June is upon us Cleveland sports fans, and with it comes an opportunity this writer never saw coming—a chance to celebrate a championship for the second time in two seasons with one million of my closest friends.
Let that sink in for a second.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are doing something the majority of you reading this article never dreamed about, especially on that night back in 2010 when LeBron James “took his talents to South Beach.” Led by James, Kyrie
As a kid growing up just 15 minutes outside of Cleveland, the 90s Cleveland Indians were the holy grail of sports in my life. Lacing up my cleats for the first time at the age of four back in 1989, Brook Jacoby, Doug Jones, Joe Carter and a young Albert Belle were some of the first names I could remember in the sport I loved.
Then, something magical happened. The Indians moved to this place I would know only by the name “The Jake” for the rest of my life. That lovable losing cast that lost 105 games in 1991 would change, and just like that Cleveland had a winner with a shot at winning the World Series.
Kenny Lofton, Sandy Alomar, Carlos Baerga, Jim Thome, Manny
Taking this short, fond trip down memory lane has a point—I promise.
With the Cleveland Browns gone until 1999, the Indians provided young fans a reason to fall in love with the game of baseball, and older fans a reason to pack the stands to the tune of 455 consecutive sellouts. The Cleveland Indians were the center of sports in the city of Cleveland.
Meanwhile a stone’s throw away from The Jake, the Cavaliers were attempting to forge a basketball identity in life after Mark Price, Brad Daugherty, Larry Nance and more. There would be some promise and a few fan favorites here and there over the years, but it wasn’t until the Cavaliers won the NBA Draft Lottery and selected the hometown kid, James, in 2003 that there was truly hope of a sports championship again in this city.
From there, you all know the story.
We watched James blossom into a superstar who led a team full of role players (to call them role players is pretty generous) to the NBA Finals, only to be swept by the Spurs dynasty. James and the Cavaliers were supposed to learn a lesson in 2007 and “get theirs” in the years soon to follow, but they would not return to the finals over the course of the next three seasons, prompting James to leave town to team up with his friends down in Miami.
Why is all of this so important to revisit as Cavaliers fans prepare for another trip to the NBA Finals? Because I do not want you to take these games and moments for granted.
Three trips in three years can make a fan base feel a little spoiled. It can make you say things like, “I can miss game one of the finals for a Sam Hunt concert.” (Seriously, I cannot believe so many of my friends are missing game one of the NBA Finals to go to Blossom for a country concert.)
Personal shots toward my friends aside, Cleveland fans are in the midst of a historical ride that deserves to be cherished with each and every tip-off.
After spending a whole season criticizing effort, defensive strategy and whether or not the roster could compete for a championship yet again, the Cavaliers and their fans find themselves just four wins away. Four wins away from defeating a team odds makers are giving a sizable edge to win the series. Four wins away from a second championship in three seasons. Four wins away from another parade.
At the end of the day, all I ask is that you cherish every moment. No, I will not tell you to not criticize every single play on social media—you are a fan, you have that right. But as you burn down the social media world with your hot takes, take a moment to truly appreciate the gift the Cavaliers have given you as a fan.
You endured seasons of 19, 21, 24 and 33 wins before James returned to lead this franchise to three consecutive finals and 161 combined regular season victories in three seasons. You sat through Samardo Samuels, Christian Eyenga, Ryan Hollins, Semih Erden and more to get to the point where you feel comfortable enough to lose appreciation watching James,
As a fan, you have been through the highest of highs and the lowest of lows with the Cavaliers in the last six seasons. So as you sit down and prepare for a series that will likely push you to both ends of that spectrum, take a moment to cherish and appreciate what is in front of you.
High-five a stranger, pack a Cleveland bar to the absolute limits and invite all of your social media friends so you can drink the place out of beer by halftime. (Editor's Note: This happened, I seen it. And it was also Bob's "fault.") Gather your family and friends to watch the games together so you can relive that night over and over again in the future.
Whatever you end up doing over the next two and a half weeks for the NBA Finals, just do one thing—do not take a moment of this historical ride for granted, because you never know when the days of 30-win basketball will return.
Oh, and in case you were wondering … Cavs in Six!