HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh weren’t the only ones shutting up their critics during that Heat championship parade today through the streets of Miami.
The fans who lined up along those streets deserve a little respect, too. Maligned for years as a group of late-arriving, front-running, basketball novices, Heat fans took on the challenge of facing off against some of the best fans anywhere in sports and stood up to Oklahoma City Thunder fans in fine fashion.
They more than held their own in the battle of the dueling fan bases.
In fact, they reacted the same way fans in almost every city act after their team wins it all. They drove around honking their horns into the wee hours after the Heat’s Game 5 win over the Thunder last Thursday night. My main man and NBA.com’s John Schuhmann and Sheridanhoops.com’s Jeremy Bauman can attest to as much, since the three of us had to walk through hundreds of screaming Heat fans as we made our way from AmericanAirlines Arena and down Biscayne Boulevard to our hotels after Game 5.
It was a wild scene, with everyone on the sidewalks operating pretty much in the dark as Miami’s finest kept a handle on things.
It’s always cracked me up, seeing how the fans respond to their team winning a title. It’s particularly hilarious to see fans in Chicago and more recently San Antonio and Los Angeles, celebrate every title like it’s the first time they’ve ever experienced such a thing.
But as the years go by and you witness the same visceral reaction from fans who have no other connection than an unabashed passion for their specific team, it starts making more sense.
This is not only the day every play lives for, it’s the day every fan of every dreams of. So enjoy it Miami. Wrap yourself up in the seemingly never-ending party that was Game 5, the confetti falling like rain, the smiles that you can’t wipe away and the endless parade of cars circling those downtown streets with everyone screaming “Let’s Go Heat!”
You never know how many of these moments you and your team will have, so soak it up.
Enjoy it all for as long as you can!