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Was it just me or did LeBron sound a little like Sylvester Stallone's Rocky crying out to Adrian in the aftermath of the Cavaliers' incredible 93-89 Game 7 victory Sunday night to break the Mistake by the Lake's 52-year sports losing streak?
And it wasn't just a sports losing streak, of course. As Cleveland's teams have struggled to return to glory since the Browns' last championship in 1964, the city has taken hit after hit after hit.
In 1960, Cleveland was still the eighth-largest city in the country with just under 900,000 residents. By 2010 it had dipped below 400,000 and fallen out of the top 40.
But it is not an exaggeration to say the city's luck began to turn in July 2014. That was when Mr. James announced he would return to the franchise where he had begun his professional basketball career before decamping as a free agent to the bright lights of Miami.
The son of Akron could have signed for max money to play just about anywhere. He returned to his home team for one reason and one reason only - to give it it's first-ever championship. And he delivered.
While I know there is plenty of antipathy toward James in Chicago - heck, there is plenty of antipathy toward him here at the Beachwood (Editor's Note: Guilty) - there are many reasons to admire this guy, plain and simple.
He came into the NBA right out of high school. In other words, he was supposed to be one of those straight to the NBA cautionary tales, the ones that led to the NBA's ridiculous decision to not allow young men into the draft until a full year after they have completed high school. It is okay for baseball and hockey players to go to the Show when they are 18 but not basketball players. I wonder why that is? Could it have anything to do with the racial make-up of those groups?
James quickly became a star and has, as Charles Barkley put it on the radio this morning, "never been in a lick of trouble."
Speaking of NBA ridiculousness, there was commissioner Adam Silver handing out the trophies after the game last night. In case he hasn't made enough of a fool of himself overseeing the disciplinary processes that led to Draymond Green first avoiding serious sanction for actually kicking someone in the balls to Green then being suspended for an action that wasn't even a foul, let alone a flagrant foul, Silver botched the Finals MVP award ceremony.
Off to the side of the stage when it was time to give LeBron his due was his eminence Bill Russell, for whom the Finals MVP award is named. Russell is, quite simply, NBA royalty. Anyone with a lick of sense would have brought Russell into the middle of the action and had him at least give the trophy to James.
Instead, Silver completely ignored him, giving James the trophy quickly enough that Russell never got anywhere near the center of the stage during the ceremony. Way to go Adam!
And then the NBA season was finally over. The league drags its playoffs out so long I would think training camps for the 2016-17 season would be opening in less than a month.
So we turn to the next season on the calendar, the few months when Major League Baseball has the team sporting stage to itself - except for a little soccer here and there. And lo and behold we find the Cubs still haven't stopped winning.
For the past few weeks, I've been telling people the Cubs could lose 10 in a row and still be comfortably in front in their division. After their weekend sweep of the Pirates, I'm upping that number to 12 in a row. In other words, they are well on their way to a playoff berth.
To recap, so far in 2016, Leicester City has pulled out its first Premier League soccer title in England after 132 years of futility and now Cleveland has ended its 52-year losing streak. Surely that qualifies as a trend does it not? And there is only one epic losing streak left to slaughter.
Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.
We have a Rafael Palmeiro sighting!Continue reading "The Ex-Cub Factor" »
Posted on Jun 21, 2018