Heat owner writes letter to fans, expressing confidence
Miami Heat managing general partner Micky Arison released an open letter to the team's fans Thursday night, telling them he is confident they'll enjoy the upcoming season.
The letter's release on the Heat Twitter account came a few hours after the NBA schedule was released. It'll be the first Heat schedule since 2002-03 without Dwyane Wade, who left Miami after 13 seasons and signed with the Chicago Bulls.
''Obviously, this has been a challenging summer … one with significant change,'' Arison wrote. ''For the first time in a long time, Dwyane Wade will not be part of our team, but it will be a joyous homecoming when we someday hang his No. 3 jersey from the rafters.''
Wade and the Bulls come to Miami only once this season, that being Nov. 10.
Arison wrote that in his 21 years leading the franchise, there have been the highs of three championships and the lows of playoff disappointments and the health issues that sidelined Alonzo Mourning and Chris Bosh.
''And so, as (Heat President) Pat Riley has said on numerous occasions, `One of the only things you can count on in life that is permanent is change,''' Arison wrote. ''We need to understand and embrace change as part of sports; in fact, as a part of life.''
Arison added that the Heat culture will not change, and that he fully expects this season's team to continue the franchise's mantra of being ''the hardest working, best conditioned, most professional, unselfish, toughest, meanest, nastiest team in the NBA.''
Miami opens the season Oct. 26 at Orlando. The home opener is two nights later against Charlotte, and Miami will carry a streak of 294 consecutive home sellouts into the season.