After watching the Miami Heat continue to play successfully through numerous injuries, I began to ask myself what is Miami Heat Culture. Heat Culture is concerned with their four principles. They are discipline, accountability, work ethic and enjoying other’s success. They have Pat Riley‘s fingerprints all over them. Udonis Haslem said, ” You had to go through something in life that put a chip on your shoulder.That’s built grit inside you that makes you willing to go through extreme circumstances to get where you are trying to go”.
Heat players are weighed each day. Many a Heat player has had to ride a stationary bike when their weight was above their playing weight. The players also have their body fat percentage measured. Needless to say, you get in the best shape of your life. Practices are considered more difficult than games. Each player has to buy into this and believe this will make them better. Riley’s reputation and success helps with the buy in.
When the Heat travel it’s considered a business trip. Yes a player may go out the night before a game but you made sure you got your rest. Riley knows who is out in local establishments in Miami and who isn’t. Players limit their night life because of this.
One thing upper management shares is stability. The four most powerful members each have at least twenty six years with the organization. The managing general partner is Mickey Arison, he has been with the Heat in his position since 1995. He and Pat Riley attend Heat practices quite often. To say he is hands on is definitely true however he allows Pat Riley the autonomy to make organizational decisions.
Pat Riley is the president of the organization. He is the leader and his fingerprints are everywhere. Riley has been with the Heat since 1995. He is a no nonsense person that demands total commitment and dedication to the Heat. He has won ten rings in the NBA as a player, assistant coach, coach and team president.
Andy Elisberg the senior VP and general manager has been with the team since their inception 1988.
Erik Spoelstra, their head coach, has been with the organization since 1995. Riley hand picked Spoelstra and has mentored him along the way. Spoelstra is one of the best coaches in the league today.
What you can learn from this is that continuity with the right people can be successful in professional sports over the long haul. The other is that maybe the best way to go for an organization is to hire strong, no nonsense people to lead.
The gold standard for player development is the Heat. Their ability to take players off the scrap heap and make them solid NBA players is outstanding. Duncan Robinson, who started out at a Division three college before transferring to Michigan exemplifies this. Robinson has taken that background with the ability to shoot and turned it into a five year ninety million dollar contract. The Heat will take a player and utilize the one thing they are good at and develop it. They develop their players asking them to do what they’re good at. They utilize the player’s strengths for their team’s success not asking them to do things they aren’t as good at.
Robinson in talking about that development, ” There were no wasted days. Every day you show up and never go through the motions. They always push you and you stack the good days on top of each other and before you know it you see results”.
Bam Adebayo was the fourteenth player selected in the draft. He is now a max salaried player. Adebayo when speaking about his development said, ” The thing about here is everyone cares. They’ll do anything to help you improve. The Heat development coaches are known to give up off days and family time all to help you”.
Spoelstra works hands on with his players often jumping into drills and the players believe this lets them know he cares.
Bill Duffy, a player agent said, “The Heat are on top of every minute you are working. They push their guys and this mentality permeates throughout the organization”.
The Heat have developed numerous players including Hassan Whiteside, who ultimately received a four year ninety-eight million dollar contract from the Heat. This year with all their injuries they have received major contributions from Gabe Vincent, Max Strus and Omer Yurtseven. Without their contributions the Heat wouldn’t have the best record in the Eastern Conference, The credit for their development goes to Chris Quinn, Assistant Coach, Director of Player Development.
How do the Heat find these players? A great deal of credit goes to Adam Simon, Assistant General Manager. Simon loves to attend lower level games so he can uncover these gems.
When you look at the Heat success you see many layers. Other organization need to begin study how the Heat are accomplishing so much.
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