Eds. note: This story was first posted on July 7, 2016. We thought you might like to re-read it today.
After 13 years Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat have split. The breakup was, from all accounts, acrimonious.
But this is sports and sports has seen its share of messy breakups, especially in South Florida.
Here are a few others the South Florida sports fan has shed a tear or two over.
Dan Marino and the Dolphins
For many, Marino had been supplanted by Wade as the most iconic sports figure in Miami history. And now the two have more in common.
Marino turned 38 just before the start of the 1999 season. He missed five games because of injury and returned for the final six regular season and two postseason games. But Marino clearly regressed, finishing the regular season with 12 TD passes and 17 interceptions. … then came the playoffs.
After a 20-17 victory over Seattle, the Dolphins traveled to Jacksonville and were embarrassed, 62-7. Marino was 11 of 25 for 95 yards one TD and two picks in what would be the final game of his career. Coach Jimmy Johnson resigned the next day. Dave Wannstedt, who took over for Johnson, had made it clear Marino was not part of his plans. And although Marino had opportunities to finish his career in another uniform, most notably in Minnesota, in March he announced his retirement.
Don Shula and the Dolphins
Following the 1995 season Don Shula resigned after 26 years as the Dolphins head coach and with a record 327 NFL victories. But for Shula, the ending was bitter-sweet.
Shula had one year remaining on his contract and a week before his announcement in early January said he wanted to return for a 27th season. But suddenly he was gone, forced out to make room for Jimmy Johnson.
The Dolphins won two Super Bowls under Shula, following the 1972 and 1973 seasons, but would never win another. They came close twice (losing the Super Bowls following the 1982 and 1984 seasons), but missed the playoffs in 10 of Shula’s 22 seasons following his final Super Bowl win.
Miguel Cabrera and the Marlins
The Marlins and breakups have been synonymous with so many stars being dumped by greedy owners. Perhaps the best player ever to leave Miami was Miguel Cabrera, who was traded to Detroit along with Dontrelle Willis following the 2007 season for a package of players that included Andrew Miller and Cameron Maybin.
Cabrera is one of the most feared hitters in baseball and on a path to the Hall of Fame. He’s won four batting titles and was the AL MVP in 2012 and 2013, winning the 2012 Triple Crown. He has 426 home runs and a .320 average, .398 on base percentage and is slugging .560 in his 14-year career.
Larry Csonka, Paul Warfield, Jim Kiick and the Dolphins
In 1974, two months after Miami won its second consecutive Super Bowl, fullback Larry Csonka, receiver Paul Warfield and tailback Jim Kiick signed a package deal with the Toronto Northmen of the new World Football League. The deal paid the players a combined $3 million over three years, an unheard amount of money at the time.
Dolphins owner Joe Robbie said he was “torpedoed” and that the players’ agents had tried to get Robbie to put $3 million in a bank account to keep them in Miami. Robbie refused. Dolphins coach Don Shula said he was “disappointed, shocked, sick.” Many teammates, however, applauded the move and thought it might lead to larger contracts in the NFL.
Csonka, Warfield and Kiick each had one year left on their contracts with Miami and said negotiations were going nowhere with the Dolphins. Kiick admitted that he was jumping in part for playing time after being demoted to No. 3 back the previous season.
Schnellenberger’s departure from Miami had nothing to do with the Hurricanes but a decision Schnellenberger would later regret and label as the worst of his professional career.
After leading the Hurricanes to a stunning victory in the January 1984 Orange Bowl, resulting in UM being voted national champions, Schnellenberger accepted a job with the Washington Federals of the USFL, which was supposed to move to Miami the next season. But when the USFL voted to switch to a fall schedule the Federals nixed the idea of coming to South Florida and instead moved to Orlando, becoming the Renegades. The league then folded and canceled its 1986 season.
Schnellenberger, the hottest college coach in America, was without a job for the 1985 season before joining Louisville in 1985. He coached the Cardinals for 10 years, spent a year in Oklahoma before starting the program at FAU.