Rising over the southern shore of Lake Erie is the singular metropolis known definitively as “The Land”—home to diehard basketball fans who know triumph invariably follows tribulation. Gear up for the glory.
For 52 agonizing years, The Land has endured episodes of heartbreak and coming up short while waiting for the elusive celebration of a major championship. That wait is officially over. Pay homage to the Cavs’ historic Game 7 finish that gave us a new “The” to overshadow all others: The Ring.
It’s time to forget... The Drive: Jan. 11, 1987, fourth quarter of the AFC Championship, 5:32 left on the clock. With the Browns leading 20-13, the Denver Broncos charge 98 yards to the end zone, taking the game to overtime, and, well you know the rest.
The Fumble: Jan. 17, 1988, the AFC Championship Game rematch between the Browns and Broncos, another unthinkable horror: A Cleveland fumble on the Broncos’ 1-yard line with 1:12 to go and the game-winning touchdown within reach.
The Shot: May 7, 1989, Bulls vs. Cavs, Eastern Conference First Round, 3 seconds left in the deciding Game 5, Cavs up 100-99. Chicago inbounds the ball to a double-teamed Michael Jordan, a second left, and...the shot is good.
The Move: The Cleveland Browns become the Baltimore Ravens. Art Modell is no longer welcome in The Land.
The Blown Save: Oct. 26, 1997, Game 7 of the World Series, Cleveland Indians facing Florida Marlins. With the Tribe leading 2-1 going into the bottom of the ninth, all closer José Mesa needed to do was, well, close. Again, you know the outcome.
THIS ITEM IS ON BACKORDER--ORDERS CONTAINING CHARCOAL WILL SHIP BY 7/1 AND ORDERS CONTAINING ROYAL BLUE WILL SHIP BY 7/11
Presenting THE tee responsible for the ultimate trolling in NBA history: Get all in on LeBron James’ choice response to the Golden State Warriors following the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 2016 championship-winning comeback. Kermit hat not included.
Big hair, bigger muscles, and the biggest moves. With his signature neon arm tassels, face paint, and unforgettable histrionics, the Ultimate Warrior established himself as wrestling’s ultimate draw in an era stuffed with superstars. After whetting his title appetite in 1988 with the Intercontinental Champion crown, the man from Parts Unknown used every ounce of his 6’2” 280-pounds to pin Hulk Hogan in the main event of WrestleMania VI to become the first simultaneous Intercontinental Champion and Heavyweight Champion. Pay homage to the ringmaster who delivered dismantling atomic drops, gorilla press slams, suplexes and his signature Big Splash finisher to the “Ravishing” Rick Rude, “Macho Man” Randy Savage, and the Undertaker among countless others.
In Cleveland, there are no handouts—only hard work. Because in Wine and Gold Country, it’s well known, that to make it, you show up early, and don’t dream of leaving until everything you have is already left on the floor. And when we talk leaving, we know it’s only to come back and begin again. Because records don’t come easy. Glory isn’t given. It’s EARNED. Which is no more evident than on the hardwood. Suit up and celebrate the ‘ship.
It might be easy to sum up more than 50 years without a championship as The Curse. But easy ain’t the way of The Land. Hard times. Harder work. ‘Cause in Cleveland nothing is taken for granted, and, with history up for the taking, the Cavaliers seized what had been a long time coming.
Because you’ve been there through the thick and thin—and, man, did things get thin under Ted Stepien. But you’ve known that, since the Miracle of Richfield and all those playoff runs under the Gunds, league glory was written in the stars. Here’s to believing, to being witness to the hardware, and to the celebrations of today silencing the perpetual talk of next year. Pay homage.