The darkness came, broken only by the blinking of the fans' synchronized bracelets. The music blared. The building shook.

And then, one by one Tuesday, the honorees were introduced, from Micky Arison to Pat Riley to trainers to coaches to players, the last of whom was Dwyane Wade, the icon who usually comes last in this arena.

And then, finally, to a chant of "MVP," after eight empty season openers, LeBron James received his sparkling reward: a ring with a diamond-encrusted Heat logo bulging over a gold replica of the Larry O'Brien trophy.

James had done so much to win one of these for everyone else's finger, by playing at a postseason level few have reached, but now, he didn't slide on his right away.

First, he shared a lengthy handshake with Commissioner David Stern, then got several pats on the back from Arison – who told him this ring wouldn't be the last – before joining his teammates for the raising to the rafters of the championship banner. As it soared, he rolled the ring around with his pointer finger, his smile as broad as any he flashed June 21, the night the championship deed was done.

So yes, this meant something. How could it not? All week, in advance of the celebration prior to the Heat's season opener against Boston, reporters asked James how his first ring ceremony would feel. He noted that he couldn't possibly know, and even belittled a question about whether he would show off his spoils daily.

"Do I look like the type of guy that would wear my ring every day?" he said. "Nope. It will be put up somewhere with the rest of my rest of individual accolades. That's a team thing. But I'm moving on.''