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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami Heat fans from all over the country descended upon the Magic City Monday morning to celebrate the Heat’s 2012 NBA Championship.
Fans, even some from Ohio, started arriving to stake out their positions as early as 3 a.m. Monday. All wanted to catch a glimpse of the Larry O’Brien trophy as it made its way through downtown Miami.
Many of the fans were supposed to be at work Monday, but took a sick day to deal with the Heat.
“Where are you supposed to be right now?” CBS4′s David Sutta asked Heat fan Angel Colon. “At work,” Colon responded.
Miami Heat fans had waited almost two years to celebrate a championship. The Big Three of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh came together in Miami to win championships and after flaming out in the Finals in 2011, Miami stormed to a 2012 championship by beating the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Fans packed the MetroRail system to get to the parade route because traffic was slowed and parking was nearly impossible to find.
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Much like in 2006, some fans had a tough time trying to beat the heat, which the Oklahoma City Thunder can relate to after the NBA Finals.
A total of 44 people had been transported to local hospitals due to heat related issues related to the parade, according to Lt. Ignatius Carroll of Miami Fire-Rescue.
“A lot of kids were out here, and I don’t think they anticipated they needed to have enough water,” said Lt. Carroll. “One to two bottles of water just wasn’t enough.”
Ironically those who heeded the warnings and drank plenty of water also faced a bit of a problem. “We need port-a-johns,” said Heat Fan Paul Sorse after searching for a restroom for an hour. “We need a toilet!”
The Heat’s lucky charm, 11-year-old singer Julia Dale, was part of the festivities as well. She tore the roof off the arena before each NBA Finals game with her rendition of the National Anthem.
“I can’t take any of the credit,” Dale said. “But I’m very honored to be called that.”
The parade route wound through downtown Miami before ending up at the AmericanAirlines Arena for a celebration inside.
Still, not all fans were feeling the love during the championship celebration. As the team made their way into the AmericanAirlines Arena for a ticketed Heat fan party, some fans outside felt cheated.
“We want to see the team,” said Heat fan Maurice Miley. “They could at least show it on the jumbotron.”
Fans were told repeatedly by the local media the celebration inside wouldn’t be shown on the big screen outside the arena. CBS4 was told the event wasn’t shown on the big screen due to a crowd control issue.
Still, the hard feelings were obvious.
Some fans remembered the last time the Heat celebrated a championship in 2006. During that parade, the team came out on the steps of the AmericanAirlines Arena during the celebration.
“They had everything outside, so it was perfect,” Heat fan Piere Henriquez said. “That’s they way they should treat us, the fans.”
Even some season-ticket holders with tickets to the celebration inside were turned away.
“I was here at 10:15,” said season ticket holder Adam Herman. “They barricaded us. They would not let us in. We’ve been sitting here for over two hours and they still won’t let us in.”
The cutoff time was supposed to be 10:30 and so far, no explanation has been given as to what happened.
All-in-all, the day was one to remember as a celebration of the first crowning achievement of the Heat’s Big Three. One fans and the team hope will be the first of many to come.