Chris Andersen Photos: Birdman's Year With The Miami Heat In Pictures (PHOTOS)

04/22/2013 04:11 pm ET | Updated Apr 22, 2013

Heat center Chris Andersen was a strange phenomenon before he signed with Miami in January, but there's already tremendous love in the 305 for the Birdman.

Perhaps that's because he almost caused Pat Riley to murder head coach Erik Spoelstra. Or maybe because he gamely rapped "Ice Ice Baby" for charity with Heat tin man Mike Miller, or because the giant Birdman loves animals, or because the city lacked pale, seemingly floating heads it could rally around.

It certainly didn't hurt that in Sunday night's first game of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Andersen sparked the Heat off the bench with seven rebounds and 10 points against the Milwaukee Bucks, including a putback dunk so pretty it had had LeBron James doing the "flap." ("Caw-caw!" as Twitter cried.)

A lumbering Texan with a mohawk and knuckle tats might be an unlikely hero for Miami -- or maybe not, since he did enjoy a 2-year drugs suspension from the NBA way back when -- but it's best not to question it. Just drink it in, like these great photos from Andersen's first few months with the Heat:

Best Birdman Photos With The Miami Heat