Things began getting rowdy around 7:30 in anticipation of Game 7. Hordes of white-clad Miami Heat fans crossed Biscayne Boulevard en masse, pissing off the cops who tried in vain to control traffic outside the American Airlines Arena. Parents with strollers rolled up to outlandishly costumed men to Instagram awkward memories of dudes dressed in homage to Birdman but who came out looking like extras from Black Swan because they couldn't find white wings at the costume shop. Waving homemade Heat-pride signs, enthusiastic guys wore whiteface that accentuated their yellow teeth.
No one posed for photos with a stoned University of Miami student in a Gumby suit who rested languidly on the front steps or with one confused man who traveled from D.C. to stand outside the arena while cradling a football. "It will be football season soon enough," said Gary Hardy, wearing a UM jersey, a Miami Dolphins hat, and Ray-Bans.
Hardy and his son LeMar drove all the way to Miami to watch the game outside the arena. A band of hipsters from Kendall took Metrorail to do the same. "If we win, we want to be part of the experience," was the rationale of hipster-guy Chris, who was dressed way too cool to be part of any sporty experience. To everyone's surprise, though, the game was never projected on the outdoor screen. The scene outside the arena quickly degenerated into people taking cell-phone pics of people taking cell-phone pics of a video of LeBron James that was playing instead.
Around 9:15 p.m., perplexed fans headed back across Biscayne, hoping to take in the game from screens inside restaurants or news trucks. Indeed, the Local 10 news truck showed events about five seconds earlier than they appeared on home screens, which made for some time-lapsed cheering.
The nearest places one would expect to find public restrooms, a BP station and a Subway, had both locked their facilities' doors to the public, so the streets were filled with desperate people asking one another if they knew a place to pee. Nearby bar Will Call was packed wall-to-wall with people, and the drunk revelers who braved the long line outside just for a chance to relieve themselves were then forced to wade through a smoke-filled lavatory, elbowing past impossibly skinny women who pulled on Marlboros while applying makeup.
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Spurs fans were few and far between, but they were present. Liz and Brandon Mowels, a couple from San Antonio, flew to Miami for Games 6 and 7. Wearing their Tony Parker jerseys and yelling for their team as they walked past the arena, they were met with calls like "Go fly home" and a more incredulous than threatening "You're gonna get shot!"
Brandon, though, said Heat fans are the best fans in the world. "A Miami Heat fan just invited us out on his boat. We don't even know the guy."
As soon as the game was over, the pots and pans came out and the cars started honking. Here's a taste of what went down: