Reporting Carey Codd
MIAMI (CBSMiami) – From the fans packed into the American Airlines Arena to the people watching in bars across 2 counties, a massive cheer went up with the Miami Heat gave South Florida it’s second NBA Championship, erasing the pain of last year’s loss and vindicating Miami’s 3 kings and the team they lead.
Fans took to the street as soon as the final bucket fell, beating pots and pans in traditional Miami fashion, overjoyed after watching the hometown team survive close shave winds, come from behind series, and some great efforts from the opposing teams to win all the marbles.
“We’re bringing the championship home to Miami. LeBron promised us a ring and he got us our ring,” said Ivine Mulkey, 32.
Orlando Hernandez, 33, noted it had been a team effort, with major Game 5 contributions coming from supporting players Mike Miller, Mario Chalmers and Shane Battier.
“This is the best game they’ve ever had — the best final. It’s unbelievable how they stepped up. It’s not just one person. It’s everybody,” Hernandez said.
GALLERY: Game 5 And Celebration
GALLERY: Fans Celebrate Heat Win
At Bokamper’s bar in Miramar, the three-pointers brought the loudest cheers, but at the end there was still a bit of nervousness before the Heat put the game away. That brought fans to their feet with sustained cheers. You might have called it thunderous if it weren’t for the team they beat.
Fans erupted at every Heat basket, steal or defensive stop. The cheering was non-stop. There was even an impromptu conga line that formed during halftime.
And of course there was a deejay spinning tunes during commercial breaks.
One server at the restaurant said that the business seemed more like a nightclub than a restaurant.
After the closing seconds of the Heat’s win over the Oklahoma City Thunder, fans screamed, clapped and shouted at the top of their lungs.
It’s the Heat’s second NBA championship and the first for LeBron James, who was finally crowned a champion.
Fans we spoke to couldn’t be happier for him.
“It’s the biggest game of his career,” said Dennis Stevens. “And like he said, not one, not two, not three, not four, not five (championships)…we’re going for it.”
“He worked really hard and he deserved it,” said Lisette Manzano. “I’m so glad he accomplished it!”
All night long the joint was jumping — from opening tip to final buzzer. Fans — young and older — enjoyed every second of the game.
And they will enjoy every second of another NBA title.
“The Heat are the best!,” shouted youngster Adrian De La Rosa.
“They got exactly what they wanted,” said Gabriel Gonzalez. “They were looking to win it last year, they didn’t get it. Last year the team wasn’t as whole. This year they built the team like they wanted it to be.”
At the Arena, fans lucky enough to be at the came could barely contain themselves as they cheered their way through the official awards ceremony, as team owner Mickey Arison was awarded the Larry O’Brien trophy naming the Hear this year’s national championship.
Fans left the Arena but appeared unwilling to go home. They cheered, they waved copies of the special edition of the Miami Herald, and even climbed onto a railroad trestle, much to the concern of watchful police.
The team came close to having this celebration last year, but instead of cheering the team lost at home to the Dallas Mavericks, stunning the hometown crowd hoping for a repeat of 2006 when the Heat won its first championship.
That was a tough loss for fans and players, one LeBron James vowed would not be repeated.
James kept his promise, and South Florida celebrated Thursday as a result.
“Silence the haters — LeBron did it,” said Matthew Gonzalez, 21. “We’re going to win next year too. This is just the beginning,” fan Samantha Stevens said.
In Westchester and in Hialeah, two traditional gathering points for past celebrations, peoplecame out by the thousands, hanging from cars, beating pots and pans, and celebrating at the tops of their lings. Celebrations were generally loud but peaceful, with no arrests reported in Hialeah.
The only negativity came when the Thunder’s team bus left the arena — some fans sprayed it with liquid and made obscene gestures toward the players as it crawled away. Still, Miami police reported no serious problems after the game.