise record at the time, second-best in team history. That same year, Miami earned the moniker of "Road Warriors" for its remarkable 32–9 record on the road. On the backs of Hardaway and Mourning, the Heat achieved their first two series victories in the playoffs, making it to the Conference Finals against the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls before losing in five games.
Their biggest rivals of the time were the New York Knicks, Riley's former team, who would eliminate the Heat in the playoffs from 1998 through 2000. A period of mediocrity followed after, highlighted by missing the playoffs in 2002 and 2003. In the 2003 NBA draft, with the fifth overall pick, Miami selected shooting guard Dwyane Wade out of Marquette. Free-agent swing-man Lamar Odom was signed from the Los Angeles Clippers. Just prior to the start of the 2003–04 season, Riley stepped down as head coach to focus on rebuilding the Heat, promoting Stan Van Gundy to the position of head coach. Behind Van Gundy's leadership, Wade's stellar rookie year and Odom's break out season, the Heat made the 2004 NBA Playoffs, beating the New Orleans Hornets 4–3 in the 1st round and losing to the Indiana Pacers 4–2 in the 2nd round. In the offseason, Riley engineered a summer blockbuster trade for Shaquille O'Neal from the Los Angeles Lakers. Alonzo Mourning returned to the Heat in the same season. Returning as championship contenders, Miami finished with a 59–23 record garnering the first overall seed in the Eastern Conference.
Sweeping through the first round and the semifinals, Miami went back to the Conference Finals for the first time in eight years, where it met the defending champion Detroit Pistons. Despite taking a 3–2 lead, Miami lost Wade to injury for Game 6; the Heat would go on to lose Game 7 at home despite Wade's return. In the summer of 2005, Riley brought in veteran free agent Gary Payton from the Boston Celtics, brought in James Posey, Jason Williams and Antoine Walker via trades. After a disappointing 11–10 start to the 2005–06 season, Riley relieved Van Gundy of his duties and took back the head coaching job; the Heat made it to the Conference Finals in 2006 and in a re-match, defeated the Pistons, winning the series 4–2. Making its first NBA Finals appearance, they played the Dallas Mavericks, who won the first two games in Dallas in routs; the Heat won the next four games, capturing its first championship. Wade won the Finals MVP award; the Heat experienced four-years of post-title struggles from 2007 through 2010, including a 4–0 sweep by the Chicago Bulls in the 1st round of the 2007 NBA Playoffs.
In the 2007–08 season, Wade was plagued by injuries and the Heat had a league worst 15–67 record. O'Neal was traded to Phoenix midway through the season. Riley resigned as head coach following the season but retained his positio
The "Kobe-Shaq feud" was the conflict between National Basketball Association players Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant, who played together on the Los Angeles Lakers team from 1996 to 2004. The two were able to win three consecutive NBA Championships and make an NBA Finals appearance in 2004. O'Neal was the NBA Finals MVP in each of their victories. Personal differences and arguments over their respective roles on the Lakers were followed by a trade that sent O'Neal to the Miami Heat while Bryant was re-signed as a free agent by the Lakers. Lakers head coach Phil Jackson would write a book entitled The Last Season: A Team in Search of Its Soul, reflecting on the troubles Bryant and O'Neal had during their last season together. In 1996, the Los Angeles Lakers acquired the draft rights to high school player Kobe Bryant from the Charlotte Hornets by trading established center Vlade Divac. No NBA team had drafted a guard straight from high school. After freeing up salary by parting with other veteran players, they signed free agent All-Star center Shaquille O'Neal that year.
The two sparred in their first three seasons playing together from 1996–1999. Bryant kept his teammates at a distance, answering non-basketball questions with one- or two-word responses. O'Neal told the Lakers when Bryant arrived, "I'm not gonna be babysitting." Bryant had extreme confidence in his ability, unusual for an 18-year-old. Some teammates interpreted Bryant's confidence as arrogance. O'Neal was wary of Bryant, as a rookie, boasting that he would lead the Lakers in scoring and be the best player in the league. Lakers general manager Jerry West criticized O'Neal's leadership for hazing Bryant that season. While O'Neal's personality was good-humored, Bryant's demeanor was all-business and was interpreted by some teammates as selfishness. O'Neal began calling Bryant showboat because of his flashy offensive moves. In an overtime playoff loss to the Utah Jazz that eliminated the Lakers, O'Neal fouled out with two minutes remaining in regulation. Lakers coach Del Harris had designed the Laker offense around the rookie Bryant, who went on to shoot four air balls.
Harris explained. After the game, O'Neal told him there would be other opportunities. West said the team's shortcoming made O'Neal angry since he was going to be judged by the team's success. Bryant was assigned by the Lakers to play in the 1997 NBA Summer League to improve as a team player and learn where to send the ball when he drew double teams; the following season, Bryant was voted as a starter in the 1998 All-Star Game though he was a reserve on the Lakers. The Lakers struggled after the All-Star break, losing seven of their first 12 games, Bryant had a stretch where he made only 30 of 100 shots. O'Neal wanted a championship and he did not want to wait for Bryant to mature as a player. Harris thought the NBA and its television broadcaster, National Broadcasting Company, were overexposing Bryant and that he became more of a one-on-one player after the break. Bryant's playing time became reduced; the Lakers were eliminated in the 1998 playoffs in the conference finals after they were swept by the Jazz, 4–0.
The team's lockout-shortened 50-game 1998–99 season included a brief stint as a player by Dennis Rodman, the firing of head coach Harris, the interim head coaching stint of former Laker player Kurt Rambis. During the lockout, O'Neal, Derek Fisher, Corie Blount played a two-on-two basketball game. Bryant was always a physical player during practice. Other players, disliked Bryant's approach to practice. Fisher said, "That was the way we all should have been playing. With Kobe's spirit." During the game, O'Neal slapped Bryant. Fisher said neither O'Neal nor Bryant started it, as they were both being physical. During the season, the team would blame their problems on. At one point, O'Neal pointed at Bryant and told reporters in the locker room, "There's the problem." Bryant's jerseys were outselling O'Neal's in Southern California sporting goods stores, rumors started that O'Neal was jealous, as he was with Penny Hardaway when they played together in Orlando. "That's far from the truth", said Fisher.
"All Shaq wants to do is win." Asked if he helped Bryant through his growing pains, O'Neal said "I try not to help guys out too much. Experience is the best teacher... Kobe's a great player... He's a new, up-and-coming kid." O'Neal thought. Rambis asked the veteran team leader, to heal the rift and reach out to Bryant. Rambis said O'Neal gave him a "blank, cold stare." The rift between O'Neal and Bryant continued into the playoffs. While the Lakers defeated the Houston Rockets in the first round of that year's NBA Playoffs, they were swept 4–0 by the San Antonio Spurs in the second round. During the 1999 offseason and Lakers owner Jerry Buss agreed to sign the six-time NBA champion Phil Jackson to a high-priced, 5-year $30 million contract to be the team's new head coach entering the 1999–2000 season. Buss was a believer in spending conservatively on coaches, but O'Neal and Bryant had both encouraged West to hire Jackson. Jackson decided that the offense would revolve around O'Neal, who would be given responsibility to distribute the ball.
Jackson wanted better leadership, physical conditioning, defense from O'Neal. The coach chose to develop a close relationship with O'Neal and not Bryant. Jackson calculated. Bryant missed the season's first 15 games due to a broken right wrist, allowing the team to focus on O'Neal as Jackson had planned; the results of Jackson's