For the Miami Dolphins, the search is in its third decade. When Dan Marino left, no one arrived to replace him.

Or, more to the point, seemingly everyone has tried to replace him at quarterback, from Ray Lucas to Jay Fiedler to Chad Henne and on and on and on. It is a help-wanted ad that has been posted in perpetuity.

Yet it is a South Florida star search that does not stand alone, with the Miami Heat about to enter their second decade in the search for a successor to Tim Hardaway.

The irony is that a Marino jersey, unveiled to honor of the South Florida icon, hangs in the rafters at AmericanAirlines Arena, a reminder of irreplaceable force.

When Mike Bibby joined the Heat two weeks ago, he became the team's 26th point guard since Hardaway's August 2001 departure.

"That number is staggering," Heat guard Dwyane Wade said last week. Of those 26, only three have played at least three seasons: Jason Williams, Chris Quinn and current sidelined starter Mario Chalmers.

"Now I hope I can be here another year and be the longest," Chalmers said.

It has been an eclectic collection.

There have been players attempting reunion tours, such as Bimbo Coles, Rafer Alston and Steve Smith.

There have been those seeking to resurrect careers, from Rod Strickland to Penny Hardaway to Shaun Livingston.

There have been the banished, such as Smush Parker and Robert Hite, and those who cashed in elsewhere after fleeting achievement here, such as Mike James, Damon Jones and Keyon Dooling.