Heat receive 2012-13 title rings prior to opener vs. Bulls
MIAMI -- The Miami Heat celebrated their 2013 NBA championship one last time Tuesday night before beginning their attempt to win a third straight title.
The Heat players, coaches, trainers and basketball operations senior management team received their championship rings in a 17-minute ceremony before the season opener against the Chicago Bulls at the AmericanAirlines Arena.
The pregame festivities began at 7:26 p.m., when the arena lights went down with fans waving glow sticks. A video of highlights from last season was shown, with the entire court serving as the screen.
When the video ended, the lights went up, with NBA commissioner David Stern standing at midcourt next to Heat managing general partner Micky Arison. They were in front of a table with the championship rings.
"Your Miami Heat had some season last year," Stern told the crowd.
Stern then handed a ring to Arison, who in turn gave rings to the Heat personnel. The first person to receive his ring from the owner was team president Pat Riley as Bruce Springsteen's "The Rising" began to play over the loudspeakers.
The players were last to get their rings. Before they were introduced individually, the arena darkened and a short video of NBA Finals Games 6 and 7 was shown on the court.
The biggest cheers went to coach Erik Spoelstra, Ray Allen, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James.
After the ceremony, the Heat turned their attention to the Bulls.
"We've got to look at it and say, 'OK, we've enjoyed being champions for three months. Now we get our rings and we watch that banner go up and this is for our fans,' " Wade said before the ceremony. "We have to move on, move on into the season."
It was the last ring ceremony for Stern, who will be retiring as NBA commissioner on Feb. 1.
"What he has done in his 30 years is unprecedented," James said. "The vision he had to make this game global and to broadcast these players, and to broadcast these teams and this game of basketball worldwide is something I don't know if someone else could have brought together and made it happen like he did.
"I give him lot of credit for that, for sure."
Charlie McCarthy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @mccarthy_chas.