Tens of thousands honor the Miami Heat with parade and rally
MIAMI The Miami Heat have officially ended its season on Monday with a massive championship parade and rally that was attended by thousands of fans.
Heat players took turns thanking a packed American Airlines Arena filled with fans wearing "white hot" shirts and cheering "Let's Go Heat."
Dwyane Wade hugged the championship trophy and echoed what players, coaches and many fans have said they felt after winning the NBA Finals last week.
"The joy this trophy has brought to all of us is amazing," Wade said to a cheering crowd.
The celebration came shortly after thousands showed up early to the streets of downtown Miami to attend a parade.
As the rally moved inside the AmericanAirlinesArena, Miami Heat's D.J. Irie, led the crowd in a "3-0-5! 3-0-5!" chant even though Mike Miller, James Jones and Udonis Haslem live in the 9-5-4.
The first six rows of floor seating remained open for families and friends of those on the parade route.
The rally began with Queen's "We Are The Champions" followed by the introduction of each player and coaches.
Although the Heat announced before Monday's festivities that the post-parade celebration would not be shown on the screen outside the arena, thousands of fans remained outside at the facility's doorsteps and behind barricades hoping for a glimpse of the party inside.
The fans were peaceful although sporadic "This is not right!" chants could be heard echoing down Biscayne Boulevard.
The rally comes after thousands showed up early Monday morning to attend a short, but energetic parade.
The parade, featuring what seemed an endlss stream of tinker-tape, started on time with Miami Heat players appearing in a series of double-decker buses.
Burnie, the mascot, was in the lead bus, which was followed by a bus carrying Pat Riley. The first player seen on a bus is Chris Bosh.
LeBron James was in the last of about a half-dozen red buses and was spotted taking his own photo in between waving to fans gathered at the starting point of the parade.
Fans pulled out camera-phones by the dozens to snap photos as Heat president Pat Riley, coach Erik Spoelstra and the players traveled along the parade route.
Some of the biggest cheers came for Heat forward Shane Battier, who celebrated like a Miamian by banging a wooden spatula against a small frying pan.
“A highlight? I can’t pick a highlight. Seeing everyone and everything was a highlight,” said Tashara Jones of Miami. “I wanted to support my Heat. This was great.”
But the parade moved quickly down Biscayne Boulevard, which disappointed fans that were hoping for a little bit more face-time with their favorite players, particularly since the post-parade celebration inside the AmericanAirlines Arena was limited to those with tickets.
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