NBA

Heat preparing for another ring celebration

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MIAMI (AP)

By now, the Miami Heat know a thing or two about planning championship celebrations.

They're getting a fair amount of practice.

A pair of 3D videos that will turn the court into a theater screen and even the infamous yellow rope - which got attention for all the wrong reasons in Game 6 of last season's NBA Finals against San Antonio - will be part of the show Tuesday when the Heat distribute their newest championship rings and raise another commemorative banner to the rafters before the team's season-opener against the Chicago Bulls.

For the Heat, it's their third banner-raising party in seven years, and the second one they'll hold in a span of 12 months.

''It's a tremendous amount of pressure to live up to the expectations that we set for ourselves as an organization,'' said Michael McCullough, the team's executive vice president and chief marketing officer. ''I'd say it's much more internal-based than external.''

Elements of the team introduction video have been teased in social media, but not much in the way of details - especially about the rings - have leaked out publicly. One known piece of the party is that yellow lanyards, a reminder of the rope that security personnel used to cordon off the court in the last seconds of regulation of Game 6 as it looked the Spurs were about to clinch the title, will be part of a fan-giveaway item.

Those security workers had to retreat, and take the rope with them, when Ray Allen made a 3-pointer with 5.2 seconds left in regulation to cap a wild Heat comeback and tie the game, which Miami wound up winning in overtime.

The rope has been a talking point around Miami ever since.

''It's a nod to the importance of that element,'' McCullough said.

The Heat will wear specially designed warm-ups and uniforms, all with gold effects to signify the color of the championship trophy. The jersey will only be worn on opening night, and is one of 10 that the team plans to wear at various times this season. The team will also be offering a wide range of championship-themed jewelry, including rings, to fans for purchase.

All the looking-back is nice, but to the players, what's going on before the game takes a back seat - for good - once the new season starts for real.

''After we get our rings, that's last year,'' Heat star and four-time NBA MVP LeBron James said.

James made no secret about how much he enjoyed last year's ring party, and he and Heat players have said some of the elements that they know about, such as the player video, meet with their approval.

''I'm going to see some of it, obviously,'' James said. ''I'm going to watch a lot of it and I don't take it for granted. We did some special things last year and this is an opportunity for us to look back at it one more time, but I definitely won't lose sight of what's in front of me.''

Tagged: Heat, LeBron James

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