Miami needed to win Games 6 and 7 of the finals to capture the title, and needed a huge late comeback in Game 6 just to force the ultimate game. Down by five with less than a half-minute left in regulation, James and Ray Allen made 3-pointers _ Allen’s coming with 5.2 seconds left _ to force overtime, and the Heat ultimately prevailed to get into Game 7.
“I have to say that is the biggest shot I ever hit in my career,” Allen said.
Along the parade route, one vehicle carried a number of uniformed military personnel. The Heat have honored military members before every home game in Miami for the past several seasons.
Police reported no major problems, and bomb- and drug-sniffing dogs were spotted working their way through the crowd. City officials banned fans from carrying backpacks, though several were spotted along the route and some people were searched randomly for security reasons. The huge crowds and parking difficulty did not seem to take away from the fans’ celebratory mood.
“It’s the excitement of something that doesn’t come around too often, even though we’ve been lucky to experience it two years in a row,” said Heat fan Blake Thames, who made the trip down from Palm Beach County.
Some fans began arriving before sunrise Monday, and traffic into downtown was extremely heavy as people hoped to get close enough for a glimpse of the celebration.
“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.”
Players spent the weekend celebrating. Some are planning to start vacations later this week, while others will remain in South Florida for at least a few more days.
“All the fans that we’re seeing here is who supported us throughout the whole season, man,” James said. “This is the least we could do is ride through the city and show our appreciation.”
Associated Press Writers Jennifer Kay and Kelli Kennedy in Miami contributed to this report.