“I’ve been here since the first game, so this championship is special to me,’’ Shapiro said. “I didn’t buy one in ’06, and I regretted it.’’
A few feet away, Josh Frank of North Miami Beach decided on the $110 cufflinks.
“I’m not going to wear a ring because it’s not like I played in the games or am part of the team, but the cuff links is a more subtle way to commemorate the championship,’’ Frank said. He also planned to buy a few $10 plastic rings for his children.
In addition to the unveiling of the rings, Tuesday served as the launch of several new arena amenities.
Not to be outdone by the Marlins Park’s Clevelander bar and Sun Life Stadium’s Club LIV, the Heat upped its hip quotient with the opening of Hyde lounge, a 5,000 square-foot nightclub inside the arena that includes multiple bars and a private dining room.
The arena’s Dewar’s Clubhouse got a facelift, two Rosa Mexicano carts were added to the concourse, two full-size bars were added to the 400 Level, and a gluten free cart added vegetarian and vegan menu options.
Fans seemed to be enjoying the festive atmosphere, as were the players and coaches.
“There has been so much buildup,’’ Coach Erik Spoelstra said before the game. “We’ve talked about how we want to honor the ceremony, but we know the main thing is the game and we do not want to ruin it for the fans. This is the first time we will really have an opportunity to see our fans officially, with a full house. It brings us back to how difficult it was for us to be able to get over that hump and do this as an organization. We wanted to be able to share that with our fans.’’
The last time the Heat held a ring ceremony, in 2006, the game ended badly. The Heat lost 108-66 to the Chicago Bulls. It was the worst opening loss ever for a reigning NBA champion. Tuesday night, the Heat players vowed to send fans home happy. At the very least, many of them went home shinier.