A Sports Column by Mitchel Guy
With the NBA playoffs set to begin, we see a familiar sight. The Cleveland Cavaliers, led by their prodigal son Lebron James, are a top seed in the Eastern Conference. All eyes will be locked on “The King” as he tries to fulfill his commitment of bringing his hometown their first major sports championship since 1964. Expectations from this city are currently at an all-time high since the 4-time NBA MVP returned to the team that drafted him. A four year hiatus with the Miami Heat has left many fans scarred but it is beginning to appear that “The Decision” may be the best thing that could have happened to this city.
The City of Cleveland has become a punch-line to a majority of the country over the years. Cuyahoga County never seems to be in the spotlight for positive reasons. However, despite what people foreign to the area think, Clevelanders take great pride in their city. Anyone who has spent time here knows exactly what I’m talking about. This pride is the driving force that fuels Cleveland’s incredible sports fan-base. The fact is, in Cleveland, sports have become a way of life for many. The community uses their beloved teams as a way to connect with one another. Complete strangers have shared common misery and that misery has bonded the community together.
Many believe that there is a curse preventing the city from thriving and the sports teams succeeding. The last time the city saw a championship was when Jim Brown was dominating the NFL as a RB for The Cleveland Browns. Brown’s former team has not been back to a league championship game since his early retirement in 1965. Their struggles have been amplified recently. The Cleveland Browns have only been to the playoffs once in the last 21 years. The Cleveland Indians are a storied baseball franchise. The Indians haven’t won a title since 1948. The Cavaliers are Cleveland’s only major team that has never won a championship. They have been in the NBA since 1970 and there only championship appearance was in 2007 with a young Lebron James leading the way.
Lebrons decision to leave for Miami in 2010 has haunted Cleveland for a few years. Lebron has been the best player in the NBA since he came into the league straight out of high school. He is 30 years old and in the prime of his career. James has been to the NBA Finals in four consecutive seasons, winning two, as a member of the Heat. Meanwhile, in Cleveland the perfect storm was brewing. The Cavaliers were the worst team in the league over the four years Lebron was gone. This performance coupled with incredible luck resulted in three 1st overall picks in the draft over that time. With some maneuvering the Cavaliers have been able to provide Lebron with what may be his most talented supporting cast of his career.
There are no more excuses. There is no “wait til next year”. The Cavaliers are in position to win multiple NBA Championships over the foreseeable future. Cleveland has been waiting for this for a very long time and it appears inevitable our title will come soon. It is time to forget the negativity and enjoy it while it’s here. We are now in a championship run, eleven years in the making.