The Heat won! Party’s over. Hangovers have been nursed, sleep caught up on. So let’s do it all over again.
It’s time for a parade.
Bring the pots and pans back out. Make some more noise. Why not? The real thunder’s here now, baby, not in OKC’s corral.
Monday’s the day, Brickell and downtown Miami the place.
Victory festivities start early, at 9 a.m. At 11 a.m. the cavalcade of the newly crowned NBA champs will wend its way from Brickell Village over the Miami River to the AmericanAirlines Arena, site of the great vanquishing of the Oklahoma City pretenders to King James’ rightful throne.
And the people shall be cheerful. Although it will be Monday and maybe some of them should be at work.
“I just got Monday off so I can go to the PARADE!!!!” Marli@marlid83 tweeted on Friday afternoon.
Like Marli, other Heat fan twitteratti wore out their exclamation keys in happily ungrammatical anticipation.
“Can’t wait for the parade Monday” tweeted Andrew Moss@ABMoss88. “I still cant believe the heat are champs!!!!!!”
Believe it. (Not that we ever doubted it).
The championship glow hovered over bleary-eyed South Florida on a very wet Friday, a day after the Heat’s late-night Game 5 win had them dancing in the streets from Hialeah to South Beach.
Fans descended upon sporting goods stores to snatch up commemorative T-shirts and hats. The stop-and-go morning commute was spiced up by sports radio blaring Queen’s We Are The Champions.
Heat star Dwyane Wade began the morning with this tweet: “WOW..God is good..congrats to the city of Miami... yall deserve this moment...WORLD CHAMPION..#TeamNoSleep I love you guys..”
Later in the day, Finals MVP LeBron James tweeted: “OMFG I think it just hit me, I’m a CHAMPION!! I AM a CHAMPION!!”
For Heat fan Gerardo Rodriguez, the Finals triumph means sweet revenge. When the Heat lost the Finals in 6 games to the Dallas Mavericks last year, Rodriguez, who lives in Dallas, endured the further indignity of having to watch the Dallas victory parade, which passed right by the restaurant where he worked.
This year, though, Rodriguez will plans his first-ever visit to Miami to watch the Heat’s victory parade.
“I even converted my girlfriend into a Heat fan,” Rodriguez said. “She loves D-Wade.”
The parade of Heat players and coaches will start at the corner of Southeast Eighth Street and Second Avenue, head east on Eighth, then north on Brickell Avenue across the bridge and north on Biscayne Boulevard to the arena.
At 12:30 p.m., the team will go inside AmericanAirlines Arena for an additional private celebration reserved for season-ticket holders. Neither the parade nor the indoor festivities will be shown on the big screen on the arena’s exterior.
Thursday night, Game 5’s lopsided score made the outcome a foregone conclusion. But at the Clevelander in South Beach, they counted down the game’s final seconds like it was New Year’s Eve nonetheless.
When the clock hit all zeroes, the pool bar exploded with screams, hugs and high-fives.
“LeBron [James] did it,” said Jeff Hall, a Heat fan from Washington who traveled to South Florida for the NBA Finals. “They said he couldn’t do it, but he came to Miami and he brought home a ring. This is incredible.”
In households, sidewalks and street corners from coast to swamp, fans celebrated the second title in franchise history with pots, pans, baking sheets, ladles, spoons and any kind of kitchen utensil that made noise. Lots and lots of noise.
As a Heat win became inevitable, the sidewalks of West 49th Street in Hialeah swelled with chanting fans in Heat jerseys.
Cars added to the calamity, laying on their horns as they crept by. A man on a motorcycle revved his engine.
Once the win was official, fireworks went off. Clouds of baby powder were thrown into the air. And the noise? Well, it seemed like few folks in Hialeah would sleep Thursday night. People stood on the roofs of their cars. Entire bands played music from truck flatbeds. And the blaring sounds of car horns and pot-banging didn’t let up for a second.
In Westchester, fans started celebrating with kitchenware long before the final buzzer. People in Heat jerseys poured into the street as police tried to keep the rambunctious crowd contained on the sidewalk.
Mothers smothered babies with kisses. Teenagers jumped up and down. Cuban abuelos drinking coladas by the window of La Carreta smiled wide and opportunistic salesmen sold the first Miami Heat “champions” T-shirts for “ diez pesos” ($10).
At Midtown Sports Bar, fans immediately rushed out onto the street. As fireworks went off over Midtown, those without noisemakers honked their car horns.
As fans streamed out of the AmericanAirlines Arena, access roads turned to tailgate parties. One reveler stopped outside the Arsht Center, and fired off bottle rockets over the theater.
The mayors of Miami-Dade and Oklahoma City, who had bet on the NBA championship with the most famous cuisine from their respective cities — stone crabs from Miami and steak from Oklahoma — congratulated the efforts of both teams.
“The Heat sizzled on the court and those Oklahoma steaks are going to sizzle on my grill,” Gimenez said of his prize from OKC’s Mayor Mick Cornett. “This was an amazing series and I tip my hat to the Thunder and their fantastic fans for putting up a valiant effort.”