Feeling good for Cleveland
On Wednesday, Cleveland received the best news it had gotten in a long time -it had been selected as the site of the 2016 Republican National Convention.
The economic boom to the city would be off the charts, for there’s more money spent at a political convention than any sporting event, including the Super Bowl.
While that announcement was huge, it wasn’t the one that had the city on pins and needles. Rather, all of Cleveland was waiting for native son LeBron James to announce where he would continue his basketball career.
For those of us who have followed Cleveland sports and all its heartbreaks over the years, this looked like nothing more than another big tease that would end in extreme disappointment for the Cleveland Cavaliers and all their loyal fans.
Not this time. This time, Cleveland got exactly what it wanted. Every Cavaliers home game this season should be marked as a Homecoming for LeBron James is back where he belongs.
To come back home, James had to reunite with Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert. Many wondered if that was possible, given Gilbert’s over-the-top tirade when James took his talents to South Beach. But they managed to let bygones be bygones and the Cavaliers immediately went from possible playoff participant to the favorite to win the NBA title next season.
Professional sports titles are a rare thing in Cleveland. The Indians last won baseball’s World Series in 1948. When Browns fans talk of the glory days they have to go all the way to Jim Brown, who led Cleveland to its last football championship in 1964. The Browns have had just two winning seasons since 1995. The Cavaliers only appearance in the NBA finals came in 2007 when they were swept by the San Antonio Spurs.
To describe Cleveland fans as “long suffering” would be an understatement. Naturally, the city receives its share of ridicule. It’s nicknamed The Mistake On The Lake.
There’s no way to overhype what James’ return means to Cleveland, whose sports fans were downright giddy with the announcement, taking to the streets to celebrate the news with each other. Cedar Point, the amusement park located in nearby Sandusky, already has named one of its roller coasters the King James. Within eight hours of the announcement, Cavaliers season tickets were sold out.
We live in an age where other than the results of games, most professional sports stories deal around the use of performance-enhancing drugs, suspensions for breaking the rules and other unpleasant matters.
That’s what makes this such a feel good story -everywhere outside of Miami. You can’t help but feel good for Cleveland, which was doing its best to get excited over the arrival of Johnny Manziel with the Browns, a story that now pales in comparison to the return of King James.
There’s only one story that can be even better and that’s if LeBron allows his hometown to celebrate its first major sports championship since 1964.
Contact Dave Poe at firstname.lastname@example.org