PHOTOS: Cleveland Rejoices After First Major Sports Title In A Half-Century

Jun 20, 2016
Originally published on June 20, 2016 2:24 pm

The curse was over.

On Sunday Night, the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Golden State Warriors and took home the NBA championship.

It was the Cavs' first-ever NBA title.

It fulfilled a promise LeBron James made two years ago, when he returned to his hometown and swore he'd win them a championship.

And for the city, it was the first major title — in any professional sport — for more than 50 years, since the Browns won the NFL championship in 1964.

Every championship victory is celebrated. But this one was special for Cleveland, which has suffered near miss after near miss for the last five decades.

The Associated Press, reporting from a watch party at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, said that after the game fans poured onto the street "for a party that could last for days."

"A few climbed aboard a fire truck and a bus and up trees and light poles. Police reported a few arrests and a car with its windshield smashed, but there were no major problems, just unbridled happiness — 52 years of frustration released in one cathartic crescendo."

James said the city's sports fans are legendary in their loyalty, and earned this moment.

"Our fans, they ride or die, no matter what's been going on, no matter the Browns, the Indians, the Cavs, and all other sports teams," James said, the AP reports. "They continue to support us. And for us to be able to end this, end this drought, our fans deserve it. They deserve it. And it was for them.

"It's going to be the biggest party Cleveland has ever seen."

NPR's Renita Jablonski, a senior editor for All Things Considered who grew up in the Cleveland suburbs, writes for the Two-Way that she'll remember this day for the rest of her life.

"I'm from Cleveland," she says. "People from Cleveland know not to get ahead of themselves. We know what it's like to lose. We know what it's like to be mocked."

In sports, she writes, "there's always a winner and there's always a home team to crawl back to and love, despite everything.

"For the first time in my lifetime, Cleveland is both."

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