STUDIO: Warner Home Video
MSRP: $24.98
RUNNING TIME: 170 Minutes
• Dwyane Wade–The Flash: A look at Dwyane Wade and his evolving career
• Gary Payton Career Retrospective: A look back at Gary’s career, and his expectations with the Heat
• Udonis Haslem–Exceeding Expectations: Haslem has always been overlooked, which has motivated him throughout his career
• Shaq in the 3rd Stage of his Career: Shaq talks about his expectations for the Miami Heat
• Alonzo Mourning–Reflections: Alonzo has had a long career and overcome much adversity to become an NBA Champion
• Jason Williams–Growing as a player: Williams was always known for flash; now his game is about substance
• Real Training Camp Preview of the Miami 2006 Season: A preseason look at the Heat’s outlook for the season
• Dream Catches Fire: This video looks at the origins of the Miami Heat and their first NBA season
• NBA Playbook–Getting Shaq space in the post: four vignettes breaking down a couple of the Heat’s key offensive plays
• The Clincher: the 4th quarter of the clinching game of the Finals
• Finals pre-series analysis: NBA TV analysts break down the matchups
• Finals post-series analysis: NBA TV analysts recap the key moments of the Finals

The Pitch

The Heat have the shiny gold trophy and Dwyane Wade is a badass. Allow us to provide a visual record.

The Humans

Shaq, Dwyane Wade, Alonzo Mourning, Pat Riley, Dirk Nowitzki.

"Here’s the MVP trophy. You earned it, Kob – uh, Dwyane…"

The Nutshell

After 16 years of futility in reaching the NBA Finals, and drafting Dwyane Wade in 2003 and trading to get Shaq from the Lakers the following year, the Miami Heat finally put together the right formula to get to and win the NBA Championship. Along the way, they defeated the team with the best record in the league, the defending Eastern Conference Champs Pistons, and then in the Finals swept the Mavericks…after spotting them the first two games. Veteran players Alonzo Mourning and Gary Payton finally got their long sought after rings, Shaq picked up his fourth in seven years, and Pat Riley was blinging again since 1988, the same year the Heat came into the league. But the story of this year’s Finals was MVP Dwyane Wade, who took his already stratospheric game to another level, averaging almost 35 points per game.

"Yes, you may now worship me."

The Lowdown

I watched the NBA Finals just like I do every year. It
was interesting as a LA resident because we owned that gold trophy for
the first three years of the decade. And the guy who led the way for
us has since gone on to take the Heat to the promised land – Shaq. But
despite how things have finally come together for the South Beach Boys,
for me, this hasn’t been the most interesting time for the Heat. I
miss the great Heat rivalries of the ‘90s with the Knicks. Those were
consistently some of the best playoff series, especially the ’97
Eastern Conference Semis where there was a major fight in Game 5. Knicks players Charlie Ward, Patrick Ewing and Allan Houston were suspended in Game 6
and John Starks and Larry Johnson for the deciding Game 7, and Miami
without PJ Brown for Game 7 – all for participating in said fight.
That year Miami came back from a 3-1 deficit to make it to the Finals,
only to lose to one of the Jordan Championship Chicago teams. Knicks
fans probably still bristle at the mention of that series, and probably
deservedly so, as it’s kind of hard to win a series when half your team
is riding the pine for the deciding games.

"…*mumble**mumble**mumble*…high percentage shots…*mumble**mumble**mumble*…Flash… *mumble**mumble**mumble*…Kobe who?…*mumble**mumble**mumble*…

New York and Miami have traded knocking each other out of the playoffs
over the years, including a thrilling first round series in the
strike-shortened ’99 season when the Knicks rode Latrell Sprewell to
the Finals as an #8 Seed, while Miami was a #1 Seed. Those were always hard-fought, tough,
intense series from the best rivalry in the NBA at the time. I don’t
see that as much and I’d kind of lost track of the Heat the last few
years; that was until they glommed onto The Diesel of course, and
picked up some hotshot that goes by the name Flash. Wade showed this
year that maybe the Cavs (LeBron) and Nuggets (Carmelo) skipped right
by perhaps the best player in the draft that year and (dare I say it)
the best young player since Kobe (who is still the best player in the
world by the way). The Heat had a strong run to the Finals and showed
some grit I hadn’t seen since maybe the ’95 Rockets when they clawed their
way to a Game 3 win against the Mavs, who took the first two games in
Dallas in rather convincing fashion. Wade took his game to somewhere
north of the aurora borealis and the Heat reeled off four in a row to
take it all. Alonzo finally got his ring and The Old Glove also got
his as he had tasted defeat in the Finals twice before, most recently
in uh, well, here in LA (friggin’ ’04 Pistons…).

When things were getting a little desperate for the Mavericks, they called on a little more help to try to stop Dwyane Wade…

This set chronicles the entire playoff run and the Finals in detailed
fashion and the NBA, although not in the same league (pun intended) as
NFL Films, also knows how to put together fine presentations of their
champs’ playoff runs

The Package

What really pops – and I mean really pops – about this
set is the crapload of extras. The main story is just shy of an hour,
and is well told. The extras, however, clock in at around two hours.
They’re headed up by the 43-minute The Clincher, which details the last
40 minutes or so of Game 6 and the celebration afterwards, and the
23-minute Dream Catches Fire, which gives an insight into the origins
and history of the team. Other extras focus on Shaq and Flash of
course, Pat Riley, Udonis Haslem, Mourning, The Glove, Jason Williams,
and pre- and post-series analyses that each average around four to six
minutes. Good single disc set.

"Congratulations, Miami (schmucks). Enjoy your hard-earned championship (bastards). You deserve it. Really (fuckers)…"

7.5 out of 10