Fontainebleau Miami Beach
Courtesy of the Fontainebleau Miami Beach

From your average local perspective, Miami hotels are only good for a handful of things: bringing in those tourism dollars, their clubs and restaurants, and of course a place to carry on an illicit affair. Well, after a lengthy, $1 billion face-lift, the iconic Fontainebleau scores on at least two of those categories. With an opening that included a Victoria's Secret fashion show and a host of A-list names, the resort managed to lure in money even during dismal economic times. LIV is the latest hotspot, Scarpetta's cuisine is to die for, and if it wasn't for the odd Kardashian or Hilton that pops by every once in a while, the place could almost compete with its former self on the celeb glamour front. As for trying to stage a little adultery action there? In theory it'd be nice if you've got the money, but with everyone in town hanging out there, you're bound to get caught.

This is Miami, son. So it makes sense that the best trade pulled off by any team in the 305 this year was all about the cash money. Don't misunderstand — Jermaine O'Neal is not a bad guy to have banging bodies under the glass, especially on a team that has started everyone but the ghost of Gheorghe Muresan at center since dealing another famous O'Neal to the Suns last year. And Jamario Moon has already brought some hard-nosed D to a team victimized by offense-first ballin' all year. But O'Neal can bomb and Moon can get posterized all spring long and Heat fans should still be mobbing Pat Riley to pat him on the back for this swap. Take half a glance at the free agent class lined up for 2010 and you'll understand why. Everyone from our own D-Wade to Chris Bosh to Dirk Nowitzki to that guy they call the King up in Cleveland is going to be looking for a new contract. And thanks to this deal, the Heat will have one of the most flexible payrolls in the entire league to throw around. Heat fanatics are already waking up to wet dreams of an AA Arena patrolled by D-Wade, Tracy McGrady, and — dare they even imagine it? — Bron-Bron himself. Yeah, right, you say? We can dream, can't we?

Coming out of Calvert Hall High in Baltimore, Jack McClinton was never seen as a hard-court star, let alone a guy who could put a football school on the basketball map. McClinton applied to every college in the ACC and was roundly rejected by all of them. So when the young man decided he wanted to transfer from Siena College — the only school to offer him a scholarship — after his freshman year, McClinton's father sent a highlight tape to UM basketball coach Frank Haith. Haith saw potential in the six-foot-one guard — a sharp shooter with range and remarkable scoring instincts. Yet what McClinton has done since transferring to Miami has exceeded everyone's expectations. Last season, he led the ACC with 87 three-pointers and guided the Canes to their first win over Duke in 45 years. This season, as an All-ACC First-Teamer (and an All-ACC Academic First-Teamer), he averaged 23 points in conference play, dropping 34 and 35 points against ACC powerhouses Duke and North Carolina, respectively.

In his three seasons at the U, McClinton not only emerged as the best pure shooter in all of college basketball, but also developed the rep of a cold-hearted assassin. Jack the Ripper made his name as a big-game clutch shooter, hitting those arching three-pointers at key moments while elevating the play of his teammates. McClinton single-handedly made the basketball Canes relevant and turned them into a team to be reckoned with in the ACC. Not bad for a kid who was told his game would never amount to anything beyond Division II.

No, Jorge Cantu isn’t the most talented guy, and he’s not going to put up the best numbers. He’s not showy, and he’s damn sure not pretty. Cantu is just clutch. And guts. Last season, he rapped so many big hits in late innings that a lot of Marlins fans began calling him “Can-do.” Most of them probably didn’t know he’d already earned that nickname in Class A ball. You want this guy in your lineup. He’s championship-caliber. But the 27-year-old Cantu, conceived in Mexico and born in Texas, has had an up-and-down career. It went up in his 117-RBI breakout season at Tampa Bay in 2005, when he was voted MVP of the then-Devil Rays. The next year was dismal, though, and the guy was drummed all the way back to the minors. That’s where the Marlins — always brilliant at picking up great players on the cheap — found him. He’s in his prime now, hardened by the game, humbled by it, and very well might be ready to help lead a team to the promised land.

No, Jorge Cantu isn’t the most talented guy, and he’s not going to put up the best numbers. He’s not showy, and he’s damn sure not pretty. Cantu is just clutch. And guts. Last season, he rapped so many big hits in late innings that a lot of Marlins fans began calling him “Can-do.” Most of them probably didn’t know he’d already earned that nickname in Class A ball. You want this guy in your lineup. He’s championship-caliber. But the 27-year-old Cantu, conceived in Mexico and born in Texas, has had an up-and-down career. It went up in his 117-RBI breakout season at Tampa Bay in 2005, when he was voted MVP of the then-Devil Rays. The next year was dismal, though, and the guy was drummed all the way back to the minors. That’s where the Marlins — always brilliant at picking up great players on the cheap — found him. He’s in his prime now, hardened by the game, humbled by it, and very well might be ready to help lead a team to the promised land.

No, Jorge Cantu isn’t the most talented guy, and he’s not going to put up the best numbers. He’s not showy, and he’s damn sure not pretty. Cantu is just clutch. And guts. Last season, he rapped so many big hits in late innings that a lot of Marlins fans began calling him “Can-do.” Most of them probably didn’t know he’d already earned that nickname in Class A ball. You want this guy in your lineup. He’s championship-caliber. But the 27-year-old Cantu, conceived in Mexico and born in Texas, has had an up-and-down career. It went up in his 117-RBI breakout season at Tampa Bay in 2005, when he was voted MVP of the then-Devil Rays. The next year was dismal, though, and the guy was drummed all the way back to the minors. That’s where the Marlins — always brilliant at picking up great players on the cheap — found him. He’s in his prime now, hardened by the game, humbled by it, and very well might be ready to help lead a team to the promised land.

First the good news: There's a 134-space parking lot at the epicenter of the bustling South Beach action — and it's almost never full. Now the bad: You can't use it between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. (Club kids and night owls can stop reading here.) But for folks who prefer a day in the sun to a romp in the dark, this part-time residential lot on Michigan Avenue at 15th Street will save you the raging migraine SoBe street parking tends to induce. Located in a tree-lined residential hood on the outskirts of Flamingo Park, it's just a six-block trek to the ocean. So grab your towel and cooler, and forget about those nasty towing companies. Your ride is safe here. Just don't tell the tourists.

Mandarin Oriental Hotel

Over the years, we've devoted this category to the municipal shithouses of Miami-Dade — bathrooms on beaches and in museums where the toilets seats are not guaranteed to be free of seven strands of hepatitis. But let's face it, unless you're clearly a vagrant — and if you are, you probably already have your favorite porcelain throne picked out — hotel lobby bathrooms are always a more pleasant option. A clean bowl, free of clogs and ancient floaters; Kenny G piped through overhead speakers; the ubiquitous vase of potpourri-smelling reeds; a discarded USA Today sports section awaiting your perusal — it's the ultimate bowel-movement experience. And the finest hotel lobby bathroom in all of Miami is on the third floor of Brickell's Mandarin Oriental, among the corporate conference rooms. Expansive, usually empty and elegantly minimalist — with a nice bamboo-and-oranges Asian theme going on — this is a restroom where you can feel elite dropping a deuce without dropping a dime.

It's Saturday night, the league-leading Boston Bruins are skating in Sunrise, and as shot after shot after wicked shot ricochets off the Panthers goalie, the BankAtlantic Center shakes louder and louder each time the distorted chords from Blur's "Song 2" cue up:

Blur: When I feel heavy metal!

Crowd: Vo-kouuuun!

Blur: When I'm on pins and needles!

Crowd: Vo-kouuuun!

Blur has been making a big comeback this year in South Florida thanks to Tomas Vokoun, the acrobatic Czech net-minder who has anchored a suddenly stingy Panthers D.

As the Cats have clawed their way up from a decade in the cellar, no one has carried the team further than its second-year goaltender. Vokoun leads the NHL in shutouts and is second in save percentage, stopping 92.6 percent of the pucks fired his way. And he's only been getting better down the stretch, as the Panthers swim the unfamiliar waters of playoff contention.

Cue up that Blur again, would ya? Woo-hooooo, indeed.

Located along a lush stretch of Old Cutler Road and concealed by banyan and mangrove forests, Hammock Oaks is undeniably idyllic, if exclusive. It's essentially a gated wonderland of big-money Miami mansions, massive free-form swimming pools, and private grass tennis courts. So indulge your inner Gatsby and loiter a little bit while walking, running, or biking through the affluent enclave. But don't linger too long because there remain a number of awe-inspiring places where the common people can freely congregate. Start with the Fairchild Tropical Garden, featuring a fruit pavilion, palm glade, and vine pergola—plus large-scale outdoor sculptures by art stars such as Roy Lichtenstein and Dale Chihuly. Then, move north to Matheson Hammock Park, an amazing 629-acre expanse of public land. There are manmade lakes everywhere, including the park's legendary saltwater lagoon, and the forest is so secluded in spots that civilization seems an incredibly remote idea.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®