I’m sitting at a computer here in Columbus, Ohio, but my heart is in Cleveland right now.
If I were physically in Cleveland, I’d be cheering my brains out, and drinking another beer, and buying a round for the bar, and wanting to stay out forever and talk about the game, and my town, and my teams, so the night would never end.
I’d want to think about LeBron James’ clutch block, and Kyrie Irving’s killer shot, and the nails defense that the Cavs played in the last quarter — because those plays had finally pushed The Drive, and The Fumble, and Red Right 88, and the ’97 World Series to the background, where they belong. Bad thoughts have finally — finally! — been exorcised and replaced by happy ones. And these are happy thoughts that we will always have. I’ll never forget it, and I doubt that any true Cleveland sports fan will, either.
The people of Cleveland deserve it. They really do. They not only deserved to win, after so many years and so many heart punches, they deserved to win in historic fashion, with the northern Ohio kid who came home, with the first NBA team to come back from a 3-1 deficit to win it, with the impossible three-game winning streak — including two victories on the road — against the best regular-season team ever. No one will ever forget this NBA finals, and it went to the Cleveland Cavaliers. LeBron James will never have to buy a drink in Cleveland, for the rest of his life.
When LeBron James fell to his knees and wept after the final buzzer sounded, I knew exactly how he felt. My emotions were so close to the surface, I’m not sure if I was laughing or crying or cheering. All I know is that 52 years of frustration was finally coming out, in whatever way it could.
Deep down, I think, I never really thought I would know what it felt like for a Cleveland professional sports team to win a championship.
Now I know.