DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM/AP) -The official Dallas Mavericks NBA Championship victory parade and celebration are scheduled to take place at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday morning. More than 250,000 basketball fans are expected to be in downtown Dallas to cheer on a fleet of three floats, 10 convertibles and a dozen trucks carrying team star Dirk Nowitzki, team owner Mark Cuban, team founder Don Carter and even Nowitzki’s guru, Holger Geschwindner.
But the guest of honor, of course, will be the Larry O’Brien Trophy, the shiny gold statue given to the NBA’s top team. The Mavs won the title on Sunday by beating LeBron James and the Miami Heat in Game 6 of the NBA Finals. It is the franchise’s first championship in 31 years of existence.
The victory parade will begin at the Dallas Convention Center and finish at the American Airlines Center. Starting at the intersection of Griffin Street and Young Street, the parade will head west on Young Street, turn north on Houston Street, west on Continental Avenue and then north onto Victory Avenue. (See a map of the parade route.)
Fans were allowed to start lining up behind barricades at 7:00 a.m. and streets along the parade route closed at 8:00 a.m. — so expect traffic in Dallas to be incredibly slow throughout Thursday. (Click here for the latest traffic updates.)
When the parade is over, a special event for only Dallas Mavericks season ticket holders will be held inside of the American Airlines Center. Those without season tickets can enjoy the event from outside, as it is broadcast on the HD screens in Victory Plaza.
About 10,000 people are expected to be crammed in and around Victory Plaza. Dallas Mayor Dwaine Caraway said that dealing with so many people will be a challenge. “We encourage you to take the public transportation, but we also encourage all of you that are coming, as many of you who can, to carpool. You must simply be patience. Bring your patience with you,” urged the Mayor.
Remember that this is North Texas, and summertime heat is bearing down. Fans are being advised to bring plenty of water and wear sunscreen.
For those wanting an alternate form of transportation to the event, there will be expanded DART Bus, Light Rail and TRE commuter rail service for Mavericks fans. (Click here for more from DART.)
The Mavericks victory is the first professional sports title the city has seen since the Dallas Stars won the Stanley Cup in 1999. Caraway told CBS 11 News — before all of the parade details were known — that the city was simply excited to be here again. “We’re very excited and we anticipate a full house wherever this parade will take place,” he said.
The tab for the parade and celebration is expected to run between $500,000 and $1 million. Cuban has offered to pick up the tab for the entire victory celebration.
For those who can’t make it downtown, CBSDFW.COM will be live streaming complete coverage of the parade and celebration starting at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday. The parade will also be shown live on CBS 11.
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