The Miami Heat championship squad from 2006 was truly one of a kind team with an exciting group of individuals that achieved the ultimate goal, winning the NBA title. The majority of NBA analysts at the time didn’t consider the Heat to be the favorites to win the championship. Still, after a wild playoff run, they had to go up against a tough Dallas Mavericks team led by prime Dirk Nowitzki and a tremendous supporting cast. After losing the first two games, Dwyane Wade had one of the most impressive finals series of all-time and turned the whole series around, enabling the Heat to win four straight games and securing their first NBA championship.
Former players on that squad James Posey and Udonis Haslem, gave an exciting insight into what was happening behind the scenes on that squad. Apparently, the chemistry within the team was unbelievable, and they had so much fun playing together that they often indulged themselves in partying and drinking quite a bit as well. Both Posey and Haslem spent a lot of years playing in the NBA with hundreds of different teammates. Still, that year with the Miami Heat was special, and they even admit they never experienced something similar ever again in their careers.
I always say that how we did wasn’t a traditional conventional way. We went out, we partied, we had meetings on the road and things like that.James Posey, via BasketballNews
Haslem talked about one game in Atlanta after a wild night out partying and drinking. The next day they were obviously still intoxicated and not feeling great or ready for the game. During a time out when they were all in the huddle, their coach Pat Riley lost it after he realized his players are evidently hungover from a night out in Atlanta. Everybody that knows a thing or two about Riley knows he runs his teams like a military sergeant, and there are no rooms for mistakes. That was also the moment when even Haslem realized they were taking it too far and how it’s time for them to focus on basketball and winning games rather than partying all the time.
We were in Atlanta drunk all up in the huddle. This has to stop, we were all handing PUI’s. Playing and practicing under the influence, this s**t has to stop. Motherf**ers in the huddle burping; it stinks like a brewery in there. I said this s**t is ridiculous, and even in my mind, I’m saying this is nuts. I remember in the huddle saying to myself, he is absolutely right, this time, he is right. This is too much. This st was perforating in the huddle, and I could smell it. And it’s coming from me too, and I can smell it on me and the next four guys, which means it’s lit up in here. He was right; that was too much.Udonis Haslem, via BasketballNews
It seems they made a change in their mindset from that point forward because they had a pretty solid regular-season record winning 52 games coming to the playoffs. Wade and Shaq carried the offensive load for that team, and other players pitched in at the right time, which eventually put them in the position to win a championship which they ultimately did. The Heat tried to replicate the same success the following year, but it was evident they were not the same team, and they got swept in the first round of the 2007 playoffs by the Chicago Bulls. For what’s it worth, at least they had that major success in 2006 by winning a championship while having a lot of fun and partying along the way.