There will be basketball at AmericanAirlines Arena on Friday.
No, not the NBA. The league’s 2018-19 season is still more than three months away from tipping off.
The Big3 half-court basketball league is making a stop in Miami for the fifth week of its 10-week schedule.
And yes, that means plenty of former Miami Heat players will be making their return to their former home arena for a night of basketball.
In total, 11 former Heat players are in the league as either players or coaches. That list doesn’t include Rick Barry, the former Miami Hurricanes great, who serves as one of the league’s eight coaches.
Here are those former Miami Heat players who will descend upon AmericanAirlines Arena when the action begins at 8 p.m. on Friday.
We might as well start with the biggest name, right?
Amar’e Stoudemire, the former ninth overall pick in the 2002 NBA Draft and a six-time NBA All-Star, spent his final season in the league with the Miami Heat in 2015-16. In that year, Stoudemire played in 52 games (36 starts) and averaged 5.8 points and 4.3 rebounds while shooting 56.6 percent from the field in 14.7 minutes per game.
Now 35, Stoudemire is playing in his first season of Big3 as a co-captain for Tri State.
Chris ‘Birdman’ Andersen
The Heat signed Andersen to a deal in January 2013 and quickly became a reliable force in Miami’s quest for a second straight NBA championship. He averaged almost 15 minutes off the bench in 42 regular-season games and shot a remarkable 80.7 percent from the field in the NBA playoffs.
Anderson played two more seasons with the Heat, appearing in 132 games with 20 starts.
Anderson, 40, plays for Power in the Big3 league.
Marcus Banks made his way to Miami in February 2008, when the Phoenix Suns traded him and Shawn Marion to the Heat for Shaquille O’Neal. Banks played in 28 games with two starts for the Heat spanning over the end of the 2007-08 season and the start of the 2008-09 season. A little more than a year after being traded to Miami, he and Marion were traded to the Toronto Raptors in exchange for Jermaine O’Neal and Jamario Moon.
Banks, 36, is on the Ghost Ballers roster.
The Heat signed Mike Bibby off waivers on March 2, 2011, and he took over as Miami’s starting point guard down the stretch of the season and into the playoffs. He played in 22 regular-season games with 12 starts before playing and starting 20 playoff games and making it to his first NBA Finals. Miami lost the best-of-7 series to the Dallas Mavericks. The Heat did not re-sign Bibby after the season.
Bibby, 40, is the captain of Ghost Ballers.
Ricky Davis had two stints with the Miami Heat. During the first, in the 2000-01 season, he played just seven games before being sidelined with an ankle injury and then ultimately being traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers. In the second, during the 2007-08 season, Davis played in all 82 regular-season games with 47 starts. He averaged 13.8 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.4 assists while making a career-best 40.5-percent of his three-point attempts.
Davis, 38, is a co-captain of Ghost Ballers.
Robert Hite’s basketball career came to life in South Florida. It started with four seasons at the University of Miami from 2002-2006. It continued with a one-year stint with the Miami Heat after going undrafted out of college. The shooting guard played in 12 games that year, averaging 4.3 points and 1.3 rebounds in 11.3 minutes per game. He then played the majority of his professional career overseas.
Hite, 34, is on the Tri-State roster.
After starting his professional career overseas, Mike James’ first crack at the NBA came with the Miami Heat. He played in 93 games with Miami (eight starts) over two seasons (2001-2003) before going on to play 11 more years in the league with 10 more teams.
James, 43, plays for the Killer 3s.
Lewis, a two-time All-Star during his time with the then-Seattle SuperSonics (2005) and Orlando Magic (2009), was a contributor off the bench during the Heat’s 2013 NBA championship run. He played one more season with Miami after the title run before retiring from the league.
With the Big3, Lewis, 38, is the captain of the 3 Headed Monsters. He was the league’s inaugural MVP last season.
Jermaine O’Neal came to Miami late in the 2008-09 season as part of a trade with the Toronto Raptors and stayed with the team through the end of the 2009-10 season. In total, O’Neal started 97 regular-season games and had 10 playoff starts during his stint with the Heat.
O’Neal, 39, is the captain for Tri-State.
Gary Payton won an NBA championship with the Heat as a key bench player during the final years of his career. In two seasons with the Heat — from 2005 to 2007 — Payton played in 149 games with 53 starts and helped Miami win its first title in 2006.
Now, he’s on the other side of the game as a coach in the Big3 league. Payton, 49, leads the 3 Headed Monsters group that is a perfect 4-0 heading into its Week 5 set at AmericanAirlines Arena.
Quentin Richardson’s lone season with the Heat came in 2009-10. The swingman started 75 games that year, averaging 8.9 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.2 assists while playing in 27.4 minutes per game.
Richardson, 38, plays alongside Anderson on Power.