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06-21-2006, 10:15 PM
Heat fans celebrate as team wins first NBA title

By MICHELLE SPITZER, Associated Press Writer
June 21, 2006

MIAMI (AP) -- As the Miami Heat won their first NBA championship in Dallas, thousands of fans celebrated in the team's arena 1,100 miles away, jumping on seats and screaming as the clock wound down.

When the buzzer sounded Tuesday night, ending Miami's 95-92 win over the Mavericks, Heat fans ran out the front door of the AmericanAirlines Arena yelling, "We're the champions!" Someone lit fireworks and others passed out the front page of The Miami Herald with the word "Champs" on it.

More than 10,000 people celebrated inside the downtown Miami arena after watching the live broadcast from Dallas on the big screens.

"I've been a season-ticket holder since 1989. It's fun to watch them win one," said Mark Emanuele, 49, of Weston.

The crowd favorite of the night was clear: Fans chanted "MVP! MVP!" each time Dwyane Wade stepped up to the line.

Half a dozen police cars pulled up outside as the game ended and officers lined up across the street to prevent violence.

"Everything is calm so far. We're prepared, but so far things are going well," Miami police officer Thomas Visney said.

Before the game, Miami city officials had promised a parade but details had not been finalized.

Vicki Mallette, communication director for Mayor Manny Diaz, had said there had been hesitation to formalize anything the team had actually won, saying they did not want "to jinx the team."

Fans were not waiting for a parade to fill the streets late Tuesday. Drivers throughout South Florida honked their car horns while their passengers hung out of car windows and sunroofs to wave white Heat flags.

In trendy South Beach, partygoers filled cafe-lined Lincoln Road to cheer their team's victory.

"We're going to go crazy, stay up all night, because we're the champions. We've never been champions before," said Elias Fernandez, 17, from Miami.

A building under construction downtown lit up with lights that read "Let's go Heat."

Associated Press Writers Kelli Kennedy in Miami and Laura Wides-Munoz in Miami Beach contributed to this report.