Living in Cincinnati, it’s somewhat of an unwritten rule for sports fan that we don’t root for any Cleveland professional sports teams. Take for example the Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals, in-state rivals that just happen to both play in the AFC North division of the National Football League. Both of these teams were also founded by the same coach, Paul Brown, and share the same color orange in their uniforms. In Major League Baseball you have the Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians. The Reds were the first professional baseball team with the Indians following suit just a few yeas later. Although not league or division rivals, they still compete in interleague games dubbed by fans as the “Ohio Cup” or the “Battle of Ohio”.
When it comes to basketball, Cincinnati doesn’t have a professional team anymore so there isn’t any real feel of loyalty to any particular franchise. In Cleveland though, they have the Cavaliers who have been successful over the past few years, albeit with a little bit of controversy from one of their own – Lebron James, who was raised nearby in Akron, Ohio. I am a long time basketball fan who appreciates great talent. What I don’t care for is the “me first” attitude that has become all too common lately with professional athletes. The “King”, as James refers to himself, abandoned “his City” back in 2010 to join the Miami Heat organization to chase an NBA championship. He made the announcement in a live broadcast event called “The Decision” in which he announced he was ‘taking his talents to South Beach (Miami) and promised “not one, not two, not three…… championships”, which drew critics in the national media, as well as drawing the ire of fans back in Ohio. While he did help guide the Heat to the title in 2012 and 2013, he also lost a couple Finals appearances in 2011 and 2014.
At the end of the 2014 season, James did a little bit of soul searching and decided to return home to Cleveland to deliver a championship. His first year back, 2015, the Cavs finished the regular season with a 53-29 record and made their way to the NBA Finals. During the Finals run though, the Cavs lost their starting point guard and their starting shooting forward to injury. Needless to say this completely changed the teams dynamic, as without the extra support, Lebron was only able to carry his team two victories and they lost the series 4-2 to the Golden State Warriors.
Fast forward to this year. For the majority of the year, the two best teams in the NBA were the same as last year with Golden State leading the Western Conference and the Cavaliers leading the East. The Warriors broke an NBA record for the most wins during a regular season, finishing with a 73-9 record, breaking the 72-10 record previously held by the Chicago Bulls (led by the greatest of all-time, Michael Jordan – IMHO). Both teams had their struggles through their respective playoff runs but as fate would have it, would meet again to determine a champion. Golden State hosted the first two gams and pretty much manhandled the Cavs before heading to Cleveland with a 2-0 record. Game 3 was the polar opposite of the first two games, as Cleveland was able to secure game 3 with a 120-90 victory. The next game seemed to end all hope for the Cavs as Golden State dominated the final quarter to lead the series 3-1 before heading back to California.
Now, there has NEVER been an NBA team come back from a 3-1 deficit to win the title, so things were looking pretty bleak for Cleveland. It seemed the man who promised so much to “His City” was once a again going to fall short of delivering that elusive Championship. But as fate would have it, somehow, someway, the Cavs were able to regroup and come out completed dialed in and focused on the goal at hand. Well, really it came down to 2 key players for the Cavs, the starting point guard and Lebron James. Both players played out of their minds and willed their team to victories in game 5 and game 6, setting up a much anticipated game 7 finale.
Game 7 held up to the billing, it was awesome, even if you’re just a casual sports fan. The contest went back and forth with neither team getting out to more than an 8 point lead. The game came down to the last minute as both teams were tied with the Cavs point guard hitting a clutch 3-pointer that gave Cleveland the lead. The Cavs were able to hold on and win by 4 points, securing Cleveland’s first championship in almost 50 years. Lebron finished with a triple-double, only 1 of 3 players to hold that honor in Game 7 of the finals and was named the series’ MVP. Lebron’s average for the Finals were 30.2 points, 11.3 rebounds and 8.5 assists. Basically, he lead every recorded stat out of every player, he undoubtedly led “his” team to the title. It really was a fun series, even for the casual fan.
So congratulations Cleveland!
EXAIR has played a part in the fun of the NBA as well. Our Line Vac Air Operated Conveyors have been incorporated into a specially designed Gatling gun used to launch T-Shirts into the crowd at Milwaukee Bucks’ games. We’d like to see the Cavaliers get one of these too!
Check out this video: