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LeBron James and a storybook ending to his Cavaliers return

First, I have to say thank you to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers for ending a 52-year championship drought. And from a look at last night’s tv ratings, it looks like about 25 million people, give or take a few million, got their Witness Card renewed last night.

When LeBron James left in 2010, it hurt. I hated him. At the time, I thought I was mad because I was “betrayed.” I took him for granted. I assumed “he was born here, he isn’t going to leave.” But, that’s not why I was mad. I was mad because when he left, he took my championship hopes with him to Miami.

I felt LeBron James was a storybook ending waiting to happen. A local kid, drafted to a team a bounce pass away from his hometown. It seemed like fate had aligned and delivered us LeBron to end our championship drought. But, that rain was a reign that never happened.

And then LeBron James penned “The Letter” to announce his return. Hope was restored to Cleveland, which became Believeland. Not only did that hope return, but it was deeper and stronger with every word of LeBron’s I read, as I became more aware and more convinced  how important a championship win for Cleveland was for him.

The storybook ending I had in mind never came to be. Instead, what fans saw was closer to a movie, say 300 than the Cinderella Story I had in mind. A brave hero, battle-tested and carrying the weight of his friends, family, and neighbors, preparing to face insurmountable odds. A king leading his troops against what most considered a superior opponent. The regular season record setting Golden State Warriors at 73–9, the best team in NBA history, led by the 2-time MVP who also happened to win it unanimously this year, against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers from the weak Eastern Conference, whereas the mighty Golden State Warriors stomped through tougher competition.

It wasn’t just 52 years in the making. It wasn’t just the best team in basketball. It wasn’t just the first time a team had come back from being down 3–1 in the finals. It was all of that and so much more. It was historic. It was unfathomable.

Finally, we have a National Champion. No more cheering for drafts. No more spending the offseason hoping that this year is our year. No more dissecting how it all went wrong. No clever names to surmise how we lost. Just euphoria. Appreciation. Appreciation for whatever owner Dan Gilbert and LeBron James did to set aside their differences. Appreciation for The Return. Appreciation for Tyronn Lue in taking over the Cavaliers and bringing that first championship home. Appreciation that the Q will now have a championship banner hanging next to the retired numbers and conference title banners. So many things to appreciate and I’m still just frozen in the moment, trying to savor every last second.

Hail to the King and long live the reign of King James.
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About David Burkart

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