The bus stops here in Oakland, California. The Cleveland Cavaliers beat the defending champion Golden State Warriors 93-89 in Game 7 to end a 52-year major sports championship drought in Cleveland. Passengers on the bus who question LeBron James’ legacy need only to look at how he led the Cavaliers to erase a 3-1 deficit as an answer, but win the franchise’s first NBA title and become the first team in NBA Finals history to accomplish this.
Crown him. LeBron James’ third title is exceptional. Not only did he end a 52-year drought, but the hometown kid delivered the title he promised when he returned his talents to the Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert two summers ago from South Beach. James played in his sixth straight Finals. “Cleveland this is for you,” James stated. In this series, he drove the bus, carried the luggage while carrying his teammates on his back into the series finishing with 27 points, 11 assists and 11 rebounds in Game 7.
The defending champion Warriors had one job. Win one game. Two of those games were on their home court. After a season that saw an NBA-record 73 wins and 9 losses. The Cavaliers Kyrie Irving scored 26 points to cap his brilliant Finals, including a 3-pointer over Stephen Curry with 53 seconds left sealing the win and handing the Warriors their ninth loss of the playoffs. The banter will go on and on regarding how Golden State might always be remembered as one of the best teams ever that couldn’t close it out.
The Warriors began the season 24-0 with Coach of the Year Steve Kerr out. Curry also won his second consecutive MVP and the team won 73 regular-season games to break the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls’ mark. In Game 7, Draymond Green had 32 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists to lead the Warriors. “It does not mean a thing without the ring,” Green stated. Curry scored 17 points on 6-for-19 shooting, and Splash Brother Klay Thompson added 14 points while making 6 of 17 shots. “I didn’t do enough to help my team win,” Curry said. “It will haunt me for a while.” A while is an understatement, for the first ever-unanimous MVP, more like the rest of his life.
The story of the Cleveland Cavaliers is one of the last great sports stories that needed to be told. The last one left is the Chicago Cubs. Game 7 was on Father’s Day. James, a father of three, needs only to share this improbable NBA Finals comeback story for generations to come.
The Warriors and Cavs faced off in their 13th Finals game in two seasons, matching the highest total in NBA history over a two-year span. One game win for Warriors, one game win at a time for the Cavs is what separated to shifting legacy storylines. One.