MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami Heat are used to planning championship ceremonies and Tuesday the team will once again raise a championship banner to the rafters of the American Airlines Arena for the third time in seven years.
“It’s a tremendous amount of pressure to live up to the expectations that we set for ourselves as an organization,” said Michael McCullough, the team’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer. “I’d say it’s much more internal-based than external.”
The championship rings the Heat will receive have not been revealed, but the team will give a nod to the yellow rope that went up around the court during Game 6 of the NBA Finals. The rope was up to cordon off the court for what appeared to be a San Antonio Spurs victory.
Security guards had to quickly drop the rope when Ray Allen hit the shot of a lifetime to send Game 6 into overtime and see the Heat eventually win and force a Game 7.
The Heat will wear specially designed warm-ups and uniforms, all with gold effects to signify the color of the championship trophy. The jersey will only be worn on opening night, and is one of 10 that the team plans to wear at various times this season. The team will also be offering a wide range of championship-themed jewelry, including rings, to fans for purchase.
All the looking-back is nice, but to the players, what’s going on before the game takes a back seat — for good — once the new season starts for real.
“After we get our rings, that’s last year,” Heat star and four-time NBA MVP LeBron James said.
James made no secret about how much he enjoyed last year’s ring party, and he and Heat players have said some of the elements that they know about, such as the player video, meet with their approval.
“I’m going to see some of it, obviously,” James said. “I’m going to watch a lot of it and I don’t take it for granted. We did some special things last year and this is an opportunity for us to look back at it one more time, but I definitely won’t lose sight of what’s in front of me.”
What is in front of James is a chance at immortality in NBA history with a third-straight NBA Championship. In addition, James will also face a huge question after the season of whether to stay with the team that has helped him win two straight NBA championship and go to three straight NBA Finals, or leave for another team starting next year.
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