Why Does Miami Lack Major Sports Stars?

Big city, great weather, minimal star power

Miami
In the past, Miami was home to big-name athletes, but that's changed in recent years.
Gabriel Kaplan/Creative Commons
By Tobias Carroll / August 24, 2019 2:02 pm

A sprawling metropolis with glorious beaches and renowned nightlife: you’d think that Miami would be in high demand among superstar athletes looking for a place to play. Unfortunately, that’s not the case—despite a storied history involving players like Dwayne Wade and Dan Marino spending time in southern Florida, the athletes currently playing there aren’t quite as high-profile.

This begs the question: why? A recent ESPN panel explored the complex relationship between sports and Miami, revisiting some of the biggest names to call the city home, and anticipating what Miami sports fans might have to look forward to in the future.

ESPN’s Andrea Adelson opened the conversation with a blunt but accurate statement: “The Dolphins still haven’t recovered from losing Dan Marino.” Given that Marino’s last played in the NFL in 1999, that literally means that a generation of Dolphins fans have lacked a singular player to rally behind—or, as Cameron Wolfe observes, younger fans may still rally behind the memory of Marino.

The Dolphins aren’t the only team where an absence is deeply felt. The departures of both LeBron James and Dwyane Wade from the Heat also come up, for obvious reasons.

Later in the discussion, the assembled writers offer their predictions on which current player is most likely to become a superstar, and what team might benefit the most from a high-profile addition. As Jorge Sedano succinctly says, “because the Dolphins have been so bad for so long, if they somehow got the second coming of Marino, it would be fascinating to see how the scales would tip.”

Or perhaps Edinson Cavani’s arrival to plan for new MLS team Inter Miami next season will be the proverbial game-changer. We can only wait and see.

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