For some it’s their first time For others it’s another notch on their belts.
It was a new experience for players like Norris Cole and Juwan Howard. Cole is able to call himself a champion after only one season with Miami where he played a strong role throughout the season. Howard on the other hand is now tasting his first title after an 18-year NBA journey. He came close to a ring in the 2010-11 season with Miami before losing to the Dallas Mavericks. Howard knows that feeling of coming close to a title and falling short well as he experienced it twice as a member of the fabled ‘Fab 5′ of the University of Michigan. He is also the only player from that group that has won a championship in the NBA.
For players like Mario Chalmers and Shane Battier, this ring gives them a unique distinction among their teammates. Both are the only Miami players to have won a title in the high school, NCAA, and NBA levels.
As for team president Pat Riley and head coach Erik Spoelstra, this ring might be their sweetest. For Riley this is his eighth NBA ring but his first solely in an executive role. No other team that Riley was part was scrutinized more than this one and this ring may be in ways vindication for him. This is also true for Spoelstra when it comes to scrutiny. While this is his second ring, the first coming as an assistant coach to Riley in the 2005-06 season in Miami, few thought he was the right man to lead the Heat. He carried the burden of losing in 2011 and proved that he is ready for the moment.
More so than the rest, this is a unique experience for the Heat’s ‘Big 3′ of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh. No other trio in recent NBA history has been as disliked as them. This is especially true for James, who many people accused of being soft for coming to Miami. For James and Bosh, this is their first ring. For Wade it’s his second.
While getting fitted for championship rings is an joyous occasion, it might be bittersweet for new Heat players such as Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis. Allen, a champion himself, is watching this knowing that the ring his new teammates are getting was won by getting through him and the Boston Celtics. Lewis has come close to a title with the Orlando Magic but fell short in 2009 against the Los Angeles Lakers.
The time Miami spends in getting fitted for rings will be a reminder of what they accomplished. It will also be a necessary bookmark to prepare themselves.
Now they have the difficult task of defending that ring.