December 12, 2012 in Professional
It’s easy to forget where the Miami Heat started considering their star-studded last few years that have included players like Shaquille O’Neal, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh, but in the franchise’s early days, a couple of native Michiganders — Flint’s Glen Rice and Detroit’s Steve Smith — were their building blocks.
Rice and Smith were in Miami Monday and talked with Shandel Richardson of the South Florida Sun Sentinel:
For Rice, it was also a case of leaving the organization too soon. He was traded to the Charlotte Hornets in 1995 in a deal that included Alonzo Mourning. Rice said it was a bittersweet moment because he felt he “was really starting to come into my own” with the Heat.
“You feel cheated in a way,” Rice said. “A lot of success came after that, which is great for the players that were here and great for the city of Miami. At the same time, I didn’t have time to hang my head down. I was just so appreciative of the opportunity that I had. I wanted to make sure I left a stain in their mouth to let them know the type of payer you let go.”
Smith referred to Rice as the franchise’s first superstar. Rice still holds the team record for points in a game (56) and is No. 3 on the franchise’s all-time scoring list with 9,248 points.
“You’re not going to win ball games unless you have that one guy that can take over the basketball game,” Smith said. “When I looked to come here, I looked to say, `Hey, I’m going to play with a go-to player. Glen was that guy for us.”‘