[Late Post]: Giving Credit Where It’s Due to the 2016 NBA Champs

Cavs win. End of 52 year drought. First team to come back from 3-1 deficit. History is made. Basketball fan or not, by now, you’re aware of the 2016 NBA champions and the importance of said title to the team. You know that after some time in Miami, LeBron returned to Cleveland with a mission to bring a championship to the city. After coming so close and losing last year, this year’s win was sort of a big deal, but as a Warriors fan, I was in my feelings until I sat back and gave it some thought….but let us backtrack just a little bit.

 I’ve always been an avid watcher of basketball, way before I even understood the game and it’s accompanying terminology. While I attribute my knowledge and interest to growing up in a family of diehard Knicks fans, it is by far the only sport I could genuinely get into. Now when I speak of basketball, I know more than the players you see now. I’m familiar with the Stephon Marbury’s, the Dikembe Mutombo’s and the Patrick Ewing’s of the game, but I must admit despite my years of knowing basketball, I haven’t been the greatest partner. The fact of the matter is that I have been quite unfaithful to the basketball season for most of my life. I often cheat on it with reality shows, soap operas, or other programs preferable to my mood at that given point in time. I come on Valentine’s Day weekend for All Star Weekend and tune in every now and then during the finals to bid farewell before we go our separate ways for the summer. After witnessing the Warriors climb to the top as last year’s NBA champs, I realized how much I’d actually missed, chose them as my team and made a commitment to support them throughout the season.

I’ve never been one to let one’s hard work go unnoticed. Way before they’d won, I understood the overall story of LeBron’s return to Cleveland. I thought it was cute but in the midst of a loss, I wasn’t trying to hear that. I was bitter and all I could see was this guy putting up three of his fingers, indicating his third ring despite it being the team’s first. After some consideration,  a few hours on ESPN, and my viewing of the Cavs parade, I must admit The Cavs Win was  indeed monumental and there’s quite an important lesson that can be learned using them as an example.

When the Cleveland Cavaliers won Game 7, I thought LeBron celebrated the victory as it was his own. From what I had seen, I did not think he acknowledged his team members appropriately. I found most of the attention to be on him and his accomplishment of a years long goal to bring the chip to Cleveland, which to me, was a poor sign of leadership considering he hadn’t done it all alone. However,  his speech at the Cavs parade in which he individually addressed the importance of each team member eliminated any thoughts of negativity for me. Furthermore it was the breakdown of each barrier that made me realize this team was not only put together for a reason but was well deserving of a championship.

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 While every team member made their contribution to the team in one way or another, I shall only discuss a few.

  • It has been noted that it hasn’t been the easiest for JR Smith to find a home. When the Knicks made the decision to rid of him, he was thrown into a packaged deal. He rolled with the punches and showed out this season, assisting in the team’s win for a championship, a title they may not realistically have a chance to win for a while.
  • Kevin Love is one third of the team’s leading three. Despite a great run throughout the season, a concussion resulted in him missing a couple of finals games. That fuel provided by his inability to play showed up and showed out on the court upon his return.
  • Iman Shumpert is often known for his hair, which many people commented on during game seven and his loving relationship with Teyana Taylor. Little do many people know that the game is one he is determined to play no matter the circumstances.  Last season, he put his health at risk to play with a partially torn  shoulder and groin. Nonetheless, the work paid off with a championship.
  • Kyrie Irving….man Kyrie. Those who know me understand he’s one of my favorite players in the league. His winning shot prevented what many would have predicted to be an overtime game, but there’s levels to that hunger. Irving missed out on the finals last year due to a fractured left kneecap so you could only imagine how it made him feel to know that his presence could have changed the outcome of the game. Well, that doesn’t matter now because he knows for sure that he played a role in this year’s win.
  • LeBron James literally put the team on his back. Not only was he a player but a leader and a coach. He helped construct a team and formulate a plan that would result in being this year’s NBA Champs. He was under public scrutiny for his move to Miami but the extreme criticism and burning of his jersey didn’t phase him because he knew what he’d set out to do….and he did it. Now his once angered fans are ecstatic.

 Cleveland as a whole needed this. They went a little more than a half century without a championship from any sports team, thus their disapproval of LeBron’s temporary departure. It was beautiful to see them celebrate now that the curse is broken.

 The moral of the story life is loaded with obstacles but everything worth having is worth fighting for. The members simultaneously overcame the hardships they faced as a team and in their personal lives. Their vision of a goal coupled with a fight through adversity resulted in the very thing they’d worked so hard for, and to do it when the odds are against you makes the reward that much sweeter. I give credit where it’s due and that desperation deserved the utmost respect.

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 On another note, Kevin Durant to my team; the Warriors….need I say more? Overjoyed is an understatement….if the communication is in tact ( something the Cavs definitely have) and Draymond can control himself a bit more, then we are good to go this upcoming season.

Sweenie S…

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