Unlike many in Cleveland who felt a tremendous surge of joy and glee when LeBron James finally brought a championship to The Land, my feelings took a much more circuitous route.
I am a life-long Golden State Warrior fan who grew up a stones throw from the former Oakland Alameda County Coliseum, as well as a life-long Cleveland Browns fan who lived and died with the team through Red-Right 88, The Drive, The Fumble, The Move. So, here I sit, devastated from a fan’s perspective that my Dubs could have silenced all the doubters and nay-sayers, but instead lost three straight games at the most important time of the year and succumbed to Cleveland and King James along with his merry group of bandits.
I see friends who I correspond with during the football season rejoicing with that joy that only being an invested supporter of a franchise can bring, yet I have nothing to say to them. Their joy is my pain.
I am still numb. A win in either Game 5, 6 or 7 would have meant that the Charles Barkley’s, Chris Russo’s and Colin Cowherd’s of the world would have had to shut their traps and give the Dubs their due. A title would have validated a team, a franchise that had been questioned from the very moment they won last year’s championship. All the DubNation heard was, “if Cleveland was at full strength they would have schooled the Warriors.” That was hanging in the balance over the final three games of the series. Yet the Warriors couldn’t deliver. I am not one to believe the Warriors title needed validation, but I did want for all the noise-makers around the country.
A week ago the Warriors were sitting with a 3-1 series lead knowing that no one in the history of the NBA had blown such a lead in the NBA Finals. At the time the Warriors had blitzed Cleveland in Ohio and it appeared the Warriors would wrap it all up at home. Then Draymond was suspended, Kyrie Irving and James combined for 82, Cleveland jumped out to a 31-9 lead, and James had a block for the ages while the Warriors went scoreless for the final 4:39 of the season and it was over.
Poof ! Done
This whole meltdown thing had to be shocking for the bandwagon crowd, but for those of us that love this game we knew this thing wasn’t over, even after Game 4. But none of us actually thought it WOULD happen. It was shocking. It was stunning.
The Cavaliers will have a parade on Wednesday where the loyal fans of Cleveland will celebrate their first championship of any kind in 52 years. Many of those celebrating will be Dawg Pound faithful, for them I am thrilled. They have had to endure a wretchedness that only Art Modell can bring. Sitting in one of those cars being honored will be Earnest Byner. One of my favorite Browns of all time, he was stripped by Jeremiah Castille at the 3-yard line in the waning moments of the 1987 AFC Championship game resulting in a second gut-wrenching AFC title game loss for the Browns. Byner will be applauded and honored by a fan base that simply wants to cheer for a man who gave his all but came up on the wrong side of history. I will applaud and cheer for Byner, a Cleveland Brown legend.
The rest of it will be too much, the wound is still open, the emotions still to raw. As Steph Curry said on Monday when asked when he will get over the Game 7 loss, “I will get over when we win another one.”
So true Steph, so true
I live in the DubNation but proudly reside in the Dawg Pound