LeBron Kept His Word: The NBA Championship Comes To Cleveland
“In Northeast Ohio, nothing is given. Everything is earned. You work for what you have.” — LeBron James
No truer words have been stated by the now-three-time NBA champion, LeBron James. As a 330-native (born in Akron, went to school in Kent) — I have had experiences that were extremely heartbreaking. Seeing the Florida Marlins come back from being down 2-0 in Game 7 of the World Series to defeat the Cleveland Indians. Watching with tears in my eyes as a young boy as Michael Jordan (who everyone was a fan of regardless of fave team) shoot “The Shot” over Craig “Arms Too Short To Box With God” Ehlo to beat the then-third-seeded-team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, in the 1989 Eastern Conference First Round. Witnessing the Cleveland Browns‘ struggles (anyone who knows me knows I fux with the Brownies) and the like has led to heartbreak, heartache and plenty of sobering moments.
Hell, I’m not even going to touch when the Cavs got trounced by Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs.
So, last night, you can guess (or just check my Twitter feed) my excitement when I had finished constructing an epic bookshelf, watched my dog Dora Milajé and came back to learn that LBJ and the Cavs had won the 2015-2016 Larry O’Brien championship. Overcoming the odds to become the first team in NBA history to be down 3-1 and win it all. This is poetic how it went down. James, leading the charge, using the skills that God blessed him with, and defeating the Golden State Warriors, a squad that won an NBA-record 73 regular-season games when it mattered the most. I have to admit that I was nervous. I have lived through so many “what if” seasons that after the Cavs were down 3-1, I turned off the TV and watched Young Justice on Netflix.
I literally did anything I could to not jinx the team from accomplishing their goal. And as they headed to Oakland’s Oracle Arena on Sunday, I only checked the scorecard once. It was the fourth quarter, both teams were tied at 89 and there were only three-plus minutes left in the entire game. You would think that I would flip on the TV to watch the kid from the same area as me author one of sports’ all-time greatest stories. No, I couldn’t do it and I’m sure there were others who are REAL Cavs fans that couldn’t watch that magical fairytale hang over their head like a wine-and-gold brass ring either. Instead, I walked my dog, Dora Milajé and upon returning I had learned of the Cavaliers fate: LeBron James as Finals’ MVP with 27 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists, three blocks, two steals and the fulfillment of a promise made back in 2014.
I sincerely didn’t sleep until about 2, 2:30 a.m. Why? I was super-juiced about the squad that I had been a fan of since 1988; the team that had its fair share of ups-and-downs; the band of brothers who have donned the Cavs uniform since it was the Gund Arena had finally exorcised the curse that haunted us since before I was even a thought in my parent’s eyes. With that in mind, I looked back at “The Return” that set this whole plan in motion. LeBron James had decided to restart the mission he began when the Cavs drafted him as the No. 1 pick in 2003. Instead of taking to ESPN airwaves to look like a returning benefactor, he told his story, uninterrupted, and set into motion a series of fortunate events that have resulted in Cleveland being the NBA World Champions for the next 365 days.
To be honest, I’m not quite sure that he would’ve ever came back. Playing with his best friend, winning chips, being tax exempt in Miami and living by the beach seemed like it would be how things are for the rest of LBJ’s playing life. But, alas, we were all mistaken.
The King did as he decreed, ensuring that his legacy is cemented as one of Ohio’s greatest sports heroes. To me, LeBron James will forever be the guy who showed what hard work, dedication and remaining true to the game will do for you. For my hometown, he’ll constantly be a reminder of how a kid from the hoods of Akron can inspire multiple generations to walk, talk, breathe and live like a champion.
Read the full thoughts of the newly minted NBA champion, LeBron James on the next page.