Last night was the sixth game of the NBA Finals and the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Golden State Warriors 115 to 101, pushing the series into a win or lose game seven.
This year's match-up is a rematch of last year’s finals, where Golden State took the win after six games. LeBron James, the love of Cleveland’s life, practically carried the team that was burdened by injuries last post-season.
This time around, things are a little different. Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving, forward and guard for the Cavaliers respectively, are healthy. While Love has not been on the receiving end of a lot of love from fans due to his unimpressive game play, Irving has been a part of history after earning 41 points in game five. Paired with James' 41 points, the duo saved the Cavaliers from elimination.
The team also has infinite support from its city, who believes this year could be the year.
Number 23, LeBron James. (Image Source: Gary A. Vasquez – USA TODAY Sports)
It's been 52 years since Cleveland was able to call itself “Champion.” The last time a Cleveland sports team won a championship was in 1964, when the Cleveland Browns won the NFL Championship game before the Super Bowl was even a thing.
Cleveland sports fan are more hungry for a title than ever in 2016, and the Cavs are Cleveland’s closest shot at greatness.
While Cleveland has been an underdog for over five decades, our fans aren’t always given a sympathetic rep. To some, we’re sore losers, to others, we’re pathetic. To us, we’re passionate and we each have our own individual ways of dealing with rejection and loss.
Some of us go out, get way too drunk, and hoot and holler at the first non-native jersey we see, but that’s not a Cleveland exclusive.
What is a Cleveland exclusive is just how die-hard we are. Win or lose, a Cleveland sports fan is a Cleveland sports fan. The term "band-wagon Cleveland spots fan" is practically a laughable way to describe absolutely no one.
Anyone who fell in love with Cleveland sports also, probably, subjected themselves to the city of Cleveland itself. Other than the Cleveland Sports Curse having it’s own Wikipedia page, it was maybe about nine years ago, during the recession, that I remember The Plain Dealer headlines announcing Cleveland had the worst economy in the country. In addition, we also suffered from hastily made tourism videos.
But Cleveland has grown since these days. We’re no longer one of the worst American cities to live in, in fact we’re one of the best. We also don’t have to deal with Johnny Manziel’s ass anymore, the Flats are actually cool now and we’re still not Detroit.
And we may even win a championship this year. Do you get us yet?! We’re “Believeland!” Our city is going from one extreme to another, so we’re even more hopeful now than we’ve ever been (clearly).
A championship win would fill the void in Cleveland sports fans’ hearts, and it would prove to us that the hope and faith we have in our city has paid off.
If the Cavaliers win it all this season, Cleveland will have its first championship in 52 years. But if the Cavaliers don’t win it all this season, we’ll still have our story line. And either way, we’ll probably look just like this kid.
This post is an updated version of a story previously posted on The Sami Fisher Blog on June 2, 2016.
Published by Samantha Grace Fisher