The Miami Heat are in the NBA Finals. Hopefully, there will be a loud symphony of pots and pans across the city to celebrate their victory.
But before that metal-on-metal cacophony, they will have to play at least four games on the hardwood against the Denver Nuggets. So to get you hyped, take a musical tour of the first 35 years of Miami Heat basketball with the ultimate Miami Heat playlist.
Glenn Frey, "The Heat Is On"
The Eagles singer originally recorded this song for the 1984 Eddie Murphy movie Beverly Hills Cop, but due to the word "Heat" in its title, it has been a regular part of Heat games since the team's inception in 1988. Even if Frey was a die-hard Lakers fan, he keeps some 305 cred for having starred in an episode of Miami Vice.
Rony Seikaly, "Feels Right"
The Miami Heat's first-ever draft pick and, to this day, one of the franchise's greatest rebounders, Rony Seikaly, has spent the last 23 years DJing. "It's right in between the Tulum, Mexico, sound and the big-room underground sound," Seikaly described his musical stylings to New Times in 2020. "A little more energy than what deep house is playing."
Bigg D, "Can You Feel the Heat (Down in Your Soul)"
Derek "Bigg D" Baker produced songs by Pitbull, Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, Jay Z, Jennifer Lopez, and Jamie Foxx. Still, in an interview with New Times in 2019, he was most proud of having this Caribbean-flavored ditty adopted as the official team song of the Miami Heat in 1996. "The Miami Heat had a challenge in 1996 looking for a theme song. People all over the world tried out," Bigg D recalled. "Mine was the one they picked."
Fu-Schnickens and Shaquille O'Neal, "What's Up Doc (Can We Rock)"
Shaq recorded this Yo MTV Raps classic back when he hooped for upstate rivals, the Orlando Magic, in 1993. But the Big Aristotle got his number retired by the Heat for helping the team win its first championship, and this is by far the best song in his lengthy rapping and DJing career. Bonus Heat points for Shaq spittin' "Now, who's the first pick? Me. Word born in/Not a Christian Laettner not Alonzo Mourning" when 12 years later, all three players would be teammates on the 2005 team.
The Power Station, "Some Like It Hot"
This 1985 song isn't played as much at Heat games anymore, but it was a staple in the old Miami Arena days. Whenever Glen Rice or Harold Miner did something fantastic to have the other team call a time-out, you could count on hearing Robert Palmer sing, "Feel the heat burning you up, ready or not."
The White Stripes, "Seven Nation Army"
When they get around to making a documentary about the Big Three — LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh — this will undoubtedly be the theme song. Nearly a decade since LeBron left the franchise, you can still hear the crowd at Heat games spontaneously chant, "Oh oh oh oh oh oh oh" when the Heat go on a run.
Jay-Z featuring Alicia Keys, "Empire State of Mind"
What's this 2009 ode to New York by a former co-owner of the Brooklyn Nets doing on this playlist? It all comes down to one line Jay Z raps, "If Jeezy's payin' LeBron, I'm payin' Dwyane Wade." When Jay-Z recited that line in 2013 at Hard Rock Stadium with Wade and LeBron in attendance right after the Heat's 2013 championship, it felt like the whole stadium would collapse from the city's collective enthusiasm.
Tenacious D, "Pat Riley"
Jack Black's comedy band can be a bit of an acquired taste, but Heat fans can unite on the sentiment expressed in this deep cut praising the Heat president: "There was a man with a plan and his name was Pat Riley/ He roused the troops, and he said come on Mighty D/ He professed to rock the D/Join hands, make plans."
Victor Oladipo, "Morning Gift"
The only bummer for this magical postseason run by the Miami Heat was when in garbage time of a blowout win over the Milwaukee Bucks, guard Victor Oladipo suffered a catastrophic season-ending knee injury. But after listening to his positivity on his smooth R&B EP Tunde, if anyone can get in the right mindset to overcome adversity, it's Oladipo.
Jack Harlow, "Tyler Herro"
There was another sad moment in these playoffs. In the opening game, Tyler Herro broke his hand. Hopefully, he'll play in the finals, where the young phenom will have the chance to build up his legend to have even more songs named after him.
Red Auerbach had his victory cigar any time his Boston Celtics won a game. For the last couple of years, when this song was playing at American Airlines Arena — I mean FTX Arena, I mean Miami-Dade Arena, I mean Kaseya Center — that meant a Heat victory. Expect to hear this song after game six when the Heat win their fourth NBA championship, followed by the banging of pots and pans.
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David Rolland is a freelance music writer for Miami New Times. His novels, The End of the Century and Yo-Yo, are available at many fine booksellers.