Fans scramble to buy Heat championship gear

Hundreds of T-shirts, hats sold

MIAMI - While the Miami Heat players celebrated their NBA championship win, fans spent much of the day Friday grabbing up as much white hot Heat gear as they could.

"You better get it while it is here, because it is going fast -- super fast," said Eric Griffin, who was buying Heat championship gear.

At the Sports Authority in Midtown, customers made a mad grab for championship gear, and Thursday night's win still had them pumped Friday afternoon.

"It was insane because everybody was saying, "Yes, LeBron James! The king got his ring,'" said fan Michael Diaz.

Sales were so brisk that all the registers were ringing nonstop, and the supply was dwindling.

Sports Authority manager Chris Young estimated that the store had sold 900 hats and shirts by Friday afternoon. If the store didn't run out, he said he thought they could easily sell a couple more thousand.

In Fort Lauderdale at Atlas Embroidery and Screen Printing, the presses worked overtime to keep up with the demand for T-shirts.

"About five minutes left in the fourth quarter, we got a call from the NBA," said Adam Cohen, of Atlas. "They were confident our boys were taking home the trophy, and we started printing T-shirts."

Meanwhile, there was a steady stream of rain and fans outside the American Airlines Arena's Heat store Friday. The weather didn't dampen people's championship spirit as they hunted for playoff memorabilia.

Heat officials would not let a Local 10 crew into the arena's store because they said it was too busy, but they set up three tents behind the arena to sell all the Heat merchandise.

One piece of memorabilia that everyone wants and no one seems to have is the locker room limited edition hat. Thursday night's celebration in the locker room with Heat players wearing the lid has made it the gear to get.

"The gray locker room hat is the hat that they wore right on the floor and in the locker room during interviews. That is why everybody wants it. It is also a limited hat not everybody has," said Young.

Police were called to Sports Authority to keep the peace while fans lined up by the dozens to get one.

"We are waiting on that shipment. Wherever that shipment is coming from, we need that shipment," Young said.

"It's worth the wait, and I am going to wait because it has been a long time coming," said fan Jeff Johnson. "In 2006, I missed it, so I am not going to miss this one."

The line inside the Sports Authority continued to grow, as people said they would not go anywhere until they got what they wanted.

When the hats arrived, the store had to limit the purchases to one per customer so as many people as possible could tip their hats to the Heat.

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