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Its official! After a parade honoring the Jacksonville Giants 2012 ABA National Championship, Mayor Alvin Brown read a proclamation, designating May 3, 2012, as "Giants National Champions Day.” Mayor Brown announced to the players, coaches, office staff, and fans that the City of Jacksonville was both supportive and proud of the Giants success this season and the teams accomplishments in Season Two. Team Owner Ron Sholes, Head Coach Kevin Waters, and the players accepted the 2012 ABA National Championship trophy. This is the first time in Jacksonville’s history that a Jacksonville-based professional basketball team has won a National Championship.
The parade was everything that the Giants expected and more. Terry Parker High Schools NJROTC led the parade which departed Everbank Stadium and ended at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. Mayor Alvin Brown, proudly wearing an orange Giants autographed GIANTS basketball jersey, waved from a green Model-T provided by the Amelia Concours DElegance.
Head Coach Kevin Waters and his wife Chantell proudly displayed the trophy from their convertible back seat perch. Assistant Head Coach David Graham and his wife Erica, Team Captain Anthony Lumpkin, and other players rode in classic convertible cars behind an antique firetruck. Fan favorite Antonio "Red” Lawrence, who provides extra entertainment at GIANTS games, reclined in the rumble seat of one of the antique cars. Renaldo Norman, another fan favorite, brought an unexpected guest, his brother, Josh Norman, who was recently drafted by the NFL to play for the Carolina Panthers, as a cornerback. Missing the celebration (but not forgotten) were star Giants players who returned to their respective home towns soon after the championship game: ABA Final Four MVP Jermaine Slim Bell (Rochester, NY), Currye CT Todd (Byhalia, MS) and Lamar Sanders (Hickory Flats, MS), and Kevin McDonald (North Carolina).
Upon arriving at the Arena in a vintage 1952 roadster, The Voice of the Giants, Richard Miller, officially opened the festivities by welcoming Mayor Alvin Brown, team owner Ron Sholes, Head Coach Kevin Waters, the players, and fans. Showing appreciation to the players and his coaching staff, Waters accepted the 2012 ABA National Championship Trophy for the team. As Waters’ coaching staff and the players held the trophy high so all the fans could see, the crowd cheered. GIANTS fans were delighted with their team’s impressive accomplishments in just two seasons of existence.
In the Proclamation, Mayor Alvin Brown vowed that he will be back next year for more Jacksonville Giants basketball. The mayor recognized Mr. Biggs, the team's orange and blue mascot, calling him up to the stage to join the team. Immediately following the trophy presentation and team photographs, the players and coaches signed free championship T-shirts and posters provided to the fans by the Law Offices of Ron Sholes and Eastport Apartments, official housing partner of the Jacksonville GIANTS. The after party continued at City Hall Pub next door to the Arena with the brass horn-based Special Formula Band entertaining the crowd well into the evening.
Article based on report by MILLER ON SPORTS