Parade for champion Mavs sets out early Thursday

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DALLAS (AP) -- Thousands of fans have arrived in downtown Dallas for a party 31 years in the making -- the celebration of the Mavericks' first NBA championship.

Police closed the plaza outside the American Airlines Arena after it reached its capacity of 3,000 people. Fans began staking out their favorite spots hours before the parade's scheduled 10 a.m. Thursday start.

More than 250,000 people were expected to cheer on a fleet of three floats, 10 convertibles and a dozen trucks featuring star player Dirk Nowitzki, club owner Mark Cuban, team founder Don Carter and the Larry O'Brien Trophy statue given to the NBA's top team.

Two hours before the parade, Nowitzki tweeted: "Mav nation on the move. Thx so much."

The parade will end at the arena, followed by a bash inside for 10,000 season-ticket holders. The Mavs won the title by beating LeBron James and the Miami Heat on Sunday.