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Miami Heat celebrate title with fans

/ 08:20 AM June 26, 2012

Miami Heat players ride in double-decker buses during a parade in Miami, Monday, June 25, 2012 in celebration of winning the NBA Finals basketball championship against the Oklahoma City Thunder. AP/Wilfredo Lee

MIAMI — The Miami Heat held a downtown victory parade Monday after winning the NBA finals with the players riding atop double-decker buses cheered by hundreds of thousands of people lining the streets.

The Heat won their second title in franchise history by beating the Oklahoma City Thunder in five games in the NBA finals. It was the first title for finals MVP LeBron James who came to Miami after seven seasons in Cleveland.

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“It’s the best feeling I’ve ever had,” James said. “This was my dream right here, to be able to hoist the Larry O’Brien trophy up, hug it, grab it, never want to let it go.”

Two years after James and Chris Bosh joined forces with Dwyane Wade here, the trio delivered on their promise of bringing the championship back to Miami.

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The downtown parade was followed by a rally inside the American Airlines Arena where the coaches and players danced, took turns holding the trophy and made speeches.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra talked about how the criticism of his team helped motivate the players.

Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat rides in a victory parade through the streets during a celebration for the 2012 NBA Champion Miami Heat on June 25, 2012 in Miami, Florida. The Heat beat the Oklahoma Thunder to win the NBA title. Joe Raedle/Getty Images/AFP

“People from the outside, they criticized this group, this team. They didn’t support this team, they counted this team out, but they never estimated how close this group was as a family,” said Spoelstra.

“And every single one of these players had to sacrifice something, either money, opportunity, minutes, to be a part of this dream and it was all for a moment like this.”

This marked the second title for Wade who was the offensive leader during their 2006 championship run.

“I appreciate all our fans for sticking with us,” Wade said. “Best fans in the world.”

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