MIAMI — When LeBron James and Chris Bosh came to Miami and joined Dwyane Wade two years ago, they promised a championship celebration.
And, now, they’ve delivered. With tens of thousands of fans lining the route, the Miami Heat held their championship parade on Monday. 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. “Best fans in the world.”
A celebration inside the team’s arena followed during the afternoon.
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 finals MVP LeBron James, who nodded and pointed to fans for much of the parade. James came to Miami after seven years in Cleveland and, after he and the Heat fell in the finals a year ago, he’s finally a champion.
“It’s good being around other people who support LeBron,” said Doug Mead of Toledo, Ohio, who came to the parade with his family. “They really don’t like him in Ohio. They celebrate when he loses.”
Everyone was celebrating in Miami on Monday. Micky Arison, the team’s managing general partner, snapped and tweeted several photos during the parade. Team president Pat Riley shouted, “`Thank you,” to fans over and over, as his wife, Chris, stood to his left and led “Let’s go Heat” chants.
Some fans began lining up for spots along the parade route Sunday night.
“I’ve been a fan since ‘89. For me personally I feel like I’m part of the Heat family,” said Dexter Pace of West Palm Beach. “I’ve been through the goods, the bads, the losses, the trades and now it’s like someone in my family has accomplished something. …. It’s going to mean a lot for the city of Miami, winning the championship.”
Associated Press Writer Jennifer Kay contributed to this report.
AP Photo/J Pat Carter, Lebron James