Cleveland Cavaliers: With Game 7 fast approaching, we look at the legacy defining opportunity of LeBron James and how it is influenced by the Cleveland sporting history
Watching the NBA Finals, it appeared as if ESPN had jumped the gun.
The network aired the fantastic 30 for 30 film “Believeland” a few weeks ago. The film explored Cleveland’s sporting culture and was released as another Finals appearance by the Cavaliers was a foregone conclusion.
But they may have to update it to add what could be an exciting final chapter.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are one victory away from the NBA championship for the first time in franchise history.
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Down 3-1, the Cavs have battled their way back into the series on the back of Ohio’s favorite son: LeBron James.
James has posted two back-to-back 41 point games in what has been hailed as one of the best Finals performances of all time.
Against the stacked Golden State Warriors, he hasn’t done it alone. Kyrie Irving has made up for a missed opportunity last season by being a formidable offensive threat. Notably, he has outplayed two-time MVP and the consensus best point guard in the league in Stephen Curry.
Altogether, the Cleveland Cavaliers have put themselves on the precipice of a historical comeback. No team has ever returned from being down 3-1 in the Finals. In fact, only two other teams have ever forced a Game 7 out of the 32 teams that have attempted the feat.
For James, the game is seen as the opportunity to change the perception of him.
If LeBron is able to bring a championship to the city of Cleveland, it would be seen as one of the greatest individual accomplishments in basketball when considering his already stellar career.
As one of the most scrutinized athletes in the world today, it would validate his more controversial off-court decisions. His choice to come back to the Cavs with help to win a championship would be seen as the right decision.
Criticism that he is becoming irrelevant when considering the dominance of teams like the Warriors and Spurs would be silenced until another day further into the future.
As important as the game is for James, it is even bigger for the city of Cleveland. As documented in the “Believeland” film, the city has not had a championship in 50 years. They have also come heartbreakingly close in that span.
If the Cleveland Cavaliers were to succeed, the victory would be sweeter because of who they defeated to win the title.
The Golden State Warriors are the darlings of the league right now. Steph Curry is the hottest ticket in the NBA as even his pre-game warmups draw huge crowds. Such is his stardom that he is even rubbing shoulders with the President of the United States in commercials.
There’s also that small thing about having the best record in NBA history.
For Cleveland to win a championship against the popular Warriors, who proudly sport the best home-court advantage in the league, it would be seen as a curse-breaking level victory.
If Ohio is to enjoy a parade this summer, LeBron James is going to have to orchestrate one final perfect performance in Game 7.
Should he pull off the feat, he will have done nothing less than fulfill the immense promise that he has declared since day one. Win one for The Land.