MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The streets of downtown Miami were white hot Monday morning as the 2013 NBA Champion Miami Heat celebrated a second-straight title with Heat fans everywhere.
The parade kicked off at 11 a.m. near the corner of SW 8th Street and 2nd Avenue. From double-decker buses, Heat stars like Chris “the Birdman” Andersen, Ray Allen, Dwyane Wade, and LeBron James all paid thanks to the fans who stuck with them throughout the regular season and postseason runs.
Slideshow: Heat Repeat Championship Parade
The party was initially delayed due to some rain that quickly moved through the downtown area. But, even Mother Nature must be a Heat fan because as the parade began to move through the streets, the skies opened up and allowed the Heat to shine through.
Fans were lined up across railroad crossings, parking garages, and anywhere where they could catch a glimpse of their favorite superstars. Estimates before the parade put the number of attendees possibly as high as 400,000.
The parade wasn’t just for fans though; it was just as much for the players who put in nine hard months of work to get to the top of the mountain.
LeBron James posted a quick video clip to Instagram showing what his view was like just as the parade was getting underway.
Heat owner Micky Arison also posted a picture to Instagram saying, “Wow felt like a million out there Heat fans your the best.”http://instagram.com/p/a8r_7Pu8Ou
LeBron followed that up with another quick video showing what it was like to celebrate with all of the Heat’s fans throughout the downtown area.
“It’s the ultimate,” James told Sun Sports 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.”
The players were set up with super soakers as well to blast the fans with water as the double-decker buses moved through the city.
Thousands of parade-goers also lined the streets of Biscayne Boulevard hundreds deep near the AmericanAirlines Arena where the parade was scheduled to end. The parade-goers had to deal with not only the crowds, but also the actual heat and new restrictions on what was allowed.
Miami Police banned backpacks and other bags this year in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings earlier this year. Police were out in full force with both uniformed and plain clothes to help keep the peace as the numerous buses made their way past the adoring crowds.
Police reported no major problems early on, and bomb- and drug-sniffing dogs were spotted working their way through the crowd.
For the second straight year, the Heat’s championship parade would end at the AmericanAirlines Arena for a private, ticketed gathering. The Heat chose to move the party inside the AAA before last year’s parade after hundreds got sick during the 2006 celebration on the steps of the AAA.
Slideshow: Inside The AAA Heat Celebration
This year, the heat was also on during the parade with temperatures hovering around 90 degrees and heat indices skyrocketing into the upper 90s and low triple-digits in some areas of downtown. Still, despite the heat on the fans, it wasn’t enough to dampen their support for the Heat.
“It hasn’t hit me yet,” James said. “This is unbelievable to be a part of such a great franchise and to be able to go back-to-back.”
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