Best Miami Dolphins Player 2023 | Tyreek Hill | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Miami | Miami New Times
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In order to acquire wide receiver Tyreek Hill last offseason, the Miami Dolphins bet the farm (or, in this case, precious draft picks) to the Kansas City Chiefs. It paid off: In 2023, Hill casually broke Dolphins franchise records for receiving yards (1,710) and receptions (119). Hill wasn't merely the best player on the Dolphins last season; he was the best wide receiver in all of football. That might be quite the honor for most Dolphins football players, but for Hill, it's just another year on a résumé that seems destined for the Hall of Fame. From striking fear into the souls of opposing defenses to bringing swagger back to the Dolphins' locker room, Hill might be only five-foot-ten, but he stands head and shoulders above the competition.

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To say Stephen Ross' tenure as owner of the Miami Dolphins was tumultuous would be a gross understatement. It was rockier than South Pointe Pier. But as in life, sports offer redemption for those who pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and get it right. Granting final authority to general manager Chris Grier at last and then hitting the bull's eye with the Mike McDaniel head-coach hire could very well flip the script on Ross' current NFL owner narrative. (Which, let's face it, could do with a hard 180.) Those moves, coupled with the team's fearless pursuit of big-time players (see "Best Dolphins Player"), are helping to recalibrate the franchise's algorithm. As far as he is from perfect, you have to give Stephen Ross credit when it's due: The past 12 months have yielded the sort of trajectory that might lead to a Super Bowl parade if you squint just right. It'd be the first one in 50 years.

Jim Larrañaga was a hall-of-fame coaching legend before he took the Miami Hurricanes to the Final Four in the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament (AKA March Madness) in 2023. We're here to report that he's now achieved statue-in-front-of-the-arena status. Going 29-8 and winning the ACC are commendable feats for anyone who aspires to the honor of being chosen Miami New Times' "Best Coach," but making those accomplishments a jumping-off point for a Final Four run ends the discussion. It isn't just the Xs and Os that make Larrañaga a great coach; it's his direct impact on the players in the Hurricanes' locker room. His presence alone causes each player to achieve their best. From TikTok dances after wins to pep talks after losses, it's tough to envision a coach better suited to lead young men.

Punters have a lousy marketing team. Most people associate punters with failure, but it's not their fault that their appearance in a game is the result of failures by their team's offense. In reality, they're a key piece of the 3D chess puzzle transpiring between the sidelines. For the Miami Hurricanes, punter Lou Hedley has been a secret weapon for years — and one they'll likely miss as he moves on to the NFL next season. Hedley averaged a brow-raising 45.3 yards per punt for the 'Canes last season, making him a semifinalist for a Ray Guy Award and the William V. Campbell Trophy for scholar-athletes. If that wasn't enough, Hedley is 29 years old. He earned his master's degree, then forfeited a year of eligibility to declare for the draft — a trajectory almost unheard of for a punter. Oh, and he's tattooed from head to toe and hails from Mandurrah, a town on the western coast of Australia. Hedley wasn't selected in April's NFL Draft, but the New Orleans Saints snagged him as an undrafted free agent.

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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.

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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.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®