This year, LeBron and the Cleveland Cavaliers (Cavs) are once again one of the favorites to win the NBA Championship. They’ve won 60+ games for the second year in a row. For the sports fans in Cleveland, it would mean SO MUCH more than just another Championship. These fans haven’t celebrated a professional sports Championship in Basketball, Football, or Baseball since 1964…over 45 years ago! Back then, it was the legendary Jim Brown leading the Cleveland Browns to the NFL Championship. To put it in perspective, the first SuperBowl wasn’t even played until 2 years later! And since, the Browns are one of a handful of NFL teams that have never made it to a SuperBowl.
Not only have the Browns, Indians, & Cavs not won a Championship since 1964, but the loses have been memorable, legendary, and HEARTBREAKING. There was John Elway leading the Denver Broncos on a 98-yard scoring drive – THE DRIVE – in the AFC Championship Game in Cleveland Stadium to force overtime in a game the Broncos eventually won. There was Browns’ running back Ernest Bynar being stripped of the ball as he was heading into the end zone with the Browns down 7 points in the final minutes of the AFC Championship Game the year after THE DRIVE. There was Michael
Jordan hitting the game-winner over Craig Ehlo in one of the most memorable images in NBA history to win the decisive Game 5 in their 1989 Playoff Series. Jordan’s same Chicago Bulls would knock off the Cavs in the 1992 East Conference Finals. We can’t forget about the Cleveland Indians, who haven’t won the World Series since 1948. In 1997, the Indians were 3 outs…3 OUTS away from the Championship before the Florida Marlins scored 1 in the bottom of the 9th and 1 in the bottom of the 11th to win the decisive Game 7. Even last year, LeBron’s Cavs, who won a League best 66 games, were the heavy favorite to make it to the Finals only to came up short and lost to the Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference Finals.
So as we head into this NBA Postseason, we could be on the verge of the most excruciating (sorry Cubs’ fans!) drought in all of sports coming to an end. Having waited 25 long years here in Philadelphia, I know how painful it is/was but couldn’t image waiting an ADDITIONAL 20 years. I hope LeBron can do it. I hope the Cavs can end the drought and give the fans in Cleveland their long LONG LONG overdue parade. Let’s not even toy with the prospect of the Cavs coming up short again and LeBron James leaving Cleveland this offseason to play elsewhere. The Sports Gods COULDN’T be this cruel, or could they…
Tom Glatz, Bucks County, PA
I’ve lived in the Greater Philadelphia Region my entire life and have been watching/following sports since I was 5 years old! I have grown to love all that is Philly sports – Phillies, Flyers, Sixers, Eagles, Big 5, Army-Navy, etc. I love talking/chatting sports with those who like or hate the Philly teams. I tell it like it is, whether in favor of our Phillies or in favor of those DAMN YANKEES! 😀
Photo courtesy of nba.com