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© 2017 SportsBlog.com Presents: Legends Corner- Featuring continuous and compelling blogs written by NBA veterans, Legends Corner is the content hub for some of basketball's most legendary players.

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HEAT Getting Ready to Sizzle

I remember when I played for the Heat.   It was a wonderful opportunity to play under Pat Riley and a team that at the time had the second best record in the NBA.  I felt surrounded by an organization that had compiled very goal oriented players and coaches, each trying hard to win. (I didn't always get that feeling on the teams in which I played.)

Working for Coach Riley was not easy, but I felt I was treated fairly.  Once the two and a half hour practice, the hour of weights, and the hour of film work were over and you had put your time in, you were treated well.  You were treated well so you wanted to put the work in every day. The Heat had the best airplane, food, hotels and staff.  It was like it should be, work hard and then be treated well. Get treated well makes you want to work harder.

Coach Riley motivated me to want to get better as a player.

There were times when it was difficult to keep egos in check. Not easy when the star players were Alonzo Mourning, Tim Hardaway, Dan Majerle and Jamal Mashburn. Keeping egos in check was a difficult task for such a big name city with big name players with a big name organization. I am not saying these players are egotistical, I am just saying that at that time, there was no true feeling of who is the franchise player, with injuries and changing dynamics it wasn't clear.  I mean it was clear that it wasn't me, but I didn't care, I was just happy to get the call up.

When I was there, I was the back-up to the back-up to the back-up. I would play behind Isaac Austin, Ed Pickney, Mark Strickland, and P.J. Brown. The only reason that I didn't play behind Alonzo Mourning is because he was hurt. So basically, I didn't play.

Interesting to come from a situation (Fort Wayne Fury of the Continental Basketball Association) where the offense was ran through me and I would play as many minutes as I could muster being team captain.  Then go to a team where I was swinging a towel at the end of the bench.  But I was very happy to get called up to the NBA and the Heat, I was quite excited for the elite opportunity.

I played very little, but appreciated the experience and have always counted my blessings being able to ride the coat tails of Riley and the Heat to the Eastern Conference Finals.

I was involved with the Heat when they made it as far as the organization had ever gone in their short history.  I was a little upset when they went on to win it all, but I knew that they were destined to do so. I am not "jocking" the Heat I am just stating facts. 

I played with many teams throughout my career.  The Heat seemed to do things right. No state taxes helps to draw players too, but the Heat had a system down that worked.

No secret: be organized, work hard, treat players fair and make sure Coach Riley is near.  I wish I could go back and do it all over again, that was a great time in my life.

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