It’s easy to forget that the Miami Heat was literally the last team to get into the playoffs this year.

Now the eighth-seeded Heat stand four wins away from being the last team standing.

Indeed, it has been an improbable journey for Miami, from a regular season underachiever, to a team that barely squeaked into the playoffs, to now being in the NBA Finals—you can’t sell Hollywood on their story because no one would believe it to be true.

But as we look ahead to the NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and the Denver Nuggets, Miami’s journey is about more than just a band of so-so talent morphing into a spectacular team at the right time.

The Heat Culture, led, created and cultivated by team President Pat Riley since taking over in 1995, consists of many things—with diversity, opportunity and mental toughness being at the top of the list.

The Heat stand out on all three fronts which is why Miami is one again among the last teams standing in the NBA, seeking a fourth NBA title since 2006.

While most teams look to build their roster through the draft with high picks, the Heat Culture has allowed them to absorb the unwanted and cast aside talent of professional basketball and bring them into the fold where they have thrived in ways no one but the Heat saw coming.

Of the 17 players on the Heat roster, 9 of them were undrafted. And of those undrafted players, 7 of them are on the active roster.

Also keep in mind that many of the players they have that were drafted, became part of the Heat culture (Kevin Love and Kyle Lowry come to mind right away) after their best days in the league were a thing of the past.

The Heat’s undrafted players aren’t brought in as practice fodder. They come in knowing that the Heat is going to do more than just give them a chance to make the roster, but a chance to play - a lot. It’s the kind of roster diversity that’s seldom talked about, but nonetheless has been a vital factor in Miami’s success.

In Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals against Boston, Miami had more undrafted starters—three, to be exact—than drafted ones—two.

That speaks to their understanding and willingness to provide a legit opportunity for any and all who are on the team, something that is not the case when teams tend to provide more opportunities for their drafted talent than undrafted.

Because the path that so many on the Heat roster have taken to be where they are, this creates a different kind of mental toughness that is obvious to see in both how they play and how they handle adversity.

After jumping out to a 3-0 series lead against Boston in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference finals, the Celtics rallied to win three straight and force a Game 7 that was played in Boston.

There was never a moment publicly by the Heat that showed any doubts or concerns about whether it would win Game 7 on the road.

Did. They. Ever.

The Heat took control from the outset and dominated play in every way imaginable as part of a decisive 103-84 win.

Diversity. Opportunity. Mental toughness. Those were all on display in Game 7 and are all traits of the Miami Heat Culture, traits that many - especially people of color - understand and appreciate the value of.

“People can relate to this team,” said Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra. “Life is hard. Professional sports is just kind of a reflection sometimes of life, that things don't always go your way. The inevitable setbacks happen and it's how you deal with that collectively. There's a lot of different ways that it can go. It can sap your spirit. It can take a team down for whatever reason. With this group, it's steeled us and made us closer and made us tougher.”

That’s more than just talking points.

That’s just how it is with this team, this franchise.

It’s the Heat Culture.