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Welcome to Miami, LeBron, as Heat begin the party
Question of the Day
MIAMI (AP) — Dwyane Wade was on the right side of the photo, then realized that wasn’t the optimal spot for the shortest guy in the frame.
Wearing their new uniforms for 13,000 delirious fans, then displaying them hours later for photographers — and even donning them for the contract-signing ceremony in owner Micky Arison’s office — James, Wade and Bosh got their welcoming celebration in Miami on Friday night, formally becoming teammates and probable favorites to win multiple NBA championships.
“I’ve made the right decision,” the two-time reigning MVP said.
A packed arena of Miami Heat fans, plus another 10,000 or so outside the building, couldn’t have been more thrilled to hear James say those words. His acquisition by the Heat became official Friday, and he, Wade and Bosh arrived together in a spectacle typically reserved for rock concerts and award shows.
Dressed in a white Heat uniform for the first time, James took a look at his new home crowd, folded his arms across his chest after he and his teammates were dropped from the sky on a forklift, and nodded.
The MVP has taken center stage in Miami.
“We know what the fans want,” James said.
In case there was some question, they told him: Yes, a “Beat L.A.” chant broke out in July, call it an opening salvo aimed at the two-time defending champion Lakers.
Great fanfare. Great expectations.
They walked down the stairs to a long runway, slapping high-fives with fans, clapping their hands and soaking in the atmosphere.
“We here now,” James said. “And we’re here for a long time.”
“All three of these gentlemen up here are going to be here for a long time and they’re going to be here for a long time for us to enjoy, thoroughly enjoy,” Heat president Pat Riley said.
At the rally, which was announced Friday afternoon and people still snatched up all 13,000 available seats in an hour, fans were given posters with James, Wade and Bosh together in Heat uniforms — “Yes. We. Did.” was the slogan in big white letters.
If Riley gets his way, the party will be the first of many for the NBA’s newest star cluster — a grouping everyone, even Wade, is still getting used to.
“When I look around and see No. 6 and No. 1 on the court with me, that’s when it’s going to see real,” Wade said.
“Then I realized, three is magical, and now it represents more than just my number,” Wade said. “It represents the three of us making sacrifices as well.”
Wade and Bosh decided Tuesday that they would play together in Miami, releasing that information to the world on Wednesday. With that, it was all up to James, who said he decided Thursday morning — hours before his made-for-TV announcement special that night — that he’d join the Heat and form a power triple.
James touched down Friday morning, took his physical, and then arrived for the party.
“Bring it on. We’ll accept it,” Wade said. “At the end of the day we know what’s important. And what’s important is winning ballgames and winning championships. So once you do that, winner take all.”
By Scott Pinsker
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