As we know all too well, in 1964, the Browns, led by all time NFL great Jim Brown, were the last major sports franchise in the city of Cleveland to win a league championship. A majority of people, including myself, weren’t around to witness the victory and thus had to hear stories from our parents and our parents parents and telling us “You should have seen it. You would’ve loved it.” Fast forward through all of the one word sports tragedies that the city has gone through because we’re tired of hearing about them and we stop at July 11th, 2014. LeBron James writes a heartfelt letter to SI.com with the title “I’m Coming Home” where he explained that he is leaving the Miami Heat via free agency to return to his beloved Northeast Ohio to do what the city has craved for over 50 years.. Bring a championship back to Cleveland.
June 19th, 2016. The King delivered.
Down 3-1 in the series didn’t phase James in the slightest. There was an unusual calm to him and coach Tyronn Lou. You didn’t see anyone hanging their heads or obvious signs of stress and it had an impact on the rest of the team. They had a confidence from it. They knew the series wasn’t over yet. Cleveland ended up winning the next two games and tied the series 3-3. This was more than just winning a title now. The Cavs were looking to rewrite history. No team has ever come back from a 3-1 deficit and won the Finals. There was one major difference in the teams of old that tried and failed to win after being down in the series like Cleveland was and its that they didn’t have LeBron James.
In game 7, the game was tied at 89 with 4:39 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter and history was at stake for both teams. James came up with a huge block on a Andre Iguodala layup attempt which gave the Cavs the possession. After a foul from Golden State, Kyrie hits a dagger three point shot with Steph Curry in his face with 53 seconds left in the game. Kevin Love, who struggled mightily through the series, played the best defense of his career and forced Curry to take a bad shot and Cavs came up with the ball again. A dunk attempt by James sent him crashing to the floor and appeared to be injured but walked it off and took his free throws. He only made one but that’s all that was needed for Cleveland to win its first title on over 50 years as the Cavaliers won their first NBA championship in franchise history.
The city of Cleveland was electric after the victory. Over 350,000 were downtown watching in the Q, outside of the Q and surrounding establishments and celebrated until early morning then next day. They players and coaches themselves were overwhelmed with emotion. Tears were shed, hugs were given and the weight that had been on the shoulders of the orginization, the city and James was finally lifted. Cleveland was once again a city of champions.
Monday morning, the Cavs arrived at Cleveland Hopkins international airport and were greeted by 20,000 of the Cleveland faithful. Each player came out of the plane one by one and were greeted with cheers but none bigger than the reaction when James came out holding the Larry O’Brien trophy. He against the fence separating the crowd from the team to show everyone the trophy and that it wasn’t a dream and that they truly were champions. Wednesday, over 1.3 million people arrived as early as late Tuesday night to join in the celebration as the Cavs championship parade took place downtown. The support was astounding as fans from around the country showed just to see their favorite players and team show what they’ve accomplished. The scene downtown was something that none in this entire state has ever seen in their lifetime.
I cannot express enough how amazing it is to see everything that conspired this week. I watch the game with my parents who molded me into the sports fan that I am today and watching a team we’ve cheered for my entire life finally win a title for the city was a memory that I will not soon forget. For my parents to see a team they love win a championship for their city is huge for me because I was worried they wouldn’t see a title in their lifetime and to know that they witnessed it and to be there with them when it happened bring a tear to my eye. The support I see from the fans from northeastern Ohio and across the country for the parade is another emotional moment because this town and these teams are ridiculed and joked about non stop by others but we stay loyal through everything. We were here when the Browns moved. We were here when the Indians came so close but could close out the World Series. We were here when LeBron left and when he came back. We were here for everything and to know that the waiting finally has paid off has brought we life into Cleveland.
This is a new era of Cleveland sports now. This is a new era for Cleveland everything now. The other teams have seen the success and want the same prade for themselves. They want to bring this city together to celebrate multiple titles. The city itself has new life. People will be happier. Businesses will be booming. The RNC will bring great profit here and can help expand the culture here. Cleveland is on the uprise and nothing can stand in our way. The power of sports is underrated and more powerful than people think. This championship that the cavaliers brought home to us brings in new life. Thank you, Cavs. Thank you LeBron. Welcome to New Cleveland.
“Cleveland! This is for you.”