There were tears, but for the first time since 1964, they weren’t of heartache.
It wasn’t like John Elway’s 98-yard march in 1987 (known as The Drive) or Earnest Byner’s gut-wrenching mistake a year later (known as The Fumble) or when Cleveland Indians closer Jose Mesa couldn’t hold a Game 7 lead like the Cleveland Cavaliers did on Sunday night. It wasn’t like when the Cleveland Browns were uprooted to Baltimore, a blow to a football town that left a searing, civic void. It wasn’t what ESPN’s recent documentary portrayed. This time a Cleveland team had won, and it didn’t involve Charlie Sheen or voodoo bats.
James reeled off Cleveland’s list of heartache like he was reciting lyrics he’d sung since he was a kid. He knew them like the rest of Northeast Ohio knew them. He could’ve cited Michael Jordan’s “shot” but there might’ve been some confusion considering Kyrie Irving’s audacious three-pointer late in the fourth quarter to seal the Cavs’ championship, which could plausibly oust the old definition.
“Our fans, they ride or die,” James said in the wake of the Cavs’ historic 93-89 Game 7 victory that secured his standing among the NBA’s pillars. “No matter what’s been going on, the Browns, the Indians, the Cavs, and so on. They continue to support us. And for us to be able to end this drought, our fans deserve it.”