By Amir Wali Hamzah
Part of me wondered if I would ever be able to say that as a Cleveland sports fan. In every dream I’ve had about winning a championship I’ve pictured myself as an old man. I figured I would get a hoverboard and flying cars before Cleveland won a championship. But, here we are. Champions.
I know the disappointment of being a fan in my city. I was just old enough to start getting into sports when “the Shot” happened. My heart was broken when in 1995 when “the Move” was announced. Made worse by the fact that the Ravens won a Super Bowl just a few years later. 1997 the Indians lost to a pretty much expansion team in the World Series. The Browns came back and had more foibles than I can count or even want to get into. And then we had “the Decision” having LeBron James, the pride of Cleveland, leave to go to greener pastures to chase championships. And then win them. In that same year, the Indians had a damn good season and went on to go up 3-1 in the ALCS and fall apart and lose 3 straight. That’s the closest Cleveland has been to winning a championship since these finals for the Cavs. (Yes, I’m well aware we made the Finals last year, but everyone knew we weren’t winning without Irving and Love).
We’ve had a crazy season in Cleveland. If you are a Cleveland fan, you know what it is like to hear bad things about your team ALL OF THE TIME. We are more critical than anyone else about us. We heard Wiggins of Love trade was terrible. We heard Love and LeBron don’t get along. We heard we had no chemistry. We heard LeBron the GM. We heard he ran David Blatt out-of-town. I have had that sick feeling in my stomach all season that we might fall apart. But I never stopped believing. I wavered when we went down 3-1 against the Warriors. What Cleveland fan didn’t? You can’t live the life of a Cleveland sports fan and not have any doubts. That said, I stuck with my pick. Cavs in 7. Lord knows I did not expect it to be the most difficult way possible, but this is Cleveland we are talking about. At the end of the day we pulled it off.
You may not understand the feeling we have about this if you aren’t from Cleveland. You probably don’t completely get why I was crying like LeBron was about a game I don’t play in a city I don’t even live in anymore. I know you get it Cleveland. I know you understand that no matter how far we go and no matter where we end up, you are still a part of us. Cleveland needed this. We needed this. This certainly doesn’t erase all of the disappointment many us have spent years dealing with, but it is a start.
Today we cry about Cleveland sports, but not because we’ve lost in a most painful and agonizing way. Not because one of our sons or daughters has left our city. Not because we watched a 30 for 30 that brought back all of the painful memories. We cry because WE ARE CHAMPIONS!