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Heat celebrate title with fans

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Associated Press
June 26, 2012
— The NBA championship trophy was center stage, bathed in white light and sitting on a pedestal. And each Miami Heat player offered it a different greeting.

Mike Miller bowed. Udonis Haslem kissed it three times. Chris Bosh hugged it, and LeBron James strolled past before waving at the crowd.


Dwyane Wade did something different. In a nod to his preferred postgame fashion style throughout the playoffs, he emerged with a pair of faux eyeglasses and slipped the frames onto the neck of the trophy. Heat president Pat Riley, coach Erik Spoelstra and team managing general partner Micky Arison all donned similar pairs of the black spectacles as well for the party.


The glasses were fake. The sentiments were all real.


And with that, two years after Wade, James and Bosh opened their time together with a celebration, they got the party they really wanted on Monday. Hundreds of thousands of people filled the streets of Miami for the Heat championship parade, and then 15,000 more got into the arena afterward for a long, loud reception for the NBA’s new kings.


“It’s the best feeling I’ve ever had. ... This was my dream, right here, to be able to hoist that Larry O’Brien Trophy up, hug it, grab it, never want to let it go,” James said.


During the parade, players and coaches were on double-decker buses with friends and family, most of them taking photos and video of the crowd. Other Heat staff were on flatbed trucks, as confetti fell and horns blared every step of the way. Wade cradled the championship trophy in his arms for much of the ride.


“I appreciate all our fans for sticking with us,” said the now two-time NBA champion Wade, adding, “Best fans in the world.”


And then the party moved inside, with a similar setup to the event that welcomed James and Bosh to Miami to play alongside Wade in July 2010. Music blared for nearly an hour as fans danced for joy, before the arena went dark briefly—and someone sneaked the trophy onto the stage.


Miami natives Haslem and James Jones got perhaps the loudest ovations of anyone outside of James, the finals MVP.


“Feels great, man,” said Haslem, who along with Wade is the lone holdover from Miami’s 2006 championship club.


Miami won the title by defeating Oklahoma City in five games in the NBA Finals. It was the second title for the Heat and the first for James, who nodded and pointed to fans for much of the parade.


Some fans began lining up for spots along the parade route Sunday night.


As the event ended, Bosh thanked the fans. “It feels right,” he said. “This is how it’s supposed to be ... and I would like to do it all the time.”



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