Tonight the Cleveland Cavaliers will travel to Oakland to take on the Golden State Warriors in Game 1 of the 2016 NBA Finals. This is why these guys play, nothing is more important right now. But these finals more than any other in recent memory, have substantially more meaning. Win or lose these 2016 NBA Finals mean everything and more to both teams involved.
The Cavaliers, led by their “Big 3” of Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love and LeBron James, are on a quest to bring give Cleveland and the entire state of Ohio something that they haven’t tasted since 1964; A Championship. Cleveland is the proud owner of 3 major professional sports teams, The NFL’s Cleveland Browns, The MLB’s Cleveland Indians and of course the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers; the most recent of which to don the Champion title being the Jim Brown led Browns in 1964. That’s a drought of 52 years people, that’s a long time to be a fan; long enough that many truly believe the city is cursed. So since LeBron announced his heavily anticipated return to Cleveland through the Sports Illustrated letter, there has never been more sense of hope and urgency (because let’s face it, LeBron isn’t getting any younger) for the state of Ohio.
LeBron has graduated from the College of South Beach, he’s got arguably the best supporting cast he has ever played with, and they’re healthy; he’s never been in a better position to achieve what essentially will define his career; bringing a championship back to Cleveland. There is no other way to say it; they need this now.
The Warriors are coming off the single best NBA regular season ever, their 73 wins trumped the ‘95/’96 Bulls record of 72 wins. Most would think that the Golden State Warriors have nothing to prove, being the reigning Champions and all; but they do. So why should they need to win? Because if the Golden State Warriors don’t walk away with the Larry O’Brien trophy, then their historic and record-breaking regular season record acquires a glaring asterisk. If they don’t win this series they merely become “The Greatest Regular Season Team in NBA History”; the addition of the words regular season to this title hurts so much for these players. In the NBA, greatness is measured in the post season and not the regular season. Teams don’t hang banners for regular season accomplishments and in future conversations when people discuss the greatest team ever, this Warriors team will be dismissed if they don’t handle business and double up. There is also the fact that a lot of people still consider their run to the title last year as being easy and there are still people out there that believe that a healthy Cavaliers team last year would’ve beaten this Warriors team.
The Warriors need this to silence the doubters, they need this stop all the questions, they need this to put the proverbial cherry on top of the Sundae that is this season, they need this to cement their legacy and legitimately enter the conversation for the greatest team to ever step on a basketball court.
So believe it or not, but the Golden State Warriors need this way more than the Cleveland Cavaliers do!
The Courtside Collective wants to know your thoughts.
Disagree ? Who do you think needs this more?