MIAMI — Chris Bosh held the NBA championship trophy, LeBron James stood atop a double-decker bus with a cigar in his mouth, and Chris Andersen flapped his arms in a nod to his “Birdman” moniker.
The NBA champion Miami Heat were in quite a mood to party on Monday.
Players, families, staff members and friends crammed buses, flatbed trucks and cars for the parade honoring the latest Heat championship, with the caravan snaking its way through downtown Miami before a huge crowd of fans. A crowd of up to 400,000 was expected on a hot, steamy morning where the heat index reached the mid-90s by 11 a.m.
“It’s the ultimate,” James told Sun Sports, the Heat broadcast partner, as he rode along the route. “It’s the ultimate. This is what I came down here, to be able to have a parade at the end of the year. I’m extremely blessed, man. It doesn’t get any better than this.”
Several players held super-soaker squirt guns and sprayed water on fans below, confetti blew through the air and dotted the streets, and bands blared as the team rolled past with horns honking. Heat managing general partner Micky Arison and team president Pat Riley stood in the front of one bus, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra — his championship cap turned backward — waved and clapped at fans, and Dwyane Wade pointed at people along the route.
“All the fans that we’re seeing here is who supported us throughout the whole season, man,” James said. “This is the least we could do is ride through the city and show our appreciation.”
Wade said that without the fans, Miami wouldn’t have found a way to win the title.
“It’s humbling. It’s very humbling to be here,” Wade said, gazing out at the enormous crowd. “I envision a lot of things. I can’t say I envisioned this. This parade down Biscayne Boulevard was once a vision by Coach Riley and now we’ve taken this ride three times. It’s special.”