Miami Heat World Champions 2005-2006

See you gotta understand. My brother and I were season ticket holders for the first 6 seasons. We were the type of season ticket holders who gave people who left during the 4th quarter of blowouts [and there were many] dirty looks for being fair weather fans. ‘Why bother coming at all’ was the message my semi-disgusted glances were meant to convey. I would make mental notes to not greet the offenders at the next game, unless they arrived with killer dates.

I would download the Heat schedule into my PalmPilot. No not the Palm Centro, that’s right PalmPilot [can you smell the early adapter]. So when my buddy and the Miami Herald’s boxing writer, among other tasks, needed a quote:

“It’s been a long journey from Scott Hastings to Dwyane Wade,” said Jorge Costales, 48, a former season-ticket holder from Miami who brought his children to watch the parade. “I’ve enjoyed almost every minute. When it happened, it was almost disbelief. But I am happy — especially for the community.”

See the complete Tim Reynolds AP article below.

Heat celebrate title with parade, revelry

Posted 6/23/2006 4:18 PM ET
By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press
MIAMI — Amid throngs of fans pressed up against barricades, the Miami Heat embarked Friday afternoon on their championship parade — the one Shaquille O’Neal promised when he arrived two seasons ago.

Some arrived in the early morning hours, ensuring they’d get a good look at the newly crowned NBA champions along the route. O’Neal, Alonzo Mourning and Heat coach Pat Riley were among those on the back of one truck, as trainer Ron Culp and point guard Jason Williams sprayed fans with toy water cannons.

“The best; the best,” said Heat owner Micky Arison, as his son Nicholas cradled the NBA championship trophy as they rode in a convertible. “It’s unbelievable.”

Early estimates suggested the crowd could reach 250,000.

“I expected everybody would be out here,” said Finals MVP Dwyane Wade, who carried his trophy and wore white sunglasses — playing on the Heat’s playoff theme of “White Hot.”

Mourning said he wasn’t sure what to expect from the long-awaited party, which featured tons of confetti and streamers.

“A lot of joy and excitement and celebration, man,” Mourning said as he walked toward the parade route.

Maybe a little too much.

After O’Neal jumped off his truck and tried to finish the parade route on foot, slapping high-fives with people along the way, a large number of fans broke through a barricade and swarmed the Heat center. O’Neal got into a vehicle and was driven away and the situation remained relatively calm, but police were pressed into action to clear the roadway so the parade could continue.

Already, the question has become this: Can the Heat repeat?

“Yes, because Dwyane Wade keeps getting better,” said Laurenn Webster, 19, a student from Coral Gables.

“And he’s already the best,” chimed in twin sister, Lindsay, who, like Laurenn, wore a new Wade jersey.

Barring some unforeseen shake-ups, most of this team — which beat the Dallas Mavericks in six games for the title, clinching it on Tuesday night — is coming back, so, maybe they can.

Wade and O’Neal are almost certain to be under contract here for four more seasons; that’s how long O’Neal has left on his deal, and Wade becomes eligible July 1 for a long-term extension that should pay him at least $75 million.

The other starters —Udonis Haslem, Antoine Walker and Jason Williams— all have multiyear deals still in place; Williams, however, has said he’ll likely need surgery to relieve tendinitis in his knee this summer.

James Posey, who hit some big shots in the Game 6 clincher and emerged as a huge spark in the playoff run, can choose to become a free agent but may still return regardless. Gary Payton has repeatedly said that he plans to re-sign, saying he spent 16 years chasing a title — and now wants to know what it’s like to defend one.

The biggest personnel uncertainties right now? Riley and Mourning.

Riley is 61 and acknowledges this season drained him; when a rumor popped up in the postseason that he was stepping aside, he issued a terse statement vowing to return for 2006-07, but was largely noncommittal in the din of the postgame celebration in Dallas.

And Mourning clearly can still play, given his eight-point, six-rebound, five-block, all-dramatic effort in the Game 6 clincher over the Mavericks. He hasn’t made any plan official, and given how valuable he was when O’Neal was in foul trouble or injured this season, Miami may try to coax the fan favorite into another return.

“It’s time for me to be a little selfish,” Mourning said, “in the sense of me deciding what’s best for me, my career and my family right now.”

There was a large police presence — standard for an event of this magnitude — but plans were not affected by Thursday’s arrests of seven men accused of plotting a terror attack against Chicago’s Sears Tower and a federal building in Miami. Most of the arrests took place in Miami’s Liberty City neighborhood.

Other than some concerns about dehydration and heat-related problems on a searing, bright day in Miami, police didn’t report any major problems among the spectators before the parade began.

“This city does not have a history of celebrations turning violent,” Miami police chief John Timoney said.

No, there was joy. Fans screamed in delight, waved Heat championship placards, strained for photos and pointed at the new championship banners hanging along the sides of Biscayne Boulevard — the major thoroughfare running through downtown.

After 18 years of waiting, the quest was finally over.

“It’s been a long journey from Scott Hastings to Dwyane Wade,” said Jorge Costales, 48, a former season-ticket holder from Miami who brought his children to watch the parade. “I’ve enjoyed almost every minute. When it happened, it was almost disbelief. But I am happy — especially for the community.”

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

About Jorge Costales

- Cuban Exile [veni] - Raised in Miami [vidi] - American Citizen [vici]
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