Sure, you could say Miami was the beneficiary of some of the biggest sports betrayals in history (LeBron leaving Cleveland, Don Shula leaving Baltimore). Sure, you could also point to the fact that Miami has been lucky in the loyalty department (Dan Marino and Bob Griese never left, and some of us hope Dwyane Wade never does either). But that doesn't mean Miami hasn't endured its share of sports-betrayal heartache. It's not a fun history to retread, but on the chance LeBron leaves us -- a chance that's still very much up in the air this morning -- maybe it's good to remind ourselves that we've gone through worse.
Larry Csonka Leaves for a Whole New League
It's 1965. The Dolphins are a year removed from their last back-to-back Super Bowl championships and still among the finest teams in the league. It was in no small part thanks to fullback Larry Csonka, running back Jim Kiick, and wide receiver Paul Warfield. A curious experiment called the World Football League came knocking and offered huge money to the "Miami Trio" to play for its team in Memphis. Csonka and his cronies agreed. Then the league folded halfway through its first season. Csonka, however, would return to the NFL with the Giants and then a final "Hey, sorry about all that" season with the Dolphins.
Shaq Leaves Town and Won't Stop Trash-Talking the Heat
Before LeBron, there was Shaq. He helped us nab a ring and then promised another, but after a confrontation with Pat Riley, he found himself promptly traded. Fair enough. But once the guy left town, he couldn't stop trash-talking his former coach and teammates. It was not classy, Kazaam. Not classy at all.
Jason Taylor Leaves for the Jets
The story of Jason Taylor and Dolphins fans is like two teenage lovers. They'd broken up once before but gotten back together like nothing had happened. Then the Dolphins fans' mean dad (in this analogy, former GM Jeff Ireland) came in and forbade them from being together. It was hard. Harder when Taylor wound up in the arms of the biggest enemy (the New York Jets). Eventually everything worked out and everything is cool now, but let's just not talk about that one time Taylor wore green for a year up in New Jersey.
Nick Saban, Liar
He may be one of the best college football coaches in history, but the only thing he succeeded at in the NFL was being a duplicitous bastard. He arrived as the Dolphins' head coach fresh off a college national championship. He was supposed to be our savior. We excused two mediocre seasons, and all the while he promised us he'd stick around. After weeks of denying he had any interest in a college job, overnight he changed his tune and packed his bags for Alabama. There's a reason we still call him Nick Satan.
The First Marlins Fire Sale
We were kids when the Marlins won their first World Series. It was a big deal. It was the first time in our young lives a professional team from Florida hoisted up a championship trophy -- and then Wayne Huizenga did the unthinkable. One by one, the players in our commemorative binders full of '96 Marlins cards were traded. We've never truly been able to trust a sports team since.
Jeffrey Loria Builds a Stadium With Public Money, Forgets to Build a Team the Public Would Actually Watch
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This one is still fresh. A little too fresh. We're reminded of it every time we pass Marlins Park. Loria and the MLB smooth-talked local officials into footing a big part of the bill for that thing and promised they'd ensure the Marlins would become a better team. In their first year in the stadium, he spent big -- brought in prized free agents and a World Series-winning manager. The manager promptly declared his love for Fidel Castro, and the team never gelled. Another fire sale ensued, and the team now swears up and down it's building more gradually. Yeah, OK.
Every Time a Local High School Football Star Commits to Anywhere Except the U
Miami has a lot of local high school football stars, so this happens multiple times every single signing day. Yet we can't say it doesn't sting a bit when they put on some SEC team's cap instead of an orange-and-green one.