Champagne flowed, music pulsated and joy washed over the euphoric Heat locker room into the wee hours Friday morning, players jumping on seats, dancing to the rhythmic beats and relishing every moment.
Amid the merry mayhem, members of the Heat family and their loved ones paused for reflection:
For owner Micky Arison, winning in Dallas in 2006 was great, but to do it in front of your home fans is the greatest feeling in the world. To get behind three series in a row this is unbelievable! I thought we were the better team last year, but we werent ready.
These playoffs, Arison said, were the biggest rollercoaster ride I can ever remember, down 1-2 to Indiana, and everybody saying were too small now that Chris Bosh was out. Down 3-2 to Boston, everybody wrote us off. I got thousands of tweets trade this, fire this. Lets wait until its all done and then see whos smiling.
Mike Miller, whose seven three-pointers were the most ever by a non-starter in a Finals game, eyeballed Arison afterward, and I told him, You have the worlds greatest timing! Arison said.
So much contribution Norris Cole. Shane Battier was huge. Everybody kept saying were a two-man team or three-man team. Well, which team was a two-man team? Oklahoma City is an amazing team; theyre going to have a lot of opportunities for this.
And what about LeBron James? LeBrons the best! Arison said. Hes gotten so much crap and he doesnt deserve it. I dont care where [people] live, they should enjoy his special talents. Game 6 in Boston may have been the greatest performance Ive ever seen. Hes amazing.
Dwyane Wade had an up-and-down playoffs, but when it counted, he was there, Arison said. He had a great game in Indiana. We needed it.
Did the world root against this team? I never believed that, going around the country, seeing Heat jerseys every where I went, places like the Philippines and China, Arison said. It felt sometimes like all the national media was against us. I felt [people] appreciated what unique talent we have on this team, not just LeBron. This was a special team to watch.
Hes a warrior
There was Jennifer Miller, standing on her husbands locker seat, soaking in the moment while Mike ambled around the arena, posing for pictures and doing interviews.
Hes a warrior, a great player, and it was such a time coming for him, Jennifer Miller beamed on a night Miller drained seven three-pointers, one less than Ray Allens NBA Finals record. His mom and I were holding each other crying.
She knows her husbands back causes him some pain. But he wont tell me how much. Getting out of bed, hes like, Argh! Every time I say, Are you OK? he says, Im fine. I tell him to stop grimacing because I cant take it anymore in the stands!
In the bowels of the arena, Miller speaks about his roller-coaster two-year Heat tenure up and down, but worth every minute of it. Through the injuries, Im just glad they didnt take me back to the barn and put me down.
He doesnt know if he is retiring at 32. He needs back surgery, but its difficult to envision any athlete walking away from $18.6 million left on a guaranteed contract.