“King James,” Cleveland’s affectionate nickname for their homegrown NBA megastar Lebron, has finally done it: he put the team on his back, fought and clawed his way through the NBA Championships, and secured the Cavaliers their first-ever set of championship rings. And he made it very apparent both on the court and after the game that, although the Cavs’ 2016 NBA Championship win is absolutely huge for the franchise, it was an even bigger emotional victory for King James himself.
As soon as the final buzzer sounded with the scoreboard reading “Cleveland Cavaliers: 93, Golden State Warriors: 89,” James dropped to his knees and began sobbing in long-awaited ecstasy, overcome by how much of himself James had given in anticipation of that moment over the course of his career.
When King James had returned to the Cavaliers after his stint with the Miami Heat, he had promised the Cleveland fans that he would bring them a championship.
It is not surprising that James felt he owed the city a huge debt. After all, it is where his basketball career was born and bred into the league-dominating monster it is today, and King James thinks of the Cavs fanbase as his family.
“I love you,” James said to a crowd of 25,000 people two years ago when he returned to Cleveland. “I’m back.”
“I’m not gonna sit up here and say it’s not. To know you can do things for people, give them hope, give them inspiration. It means a lot to me. I understand I’m a role model. I understand to these kids I’m more than a role model. I’m a superhero to them. I’m a father to them.”
Now, to be able to bring home the bacon and give his fans, his NBA family, something he has been trying to retrieve for them his whole life… one can understand why King James broke down and cried.
“I’m home. I’m home,” James said through tears of joy. “This is what I came back for. I’m at a loss for words. This is unbelievable. It doesn’t feel real right now.”
The Cleveland fans are not the only ones to whom King James acted as an inspiration, either, as Lebron’s teammate Kyrie Irving told ESPN when James was selected as the finals MVP for the third time in his career.
“I’m very thankful that I have a guy like that that’s leading our team that I can continue to learn from. And when my time does come of being able to lead a franchise and see the landscape of how it’s supposed to be composed, I watched Beethoven right now of LeBron James compose a game,” Erving gushed.
After the game, King James cleaned himself up and gave an emotional speech in the Cavaliers locker room.
“I gave everything that I have,” James said.
“I put my heart and my blood and my sweat and my tears in this game and—against all odds, against all odds, I don’t know why we want to take the hardest road.”
“I don’t know why the man above gave me the hardest road but there’s nothing the man above going to put new situations that you can’t handle. And I just kept the same positive attitude. Like, instead of saying ‘Why me?’, I was saying ‘This is what he wanted me to do.’ Cleveland, this is for you!” James finished jubilantly.
What a night for Cleveland sports fans. Again, the Cavs have never won the NBA Championship, and none of the city’s major teams has won a championship in their respective leagues since the Browns were victorious in the 1964 Super Bowl. Not to mention that no NBA team has ever come back from a 3-1 deficit in the final round of the Championships and won, the feat that was completed last night.
But no matter how huge the night may have been for the fans, it was almost certainly even more of a win for King James himself. It was an evening James will definitely never forget, and he earned it 100 percent. Enjoy the offseason, Lebron. Cleveland fans will be eagerly awaiting the return of King James in October.
[Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images]