Updated: Nov 8
By: Jacob Walters
For a franchise that has been around since 1988, the Miami Heat have become one of the darling franchises of the NBA. Having won three NBA titles in their history, Miami has earned their stripes with legendary players such as Alonzo Mourning and Dwayne Wade. The man behind the Heat being turned up is none other than Micky Arison.
Born on June 29, 1949, in Tel Aviv, Israel, Arison has owned the Miami Heat since 1995. Arison is also the chairman of Carnival Corporation & plc, a British-American cruise operator known for Carnival Cruise Lines. From 1979 to 2013, Arison also served as the company’s CEO, where he was replaced by Arnold W. Donald after. In 2011, Forbes estimated Arison’s net worth to be around $5.9 billion, making him the 169th wealthiest person in the world.
Let’s start off with why Arison is the best owner in all of sports. The Miami Heat have sold out 450 straight home games, good for the seventh-longest sellout streak in NBA history. The Heat have even offered season ticket holders complimentary accommodations in either Cancun, Mexico, or Punta Cana, Dominican Republic if they renewed their season tickets. There is also winning 14 division titles, six conference titles, and three NBA championships that have made the Miami Heat an NBA staple. Now that is looking out for the fans.
Such a winning culture wouldn’t be in place without hiring Pat Riley. When Arison bought the Heat in 1995, his first move was making Riley the team president and coach. Arison stepped out of the way and let Riley lead the Heat. The three-time NBA Coach of the Year won an NBA title with the Heat to go with his five titles as a coach. Riley has also won two NBA titles as an executive and was the NBA Executive of the Year in 2011. Riley has been responsible for recruiting LeBron James and Chris Bosh to join Dwayne Wade in 2010. Riley has also gotten the Heat back to the NBA Finals after the “Heatles” left; Riley got Jimmy Butler on board and drafted Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro, three key contributors to Miami’s 2020 NBA Finals run. There are even rumors of two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo possibly coming to Miami as the Heat are the front-runners for his services. You can thank the one and only Pat Riley for putting the Heat in that position. Other moves such as bringing Shaquille O’ Neal and Alonzo Mourning on board have helped Miami establish a platinum basketball culture.
Riley also brought in one of the best basketball coaches around (aside from himself) in Erik Spoelstra. The first Asian-American head coach in the history of the four major North American sports leagues, Spoelstra was also the first Asian-American head coach to win the NBA championship. Spoelstra won two NBA titles with the Heat (2012, 2013) and led the Heat to another NBA Finals appearance this season. Spoelstra was previously an NBA champion as an assistant head coach of the Heat in 2006 under Riley. Spoelstra has proven that he doesn’t need three mega stars to lead the Heat to the NBA Finals (although it does help) with his NBA Finals appearance this season, thus making him (and Riley) another reason for Arison’s brilliance.
Micky Arison has also done a great deal of philanthropic work in his lifetime. The Carnival Corporation has done plenty of work for the Miami area such as pledging $2 million for Hurricane Dorian relief. Arison and his family have also donated $10 million in relief for families affected by Hurricane Irma. The pledge started with a $2.5 million donation to Direct Relief by the Arison family, UNICEF, and the Untied Way of Miami-Dade County. Arison has also provided disaster relief to his team and arena part-time employees in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The Micky and Madeleine Arison Family Foundation donated an additional $1 million to the Miami Heat charitable, establishing an initiative specific to employees and other community needs. The Heat have also pledged $200,000 in partnerships to provide 100 million meals in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Arison has even assisted the United States with ships to aid medical response as well as donating to Australian bushfires relief. Arison made a $1 million donation for relief in Australia along with a $250,000 donation to the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund.
Arison’s list of philanthropic work is endless, making him one of the most charitable sports owners around. Arison has also left his mark as one of the best sports owners by bringing in the likes of Pat Riley, LeBron James, and more. Those two reasons alone should be why you should place your vote for Micky Arison as the best sports owner of the 21st century.