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Heat retires first number

Posted: Friday April 11, 2003 8:49 PM

MIAMI (AP) -- The Miami Heat retired Michael Jordan's No. 23 jersey before his final game at the team's arena on Friday night.

The jersey -- half red for the Chicago Bulls and half blue for the Washington Wizards -- was hung from the rafters, and Miami coach Pat Riley said no Heat player will wear the number again.

"In honor of your greatness and for all you've done for the game of basketball -- and not just the NBA, but for all the fans around the world -- we want to honor you tonight and hang your jersey, No. 23, from the rafters," Riley said at midcourt. "No one will ever wear No. 23 for the Miami Heat. You're the best." Jordan then hugged Riley and waved to the crowd.

It was the first jersey the Heat have retired in their 15-year history.

Jordan averaged 30.2 points on 51.5 percent shooting in 37 regular-season games against the Heat during his career. He was even better in the playoffs, averaging 34.2 points in 11 games. Before the ceremony, the Heat also played a highlight video of Jordan on the big screen. It was complete with high-flying, tongue-hanging dunks, ankle-breaking moves, shoulder shrugs, fist pumps and his trademark smile.

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