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Heat celebrate back-to-back triumphs

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JOYOUS OCCASION:Miami Heat players celebrate their championship victory at the American Airlines Arena.— Photo: AFP
JOYOUS OCCASION:Miami Heat players celebrate their championship victory at the American Airlines Arena.— Photo: AFP

The Miami Heat celebrated back-to-back NBA crowns on Monday with a victory parade that included nearly 500,000 fans.

“It’s the ultimate,” regular-season and NBA Finals MVP LeBron James told Sun Sports TV. “This is what I came down here to be able to have — a parade at the end of the year. I’m extremely blessed. It doesn’t get any better than this.”

Double-decker buses carried “King” James, his teammates, coaches, management and family through central Miami, as fans lined up to cheer after the victory in game seven of the NBA Finals over the San Antonio Spurs last Thursday for a second straight Larry O’Brien Trophy.

“It took nine months of incredible sacrifice by everybody in our organisation, grinding it out every single day,” said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, who addressed the sold-out crowd inside the American Airlines Arena. “It’s incredible.”

The Heat captured a second straight NBA crown to cap a franchise-record 66 regular-season victories — including a remarkable 27-game winning streak, the second-longest such run in league history.

“It was so much hard work,” said all-star forward Chris Bosh. “It was one of the most challenging years we ever had. We came to work every day, knowing what we had to do to accomplish our goal. I can’t believe we did it.” James and fellow-superstar Dwyane Wade were the last of the players to be introduced on stage during the three-hour celebration.

“It’s a grind to be able to win a championship,” James said. “When you do it with some great teammates it doesn’t seem so bad. The main thing is championships, and that’s all that matters.”

A leader in all three of Miami’s crowns since 2006, Wade knows he and the Heat are in elite company.

“To be here celebrating my third championship, who would have thought it?” said Wade. “This one is special. I know the category it puts me in. I know how hard it was to get to this point. To now be here celebrating our third championship is phenomenal.”

After a festive summer, the Heat will be back looking to become just the third team to win three consecutive championships and the first since the Los Angeles Lakers turned the trick in 2000-02. — DPA

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