Champions on parade: Thousands cheer on Miami Heat players

06/24/2013 9:21 AM

06/24/2013 5:26 PM

Tens of thousands of fans celebrated the second straight Miami Heat championship parade outside the AmericanAirlines Arena. Inside, the team partied as well, and talked about making history.

The Afterparty, 2:30 p.m.

After a franchise-record 66 wins, a 27-game winning streak, and a second straight championship, the Miami Heat wrapped up a historic season Monday inside the American Airlines Arena.

Outside, tens of thousands of fans celebrated.

“We feel like Miami parties better than any city in the world,” said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra.

And inside, the team talked about family, hard work, and history.

“It really is about respect,” said team president Pat Riley. “And this is what players, I think, ultimately play for. You don’t merely want to be considered the best of the best in anything you do. You want to be considered the only ones who do what you do. You separate yourselves from the pack. And I I don't think there’s any doubt they’ve separated themselves from the pack this year. And their names are going to be respected and honored.”

The team was indeed honored, by the Miami City Commission and the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners.

Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado had a bold prediction for the NBA champions.

“Next year,” he said, “Repeat! Repeat!”

-DAVID SMILEY

A Snail’s Pace, 12:15 p.m.

The Miami Heat parade planners are letting this second straight championship marinate a little longer before heading indoors to celebrate with season ticket holders.

Last year, the players breezed past crowds tens-of-thousands strong in about a half hour. This year, after people complained, it’s 45 minutes and still going.

Katarina Alshaier, 16, a junior at Everglades High School in Miramar, is celebrating the Heat victory in the same parade spot as last year.

“We act like the caboose of the train,” said Alshaier, wearing all white Heat gear and shaking red maracas at the bend where Southeast 4th Street becomes Biscayne Boulevard.

“The players pass us here we’re going to follow them all the way to the arena.”

-BRITTNY VALDES and DAVID SMILEY

Confetti Time, Noon

The rain let up, and double-decker buses and semi-trucks rolled slowly down Eighth Street and onto Biscayne Boulevard carrying Heat players, team executives and their families.

Game 6 hero Ray Allen sprayed fans with a Super Soaker. Chris Bosh clutched the Larry O’Brien trophy. LeBron James chewed a stogie.

“It’s the ultimate,” he told Miami Heat broadcaster Eric Reid. “This is why I came down here, to have a parade at the end of the year.”

To catch the victory lap, Heat fans made up fake ailments - like Winston’s toothache —- and trekked to Biscayne Boulevard at midnight.

A crowd of fans climbed a railroad signal in front of the Freedom Tower like a scaffolding to get an overhead view. They stood atop the signal, and clung to the ladders on either side.

Miami Officer Chester joked at the climbers saying “when y’all come down from there, I’m gonna arrest all y’all.” None were arrested, though

Natalie Giraldo received a trespass warning from Officer Chester.

“I took so many pictures, there were so many people. It was awesome,” Giraldo said.

-DAVID SMILEY AND DANIEL DUCASSI

Parade is On, 11:20 a.m.

Heat players are out atop buses, now that the parade is on.

Rain on Your Parade, 11 a.m.

A downpour over downtown Miami is expected to delay the Miami Heat championship parade for about a half-hour, according to a Miami police spokeswoman.

Some fans ran for cover under Marina Blue, where a security guard tried in vain to eject them.

But the weather didn’t bother Rachel Warren, 31.

As the rain came down at 10:30 a.m. she stood in a bikini under her Heat t-shirt in her front row spot with friends Jennifer Dantzler, 28, and Heather Parnther, 30.

“Let it rain,” she said.

A Heat fan since 1988, Warren said nothing could deter her from seeing the players ride by.

“It’s something everyone in Miami can agree one for once,” she said.

-CHABELI HERRERA and DANIEL DUCASSI

Inside the Arena, 10:30 a.m.

Rain began to fall about 10:30 a.m. in downtown, and crowds ran for cover under anything resembling an overhang.

Inside the arena, the crowd was not the usual lower bowl, high heel, short skirt group. T-shirts and shorts were preferred for this celebration.

And Spandex.

Miami Jackson Senior High teacher Pruchelle Revell jumped into the middle of a group of Spandex-clad Party City cheerleaders. The 27-year veteran schoolteacher looked as limber as LeBron, doing a split while everyone cheered around her.

A Heat season ticket holder, she loves the team mentality of the Heat.

“I’m a teacher, so I know it takes a team effort to succeed. No one can do it alone.”

Upstairs, the 400 level, so rowdy during games, was quiet.

Jennifer Chambless of Kendall her sons Manny and Joseph and niece Maria Amat shared a peaceful, early lunch. All these days later, they’re talking about Ray Allen’s big three-pointer to save game 6.

“I was pacing around the house,” she said. “I couldn’t watch. I had to walk out of the room. I saw it on replay.”

-CONNIE OGLE

Getting the Party Started, 10:15 a.m.

Mikey Soto hopped on the Metromover to get to the Heat’s victory parade Monday, which was better than braving traffic.

The downfall?

The wobbly ride two stories above the street didn’t sit so well with the alcohol in his belly, a mixture of vodka and Gatorade.

“Yeah, it’s only 9:30, but we’ve been drinking since 8,” said Soto, an FIU student. “The metro does make me kind of nauseous.”

Around Soto, fans dressed in jerseys, championships hats and wigs jam-packed Metromover cars and then emptied out at the Bayfront park station.

Out on the street, Gerald Laguerre held up a sign that read, “Welcome to the Tim Duncan retirement party,” a reference to the aging superstar big man on the runner-up San Antonio Spurs.

“The party’s right here, right now,” Laguerre said.

Yes, South Florida was feeling cocky Monday.

Said Stephen Katopodias, 19: “If you live in South Florida and you’re not a Heat fan, you’re a scrub.”

-SAM ABASSI and DANIEL DUCASSI

Parade Route Packed, 9:45 a.m.

If you haven’t claimed your spot yet along the Miami Heat championship parade rout yet, good luck.

Highway traffic is jammed, and it doesn’t get any better in downtown Miami, where police have shut off intersections to prepare for the team’s victory lap.

“There’s so many people here it’s incredible,” said Miami Police spokeswoman Kenia Reyes. “A lot of people want to make it downtown and they’ve got to remember there’s a big parade route.”

The commute into downtown Miami from the Golden Glades stood at about an hour, according to Traffic.com, and the roads in the city weren’t any better. Parking in some spots cost as much as $50.

Some beat the traffic Monday morning by riding the Metrorail.

Carlos Hernandez, from Coral gables, woke his family before dawn this morning to make it to downtown on time. He said they caught the Metrorail from the Douglas Road station, but had to deal with delays.

“It definitely beats driving all the way down, looking and paying a crazy number for parking and then getting out of insane traffic,” Hernandez said. “But man, these delays are killing me.”

Over at Southeast Seventh Street, twins Adrian and Justin Pedron, 12, attended the parade with their dad, Ruben Pedron, 50, to see Lebron James and Dwyane Wade.

With a white cardboard sign that reads “champions,” Pedron, a commercial real estate manager at Suntrust, said they attended last year’s parade and that they learned from it.

“We woke up at 6:30 a.m. today and arrived at 8,” said Pedron, of Brickell. “The boys skipped summer camp today. We are going to use today as a vacation.”

-SAM ABASSI and DAVID SMILEY

Rise and Shine, Miami, 8:45 a.m.

Don’t sleep on the Heat, Miami.

Not the team, nor the temperature. And certainly not on the traffic.

Fans of the back-to-back championship team began lining up along the victory parade route before dawn, some as early as 5 a.m., perhaps learning their lesson from last year when many missed the parade by arriving late. Early risers will get prime seats along the victory parade route that starts at 11 a.m. at Southwest Eighth Street and ends in front of the American Airlines Arena.

Many came by Metrorail and county bus, others by car.

But if you’re driving, hurry up. Police will close off downtown traffic at about 9 a.m, although accounts on Twitter suggest traffic and parking were already a huge headache by 8:30 a.m.

Also, don’t forget to stuff your pockets with water bottles and sunblock, and maybe an umbrella. Police have banned backpacks from the parade route, but temperatures are expected to reach into the upper 80s with chance of rain.

-DAVID SMILEY

6, a.m.

It’s parade time.

Before you head out Monday morning to celebrate the Miami Heat with a parade that ends in front of AmericanAirlines Arena, here’s a guide to help you navigate among the thousands expected to line the parade route.

The route

The Heat’s victory march will wrap through downtown Miami and culminate at AmericanAirlines Arena with an invite-only victory rally. Only season-ticket holders will be granted entry into the arena.

This is not the time to be fashionably late. Many missed the parade last year by arriving late.

The procession will begin at 11 a.m. at the corner of Southwest 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. The parade is expected to last from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. before heading into the arena.

-DAVID SMILEY

Transportation

For those who are not bringing their cars, Miami-Dade Transit has increased Metrorail service during the parade.

Metrorail will run every five minutes to all stations near the arena.

The closest Metrorail stations are at Government Center, Brickell and Overtown Transit Village. Overtown Transit Village is the closest stop to the arena. The Metrorail costs $2 per person per ride.

Express Pay lanes will be open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday. Attendants will be collecting exact change. No change will be provided. People with EASY Cards and EASY Tickets can use them. The trains can be tracked at miamidade.gov/transit. Train arrival information is also available at Metrorail stations.

Metromover will run with additional cars during the parade. To reach the parade route, passengers can exit at Brickell, Eighth Street, Fifth Street, Bayfront Park and College/Bayside stations. Park West and Freedom Tower stations are the closest to the arena. The Metromover is free for all riders.

Some Metrobus routes will be detoured due to road closures in the downtown Miami and Brickell areas for the parade. Those routes include 3, 6, 8, 11, 24, 48, 77, 207, 208, C and S.

For more information on the enhanced Metrorail and Metromover service, or on the Metrobus routes being detoured, call 305-891-3131 from 7 a.m. Monday. Riders can also download the free iPhone app ‘Miami-Dade Transit Tracker’ to help plan.

Parking

For those traveling with cars, free parking is available at Park and Ride lots. For a complete list of Park and Ride and Metrorail lots, visit miamidade.gov/transit.

Here is a list of nearby city of Miami parking garages. For rates, go to miamiparking.com

Courthouse Garage, 40 NW Third St., (between Northwest First Avenue and North Miami Avenue), closest Metromover Station: Government CenterCultural Center Garage, 90 SW First St. (at Southwest First Avenue), closest Metromover Station: Miami Avenue College Station Garage, 190 NE Third St. (at Northeast Second Avenue), closest Metromover Station: College / Bayside Convention Center Garage, 100 SE Second St. (Bank of America Building), closest Metromover Station: Knight Center

Parking is also available at several Metrorail stations. Parking costs $4 for the day and can be paid for at the express pay lanes with Metrorail fare. MDT suggests that people attending the parade park at the following Metrorail stations: South Miami, 5949 Sunset Dr., South Miami; Okeechobee, 2005 W. Okeechobee Rd., Hialeah; or Douglas Road, 111 Ruiz Ave., Coral Gables.

Traffic

Street closures for the parade begin at 9 a.m., including Southwest Eighth Street near downtown. The streets will remain closed until the end of the parade, which is expected to be around 12:30 p.m.

Officials are urging out-of-towners to use public transportation. Fans coming from the north can take the 595 Express public bus, which departs at 7 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. from the BB&T Center in Sunrise and travels to Brickell Plaza along the parade route. Tri-Rail, which runs from Fort Lauderdale to 79th Street, is adding a southbound train to its regular schedule. Those who take Tri-Rail should get off at the 79th Street transfer station and take Metrorail and Metromover downtown.

Furthermore, PortMiami will stop inbound and outbound traffic from 11:15 a.m. to noon to allow for the passage of the parade caravan.

Drivers are encouraged to take alternate routes during the parade. Police will be stationed along the route for assistance.

At the parade

People planning to watch the parade should arrive a few hours early to secure a viewing spot. Last year, tens of thousands of people lined up along the parade route to catch a glimpse of their favorite Heat players.

Barricades will be placed along the side of the streets of the parade route. People can bring chairs to watch the parade from, but spots along the barricade fill up early.

No backpacks or babybags of any kind will be allowed at the parade, according to Miami Police, a reflection of the Boston Marathon bombings. People with bags will be asked to leave or to secure them in their cars.

Miami Fire Rescue will have six hydration stations located along the parade route where water will be provided to attendees. There will be two paramedics at each station. There will also be 16 paramedics patrolling the parade route, and eight transport teams positioned along the route in case anyone needs first-aid attention.

Miami Fire Rescue advises that people bring their own water, sunblock and anything they might need for their children.

Who will be in the parade?

In addition to the players, coaches, owners and Miami Heat staff, the Heat Experience, including mascot and dancers, will participate in the parade. Local political dignitaries are also expected.

There will be no celebration outside of the arena once the parade ends. Miami Police will clear the area immediately after the parade. Only season ticket holders and people with tickets for the rally will be allowed inside the arena.

The Rally

The rally inside the AAA is open only to season ticketholders.

For those with tickets, doors to the AAA will open at 9 a.m. Anyone attending must be on AAA property by 10:30 a.m. or they will not be allowed in, the team said Friday. The rally is expected to begin after the players arrive at 12:30 p.m. and will end at 2 p.m. There will be no parking at the arena.

The day’s festivities will be carried on Sun Sports beginning at 10 a.m. and can be seen online at MiamiHerald.com, FoxSportsFlorida.com and on HEAT.com.

Miami Herald staff writers Adam Beasley, Margaux Herrera, Connie Ogle, Fernando Peinado, Hannah Sampson, and Brittny Valdes contributed to this report.

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