So, as we get ready to start life without Rio (the Heat are 1-0 so far without him since he was shipped off Tuesday), we need to give him a proper sendoff, one that celebrates all the clutch-turnover-laden goofiness that he brought in his seven years with the Heat. A tenure that included a lot of errant passes sent into the stands, a lot of exasperation, two NBA titles, and a lot of love. That's right: love.
The love-hate-love relationship Heat fans have had with Rio is quite inexplicable and unique to South Florida. It's something the rest of the NBA-watching country won't ever quite understand. Except for Grizzlies fans. Are you guys in for a real TREAT!
Here now are the nine greatest Mario Chalmers moments in a Heat uniform:
9. All of the Wario Moments
Turnovers are part of the game. It happens to the best of players, But NO ONE turned the ball over in
8. All the Times He Was Yelled At
It's comforting to know that all of Heat fans' frustrations with Mario was shared with his teammates. Mario is a frustrating dude. So it wasn't just us. During the Big Three era, Mario got yelled at a lot. And for good reason. From Erik Spoelstra to Dwyane Wade to Chris Bosh, Rio felt the wrath of bubbled-over exasperation. And you have to be pretty damned exasperating to piss off Chris Bosh. Mario, of course, drew the ire of LeBron James many a time, most notably, during the 2013 NBA Finals, when all of America got to see just why we loved/hated Rio so much.
7. The Time Obama Stuck Up for Him for Always Being Yelled At
Mario being yelled at by his teammates hit its peak moment when the president of the United States knew it might be coming during a team picture at the White House.
6. The Time He Ended Linsanity
Mario was more than just a punching bag. The guy could play basketball. When he wasn't killing momentum for the offense, Mario could seriously ball out. And when Linsanity hit in 2012 and nobody in the entire NBA could seem to stop Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin from destroying everyone, along came Chalmers and put a stop to all of the dumb.
During the span where Lin was introduced to the NBA-watching world, he averaged 23.9 points and 9.2 assists per game. Lin also averaged having his name mentioned on ESPN roughly 100,000,000,000 times per minute. But when he visited the Heat for the first time, it was all over for the Linsanity. A swarming defense led by none other than Mario himself ended Lin's run of invincibility. Lin finished the night 1-for-11 shooting, scoring just eight points, with three assists and eight turnovers. He would never recover, and Linsanity would never return. Mario Chalmers ended Linsanity and shut up a million insufferable Knicks fans in the process. You're welcome, America.
5. All of His Terrible Videobombs
One of the most fun things about the Big Three era were all the funny postgame video bombs the fellas would do. After every win, Heat fans would wait to see what crazy thing LeBron, D-Wade, or Bosh would come up with for our entertainment. But sometimes, they would decide not to video bomb. It was a creative act that needed to be done just right and only a few times per month. And that's when Mario would take matters into his own hands and video-bomb people himself. Only they were never funny and always bizarre. Like, what the hell was this? Made no sense.
Where the other guys seemed to naturally flow into a silly moment, Mario seemed to do his on a whim, jumping into camera view without thinking first. Basically, Mario Chalmers would video-bomb exactly the same way he played basketball.
4. His First-Half Buzzer-Beater in Game 7 of the 2013 NBA Finals
Ray Allen's shot in Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals will forever be arguably the most iconic three-pointer in franchise history — a shot that salvaged the season and spurred Miami to its third title. But many forget that the Heat still had to play a Game 7 before that could happen. And in the first half of that game, things seemed to sway toward the San Antonio Spurs' favor. That
It also gave us this wonderful
3. That Time He Faked a Shoulder Injury and Then Nailed a Three-Pointer in the ECF
This right here. PEAK MARIO.
2. The Time He Tied the Franchise Mark for Three-Pointers in a Game
It was late in the season, and the Heat had struggled all year against crap teams like Sacramento. But on this night, Mario could do no wrong. In what will go down as the greatest regular-season performance of his career, Mario pretty much flushed every shot from downtown he flung into the air. He scored 34 points, hitting a franchise record ten three-pointers, tying him with Brian Shaw for the most treys hit in a single game by a Heat player. Even with D-Wade and LeBron on the floor, this night belonged to Mario. KA-BOOM.
1. The Mario Motherf***ing Chalmers Game
OK. Here goes. Ready? The Miami Heat probably wouldn't have won the 2012 NBA Finals without Mario Chalmers. That's right. We said it. And it's true. In what had been an epically competitive series, the pivotal Game 4 would be the game that would decide who won the title. With the Heat leading the series 2-1, the Thunder was poised to steal the game, tie the series 2-2, and take things back to its arena, where it was virtually unbeatable. Win Game 4, and Miami would take a stranglehold of the series.
Enter Mario Chalmers.
When the Big Three had trouble scoring, it was Mario to the rescue. When the Thunder made its runs, it was Rio who was there to curb momentum. In the end, Chalmers scored 25 points in what would be the game of his life. Chalmers saved the season and brought the Heat within one game of immortality, which they eventually cashed in. Mario's big night was famously encapsulated in a moment where a hot mic picked up Dwyane Wade calling out his praises, "Mario motherfucking Chalmers! Motherfucker!"