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Never To Be Forgotten

Fox8.com
Never forget what this feels like.

Never forget how special this is. 

Winning a conference championship is an accomplishment for any team, but for a Cleveland team, it’s borderline Biblical.

Don’t let the magnitude of this get drowned out by those who say this was supposed to happen all along.

They’re right. Last August, it was supposed to happen. But not this way. Nowhere close to this way.

Remember the feeling of Sports Illustrated and “I’m Coming Home” last July. How, in that moment, this seemed possible - maybe even probable. 

And then remember that, after two months of the season, there wasn’t a snowball’s chance in hell of this happening. 

If you remember anything, remember that. Over this next week, as the calendar turns to June, think about January. Think about the Cavs stumbling to six straight losses and dipping to 19-20. Think about all the reports of bickering, of LeBron’s unhappiness, of David Blatt’s impending firing. Of the complete disaster this season had turned into.

Then think about February and March, and the beauty of this elaborate jigsaw puzzle coming together. The 12-game winning streak. A run of 32 wins in 39 games. Kyrie Irving twice scoring 50-plus points and unquestionably emerging as one of the league’s best players.

Remember how the high promise for this postseason seemed to come unsnapped along with Kevin Love’s shoulder in Boston. Then how the Cavs seemed on the brink of implosion once again after losing two of the first three games to Chicago in the conference semifinals.

Remember that the Cavs then went on to win their next seven playoff games. Seven straight - all against very good teams. And with Kyrie Irving essentially not a factor. 

Remember LeBron’s buzzer-beater that turned the Chicago series around. But also remember how the Cavs’ Big Three turned into Big Hero Six. Different game, different hero.

Tristan Thompson’s man-sized rebounds. Timofey Mozgov’s quiet intimidation. J.R. Smith’s microwavable shooting touch. Iman Shumpert’s throttling defense. Matthew Dellavedova’s lovable scrappiness. 

Remember how this new recipe cooked up back-to-back wins in Atlanta to take control of what most thought would be a tight series. Then remember how the Hawks very nearly made a series out of it anyway until the gassed Cavs gritted out a Game Three victory that deserves its own banner in the Q rafters.

Remember that the 12 previous times a Cleveland team went into a game with a chance to clinch a trip to the Super Bowl/World Series/NBA Finals, nine ended in defeat. 

Remember the 2007 Indians, who also held a commanding lead in a league championship series failed to seal the deal. Three times.

And remember the complete domination we witnessed Tuesday night. A 30-point victory over a 60-win team with its back to the wall. The delirious party the fourth quarter became. The childlike joy expressed by the Cavaliers’ bench when the bottom of the roster excelled in the final minutes.

Remember seeing Larry Nance accept the conference championship trophy and think about those teams he played on - teams good enough to get to where these Cavs are right now, had they not suffered from epically bad timing.

Think about how Tuesday night contrasted with the last four seasons at the Q. The 26-game losing streak. Firing three coaches. The sole excitement of the season waiting for the draft lottery. 

Also remember there’s still another series to go. Four more wins to be earned. Against an incredible team.

But come what may, remember how special these last four months have been.

Remember what we’ve been through and promise yourself you’ll never, ever forget.

Editor's note: Jonathan's new, "The Making of Major League: A Juuuust a Bit Inside Look at the Classic Baseball Comedy" drops on June 5th. You can pre-order that book right here, at Amazon.com.
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About Jonathan Knight

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