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10 Things You Didn't Know about Miami Heat Owner Micky Arison

Micky Arison

Generally speaking, most people will know Micky Arison as the current owner of the Miami Heat. However, it should be mentioned that he is the current Chairman of the Carnival Corporation as well, which is notable because said corporation is the biggest cruise operator in the entire world. Here are 10 things that you may or may not have known about Micky Arison:

1. Son of Ted Arison

Arison is the son of Ted Arison. In short, Ted Arison was born in what was then the British Mandate of Palestine in the 1920s. As such, he served in the British Army in World War 2 and then the Israel Defense Forces in the First Arab-Israeli War.

Afterwards, he was involved in Israeli shipping for a time but headed over to the United States to pursue business opportunities in the 1950s, with the result that he went on to co-found both Norwegian Cruise Lines and Carnival Cruise Lines.

2. Sister of Shari Arison

It is interesting to note that Ted Arison had two children with his first wife Mina Wasserman. One is Micky Arison, while the other is Shari Arison. Currently, Shari Arison is the owner of the Arison Group, which oversees both businesses and philanthropic organizations. As such, she is the wealthiest woman in Israel.

3. Born in Tel Aviv, Israel

In any case, Arison was born in Tel Aviv, which is one of the most important cities in Israel. It is interesting to note that Tel Aviv started out as a new neighborhood founded outside of the city of Jaffa by Jewish immigrants during the First Aliyah.

However, Tel Aviv has seen so much growth since that time that the two cities have been merged into what is called Tel Aviv-Yafo, which is a name meant to preserve something of its historical roots. After all, Yafo is just the Hebrew version of Jaffa.

4. Grew Up in the United States

With that said, Arison grew up in the United States, seeing as how his father brought the entire family with him when he went to said country for the sake of pursuing business opportunities. In particular, it is worth noting that Arison's family lived in New York City before relocating to Miami.

5. His Father Played an Important Role in Founding the Miami Heat

Arison's father played a very important role in founding the Miami Heat. In short, what happened was that the state of Florida had no NBA team in the 1980s, meaning that a number of Floridian cities made an attempt to secure a NBA franchise when the chance came up.

In Miami's case, Ted Arison agreed to provide the financial backing in exchange for becoming the majority shareholder, though the actual running of the franchise would be entrusted to the minority shareholders. Eventually, Miami winded up becoming one of the two Floridian cities to secure a NBA franchise because the decision-makers didn't want to choose between Miami and Orlando, which was made possible by increasing the number of new teams from three to four.

6. Bought Controlling Interest in the Miami Heat in 1995

It wasn't until 1995 that Micky Arison bought a controlling interest in the Miami Heat. This happened because the team had some serious issues at that point in time, with examples ranging from poor performance on the basketball court to a serious lack of name recognition. As such, it can be said that Arison's purchase of the controlling interest was what prompted the Miami Heat's rise from obscurity.

7. Micky Arison Hired Pat Riley

Arison was the one who hired Pat Riley to become not just the head coach of the Miami Heat but also its team president in 1995. By 2006, Riley had coached the Miami Heat to their first NBA championship, which was his fifth overall as a head coach. While Riley retired from his second stint as the head coach of the Miami Heat in 2008, he is still very much involved in their operations as the team president.

8. Started Out in Sales

It is interesting to note that Arison spent some time at the University of Miami but wound up dropping out so that he could go work in the sales department of the Carnival Corporation in 1972. By 1979, he was President, and by 1990, he was both CEO and Chairman. As such, Arison has overseen some of the Carnival Corporation's most important moments, with examples ranging from him helping it go public to him overseeing the expansion of its share of its chosen market via the acquisition of its competitors.

9. Bought Cunard Because of RMS Queen Mary 2

One of the most notable ships built under Arison's leadership would be the RMS Queen Mary 2, which stands out because it is the biggest ocean liner ever built. However, it is interesting to note that Arison didn't build said ship because he had bought out Cunard Line. Instead, he bought out Cunard Line because perhaps unsurprisingly, building a ship of that size capable of handling its eventual duties called for specialized expertise and experience that couldn't be found elsewhere.

10. Got Convinced By Titanic

Arison was convinced to build the RMS Queen Mary 2 by his daughter Kelly, who convinced him to take her to see Titanic. Said move built on his preexisting fondness for ocean liners, which started up when he and his family headed to the United States on the RMS Mauretaniai.

After seeing the movie, Arison realized that there was still a fair amount of nostalgic interest in transatlantic sea voyages, meaning that while the building of such a ship would be a huge investment of resources, it would also enable his corporation to capitalize on a market that could be convinced to pay premium rates.

Allen Lee

Written by Allen Lee

Allen Lee is a Toronto-based freelance writer who studied business in school but has since turned to other pursuits. He spends more time than is perhaps wise with his eyes fixed on a screen either reading history books, keeping up with international news, or playing the latest releases on the Steam platform, which serve as the subject matter for much of his writing output. Currently, Lee is practicing the smidgen of Chinese that he picked up while visiting the Chinese mainland in hopes of someday being able to read certain historical texts in their original language.

Read more posts by Allen Lee

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