Cleveland is Believe-land!
by John Jastremski
Jun 21, 2016 | 7070 views | 0 0 comments | 79 79 recommendations | email to a friend | print
About three weeks ago, I wrote a column previewing this year’s NBA Finals. I’m not sure of the exact quote, but the general thesis was that Lebron James was the only man standing in the way of the Golden State Warriors and their quest for immortality.

Not only did James stand in the way of the Warriors, he pulled off one of the most remarkable feats in the history of the NBA.

James and the Cavaliers became the first team in NBA history to come back to win the NBA Finals down three games to one.

Amazing, but what makes the feat more amazing is that it’s the first championship for the city of Cleveland since 1964.

A city that has been tortured by “The Drive”, “The Fumble”, “Jose Mesa” and of course “The Decision” saw all of that heartbreak and anguish turn to tears of jubilation after what we witnessed over the last week.

In order to end a championship drought, you just get the sense it has to be done in a dramatic way. The 2004 Boston Red Sox proved that, and the same could be said for the 2015-16 Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Cavaliers were a dead basketball team heading back to the Bay Area facing elimination in Game 5. Lebron James wasn’t hitting jump shots, the Cavaliers supporting cast was M.I.A., and the Golden State Warriors just simply appeared to be flat out better.

I thought the series was over. Boy was I wrong.

Something happened to the Cavaliers before the start of Game 5. Maybe it was the incident involving Draymond Green’s elbow to the man region of Lebron James, maybe it was the “nobody believes us” theory, but there was a different feel about the Cavaliers and specifically James over the final three games of this series.

After boarding that flight to the Bay Area, something clicked for the Cleveland Cavaliers. They rediscovered that “Eye of the Tiger” that you need to have in order to shock the world.

You can pinpoint the enhanced defensive intensity or Kyrie Irving providing legitimate secondary scoring and offering a reminder to the basketball world as to why he is one of the most explosive guards in the league, but most importantly Lebron James morphed into Superman.

From Game 5 on, Lebron James’ play was extraordinary.

He became the just the fifth player in NBA history to score 40-plus points in back-to-back finals games.

Anytime you join a group that features Jerry West, Rick Barry, Shaquille O’Neal and, of course, Michael Jordan, you know you’re talking about elite company.

In Game 7, in hostile territory against a record-setting regular season team, James became the third player ever to record a triple-double in Game 7 of the NBA Finals.

I think it’s fair to say we can bury the “Lebron isn’t clutch” argument from now until eternity.

If you don’t think Lebron James is one of the best players to ever play basketball, you’re a fool.

With the pressure of an entire city on his back, James delivered on his 2014 promise to bring a championship back to the city of Cleveland.

The performance by Lebron James hands down is the signature moment of his NBA career.

This championship meant more for him because it was his hometown, because of the history of the city of Cleveland, and because it was unfinished business from his first stint with the Cavaliers.

I’m sure Game 7 will be re watched and relived in Cleveland from now until eternity.

Who could blame them?

It’s ‘Believe-land’ these days, and the fans should thank Lebron James for their newfound success.

You can listen to me Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday from 2 to 6 a.m. on WFAN Sports Radio 660/101.9 FM.
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