Even though his name is not on the top of any of the team’s all-time record lists, Heat legend Glen Rice is considered Miami‘s best long-distance shooter ever, and one of the most prolific three-point shooters of the 1990s NBA.
Rice’s long-distance precision and proficiency proved as one of the critical ingredients in initiating a new millennium L.A. Lakers championship dynasty. Legendary Lakers GM Jerry West brought G Money to The City of Angels with the idea of securing a reliable third option for superstars Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant, and Rice did just what he was asked to do.
With the #4 overall pick in the 1989 draft Glen Rice in their uniform, one of the 1988-1989 NBA expansion teams, Miami Heat, looked forward to opening a new chapter in the franchise history. After a three-year process of learning the pro-game, surrounded with quality staff, Rice proved that he was ‘the man’ leading the Heat into their first playoffs ever in April 1992.
However, the Heat failed to make playoffs in 1993 and 1995. In the 1992 and 1994 playoffs, Rice performed well below his regular-season standard.
The beginning of Pat Riley‘s now quarter of a century-long tenure in Miami marked the end of Glen Rice’s stint with the team. On November 3rd, 1993, Rice was traded to the Charlotte in a blockbuster deal, which also brought star center Alonzo Mourning to Miami as a new building block for Riley’s Heat.
In Charlotte, Rice reached the new heights peaking to his career-high 26.8ppg over the 1996-97 season. That same season, the 1997 NBA All-Star game MVP also led the league with an incredible 47.0% from beyond the three-point arc! Back in those days, with a dash of air left on the perimeter, G was a sure-fire bet to hit the shot!
Over his three productive seasons in the Hornets uniform, the team reached the postseason twice. However, he was again traded. The legendary L.A. Lakers GM Jerry West again reached out to the Hornets GM Bob Bass. The logo was able to arrange the trade in which the Lakers got what they were looking for. Experienced ‘sniper’ Rice came to town in exchange for shooting guard Eddie Jones and power forward/center Elden Campbell.
The idea behind the trade was to supply the team with a quality third option, right behind superstars Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant, a proven long-distance shooter with an abundance of experience. And Rice delivered what he was asked for, especially in the 1999-2000 NBA playoffs. He started all 23 games as the Lakers small forward, averaging 12.4 points per game on 41.8% three-point shooting.
Supplying the Lakers with the number of big shot plays, Rice’s perimeter presence proved critical, especially in the game two of the NBA final series in which he scored 21 points. In the decisive game six, a 10-year pro scored 16 points (3 treys) in the Lakers win, which closed down the 2000 finals.
Rice’s prolific shooting from beyond the arc cleaned up more space to operate for the team’s superstars, his close friend Shaquille O’Neal, and Kobe Bryant. The Lakers were able to surpass several great teams along their championship alley. The 2000 NBA championship title was the Lakers twelfth ever and the first out of five in the new millennium (2000, 2001, 2002, 2009, 2010).
Interestingly, Rice wasn’t the only ex-Miami Heat player on the 1999-2000 NBA champions L.A. Lakers roster. He was accompanied by two 10-year veterans, back-up point guard Brian Shaw and back-up center John Spider Salley, who were valuable over the Lakers postseason championship run.