Best College Basketball Player 2023 | Isaiah Wong | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Miami | Miami New Times
Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

After helping to advance University of Miami to the NCAA Final Four for the first time in the school's history, it seems only fair that star 6-foot-4 guard Isaiah Wong would be named not just the ACC Men's Basketball Player of the Year but also, ahem, New Times' Best College Basketball Player of 2023. It was a tough choice — all of the 'Canes men's hoopsters shone. But Wong shone a little brighter, averaging 15.9 points, 3.4 assists, and 4.3 rebounds per game. Then he announced that he was forgoing his remaining year of college eligibility to enter the 2023 NBA Draft, scheduled for... today, June 22, the day this issue hits the streets!

Some people make a room better simply by being in it, and former Miami Dolphins linebacker and current host of WQAM's afternoon drive show Channing Crowder is one of those people. Anyone familiar with Crowder prior to his post-playing career could have told you his personality would be a perfect fit for the mic. That said, his longtime success alongside fellow WQAM co-host Marc Hochman locally, and his national show, The Pivot, has exceeded even those expectations. Crowder has been a voice in the Miami sports scene since his playing days dating back to 2005, but judging by his success as a radio host, we might actually be seeing — er, hearing — the beginning of a long career.

There are few constants in Miami journalism, but for 25 years, there has been at least one: Miami Herald sportswriter Michelle Kaufman, who has covered 14 Olympics, six World Cups, Wimbledon, the U.S. Open, NCAA basketball tournaments, NBA playoffs, and Super Bowls for the city's paper of record. University of Miami (UM) basketball and soccer are her beats, but Kaufman regularly colors outside those lines — profiling emerging tennis stars, breaking news on social media, teaching the next generation of sportswriters in a UM classroom, and offering unflinching takes in her weekly column, misogynistic Twitter trolls be damned.

Photo by Jesse Fraga

It has been less than five years since the first skatepark opened in Miami and the internationally sought-after skate brand Andrew launched downtown. The recent opening of aptly named SkateBird Miami in the sleepy bird sanctuary of El Portal further matures the region's skate culture with a covered, 12,000-square-foot skate plaza, an 18,000-square-foot outdoor pumptrack, and a skate shop that offers merch, decks, and parts. Daily skateboard classes are provided for the uninitiated (5 years old and up).

Don't bother racing through rush-hour traffic to nab the mirror-adjacent treadmill at the gym. Instead, take the scenic 1.1-mile jog around the perimeter of Brickell Key with views of the Miami skyline and Biscayne Bay. You'll pass the glitz of the Mandarin Oriental's La Mar outdoor seating area, the greenery of Brickell Key Park, and the 21-foot-tall El Centinala del Rio statue of a Tequesta Indian blowing into a conch shell. It's a popular spot for the stroller and dog-walking crowds, but pick up your pace for a calorie-busting challenge.

Just north of Crandon Park is a network of short and sweet seaside trails hidden from the whizzing lanes of traffic that connect Key Biscayne to the mainland. The Osprey Beach Trail meanders for a little more than a mile along the sandy dunes. The SPF-conscious will appreciate Bear Cut Nature Trail, which offers ample shade under the dense sea grape and mangrove trees. (Just watch out for mosquitos in the summer.) Don't miss the Fossil Reef Bike Trail, which leads down a boardwalk to reveal a fossilized mangrove reef forest and a postcard-worthy image of the Miami skyline.

Running the entire waterfront length of the beachfront from South Pointe Park to 87th Terrace at the tippy-top of the Miami Beach city limits, a seven-mile Beachwalk path boasts scenic views of the ocean, sand, whimsical lifeguard stands, and the tanned and sweaty cast of locals and tourists. Bonus: There are plenty of water fountains, public restrooms, and benches along the way. If you get too hot, take a shower or a dip in the beckoning, briny sea.

The Commodore Trail offers cyclists, from casual riders to professionals, five miles of lush vegetation and waterfront views through Coconut Grove and Coral Gables. The trail begins at Alice Wainright Park on S. Miami Avenue near the mouth of the Rickenbacker Causeway and ends at the Cocoplum roundabout at Old Cutler Road. Along the trail are numerous points of interest for bike riders, including public parks (Kennedy and Peacock), historic landmarks (Vizcaya Museum & Gardens, the Barnacle Historic State Park, the Kampong), and Coconut Grove shops offering coffee, snacks, and other energizing treats.

The courts at Venice Beach in LA might be one of the holiest spots for pickup basketball in the world. Flamingo Park is Miami's version of Venice Beach, and though it might be a few blocks further from the ocean, the authentic, sweaty vibe is the same. You can find a game pretty much any time of the day and year. The baskets on the two full courts are equipped with glass backboards with breakaway rims. One amenity that Flamingo Park can lord over Venice Beach is its lights, which illuminate the courts after dark. So in those summer months when it's too hot to play in the afternoon, you can still shoot hoops until 10 p.m. each and every night.

Nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and Biscayne Bay lies a stunning stretch of manicured greenery seemingly dropped from the heavens. The Miami Beach Golf Club is not only beloved by locals but is considered one of the finest links in the nation. Following years of multimillion-dollar renovations and diligent upkeep, the course is nigh immaculate. If you get peckish from repeatedly striking a small, dimpled ball in the South Florida sun, the club offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner to keep you off the couch and on the green. (Or, if you golf like we do, in the rough.)

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®