When dealing with sports, I try not to get too excited. There are just too many let downs for me to get excited. Sports has a way of punching you in the gut repeatedly and at especially when you seem to have a full stomach. Sometimes watching your favorite team lose, especially to a weak team, is akin to watching your girlfriend make love in front of you to the bum downtown that asks you for change everyday. Almost as if she’s handing out a little charity of her own similarly to how your team just handed over a ‘W’ to the Browns or the Raiders.
That’s why, like I said, I Try not to get too excited. There are too many variables that goes into factoring whether or not a team will be successful as with my team last year.
In a way that’s what makes sports so great. You’re taught from a very young age that you can’t have everything that you want in life and the same thing applies in the sporting world, your team can’t win them all. Simply. Put.
But last night I “witnessed’ something truly remarkable in the NBA that literally no one, other than possibly Dan Gilbert, saw coming.
The “pitiful” LeBron-less Cavs beat the Boston Celtics. Not to mention that this Celtics squad was the team to put the Cavs and LeBron out of their misery in the Playoffs last season. Not to mention that this Celtics squad just beat the mighty Miami Heat squad WITH LeBron just a day earlier. What I “witnessed” was poetic justice at one of its finest moments.
The Cleveland Cavaliers out hustled, out shot, and out worked the reigning Eastern Conference Champion Boston Celtics for a season opening 95-87 win. Coming off of an emotional big win over the Miami Heat in their opener Tuesday night, the Celtics expected to easily roll over a team in transition, a team without a star player, when they traveled to Cleveland. What they got, instead, was a can of ass-whooping.
It’s no secret by now about how the city of Cleveland and especially the owner feels about LeBron bolting their city and taking his “talents” to South Beach. At the moment that LeBron declared that he wasn’t coming back to Cleveland, many pundits declared that the Cavs would not be able to bounce back from losing a two-time MVP and the best player that their team has ever known. As if their team would be set back to a time before basketball was even invented. Instantly the Cavs would go from a 60-win team to struggling to win a dozen games. A few more pundits even took things a step further and practically labeled the city of Cleveland a disaster zone and that their economy will surely collapse and unemployment rates would rise as everything in that city centered around Mr. James.
What I “witnessed” last night was hope being infused to a city that just a few months ago were in a state of despair and disbelief. What I saw was players trying to step into that shine that LeBron has vacated. What I saw was players playing like a team, that at times throughout the game I forgot that LeBron was even on the squad a year ago. They played that well.
What I also “witnessed” was a packed house and the fans cheering their team louder than ever before.
The Cavs had to win this game to show to the world the meaning of “adaptation” and that we all go through it. Life isn’t planned for any of us and we have to make changes on the fly when needed. The Cavs had to win to show that sometimes the grass may not be greener on the other side. Who knows what will happen? But what if J.J. Hickson turns out to be a player similar to Chris Bosh? And what if Dwyane Wade goes down for a longer period of time with another injury? Would that make LeBron have buyer’s remorse? Would he regret his decision? A lot of people were quick to point out that LeBron had no team in Cleveland. Yes, they may have folded in the playoffs, but no-talented teams do not win 60 or more games in consecutive seasons. That was and has always been a cop out while also being a media ploy to elevate LeBron’s level of greatness.
And in an age in the NBA when it seems like players can easily politic themselves onto the team of their choosing without any concern regarding the team that they left behind, it’s refreshing to see the Cavs one-up LeBron even though it was just for one game and the chances that this will hold up over an 82-game season are slim to none.
But then again, that’s what we said last night.