The day was December 27th, 1964. The Cleveland Browns beat the Baltimore Colts that day 27-0 at Cleveland Municipal Stadium to win the NFL Championship Game.
Forty-six years and 51 days later, the city of Cleveland continues to wait. The Browns haven’t won anything since then and don’t have any reason to believe that they can win a title any time in the near future. The Indians had their moments, but have since watched a pair of Cy Young Award winners get traded in back-to-back years as the rest of the teams in the AL Central just flew past them. The Cavaliers have sniffed a shot at a championship, only to be squashed by the Spurs in four games.
As the popular saying goes, “Cleveland Rocks.” But let’s face the truth here…
The only thing that is keeping the pulse of the Cleveland sports world together is watching #23 do his thing night in and night out for their beloved Cavs. The city of Cleveland hasn’t had anything to be this happy about since the moment that another #23 ripped their hearts out and made a poster out of Craig Ehlo.
It’s rare that there is one specific moment in time in the sports world that can change an entire city. Normally speaking, like in the Super Bowl with the city of New Orleans, those moments happen on the field, the court, or the ice when they do happen.
But the city of Cleveland has embarked on its biggest moment in decades, and that moment won’t happen at Progressive Field, Cleveland Browns Stadium, or Quicken Loans Arena. It’s going to happen in the office of GM Danny Ferry.
The NBA’s trade deadline is just mere hours away. With every passing second that the Cavaliers don’t make a move, the prospects of doom and gloom are coming.
It doesn’t matter what Ferry does, as long as he pulls the trigger on SOMETHING. Will it be Washington’s Antawn Jamison? Phoenix’s Amare Stoudemire?
Someone. Anyone… as long as he is fit for The King.
Make no bones about it: If the Cavaliers don’t win an NBA Championship this season and they don’t make some sort of a move to bring a legitimate superstar to Cleveland for the long haul, the best thing that has come to town since Elvis entered the Rock ‘N Roll Hall of Fame is, for all intents and purposes, leaving the building.
LeBron James, a free agent to be assuming that the Cavs don’t resign him before the end of the season, wants nothing more than to be a winner. He transformed a team that was god awful into one that was on the verge of a championship in just a few years. He’s the hometown boy and the chosen one. With every thunderous dunk, every eye-popping pass, every crossover dribble, and every swish, LeBron captures the hearts of his fans and has Cleveland prepared for another triumph.
He has scored 14,608 points, brought in 3,083 rebounds, and dished out 3,607 assists in his career to date, all at the ripe age of 26. But if these last few years have proven nothing else, it’s that the league’s most talented player, possibly ever in the history of the sport, can’t do it by himself.
Cleveland is riding a 13-game winning streak and easily has the best record in the NBA at 43-11 coming off of the All-Star Break. Still, it doesn’t quite certainly separate the Cavs from the Magic… or the Celtics… or the Lakers… or anyone else in the Western Conference for that matter.
Normally speaking, Oakland Raiders’ owner Al Davis’ motto would be correct: “Just Win, Baby.” But for once, winning isn’t the most important thing for the Cavaliers. Keeping James happy is.
Ferry and the rest of the brass of the Cavs are worried about blowing up team chemistry, as a squad that is built on defense might be harmed by the acquisition of either Jamison or Stoudemire, neither of which are exactly proficient on the defensive end of the court. And it’s true that Stoudemire could up and leave town right after the season is over with a championship ring or not on his finger.
None of that matters, though. Ferry has to think about the future, even if it does destroy the present. The Cavaliers could have ten more years of selling #23 jerseys and all sorts of memorabilia that says, “J-A-M-E-S” on it. Ten more years of flashbulbs, “Ooh”s , “Aah”s, and screams of joy for quite possibly the greatest player of all-time.
The clock is ticking though, Cleveland. The time for a championship might not be now, but the time to save yourselves is here. Keep LeBron happy. If he wants Stoudemire, go get him. If he wants Jamison, go get him, too. Whatever you have to do to convince The King to stick around in your city.
… Because if you ultimately do nothing and don’t turn up with a golden trophy on your mantle this year, LeBron will be gone, and on March 30th, 2056, I’ll be writing another article on how the city of Cleveland has gone another 46 years and 51 days without a championship.
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