Cleveland Cavaliers Fans Wait Till Next Year
Golden State Warriors fans took to the streets of Oakland last night to celebrate their team’s first championship in 40 years. They beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 105 to 97 in Game 6 of the NBA Finals. For Cleveland fans, it’s been an even longer wait for any major sports championship but the loss was tempered with some optimism. Mark Urycki of member station WCPN in Cleveland reports.
It’s been 51 years since a major professional sports team in Cleveland brought home a championship but they have come painfully close over the years. The Cavaliers were decimated by injuries in this year’s playoffs and had no business winning any game in the finals. Yet last night when all seemed lost they teased their fans by coming back in the final minute to make even the TV announcers stop talking about crowning the Warriors
“It’s a 4 point game! How about this from Cleveland - not going away yet?”
But in the end some great 3 point shots by the Warriors’ Steph Curry sealed the deal. Cleveland fan Mike Kelley of Canton was sitting on the sidewalk outside the arena as worn out as his under-manned team. Even with the injuries to key players he expected the Cavs to make the Finals, and maybe he even expected to have the trophy pulled away at the last minute too.
“You know what? My expectations were everything we got. This is a city that hurts, that’s tired of losing, that’s tired of being second best. “
Others know that feeling, like Tom Dressler of Kent.
“Just as disappointed as every other year. At this point I’m used to it.”
Cavs fan Tony Doody of Portland Oregon tried to fly in yesterday with his wife Cinci but they missed a connecting flight in Chicago and had to drive a rental car the last 400 miles to get to the game 5 minutes before it started.
“I’m not angry, I’m resigned. And actually, given all the injuries, I’m thrilled. They shouldn’t have made it this far in so I’m thrilled. Wait till next year. Oh wait, that’s the Cleveland mantra: wait till next year! “ he laughed.
In fact, a surprising number of fans strolling by sidewalk cafes last night were pretty upbeat about the future. Hannah Cessna of Cuyahoga Falls was new to basketball until her boyfriend got her involved three years ago.
”Every year has been better than the last. And this year has just been THE year. I mean like Every game. We went to a game eastern Conference Finals and it felt – am I aloud to swear? No. It felt freakin’ awesome? It felt awesome.”
The Cavs are a young team and their local hero LeBron James, in physical and emotional pain after the loss, knows about come-backs.
“Only thing you can do is try to pick yourself back up whenever that time may be and just go at it again.”
Mike Kelley may have heard LeBron’s words as he sat on the sidewalk. He considered that the Warriors beat the Cavaliers without their starting players Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving.
“They beat LeBron James. They didn’t beat the Cavaliers they didn’t beat a big squad. They beat LeBron James. Add Kyrie Irving, add Kevin Love, let me know how that works out for you. We’ll see you next year.”
Las Vegas odds makers have already made the Cavaliers the favorite to win it in 2016.