After the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Golden State Warriors in Game 7 of the NBA Finals on Sunday – thus winning the city’s first championship in more than half a century – all of Northeast Ohio rejoiced. It was a special, cathartic moment for generations of Clevelanders who had known nothing but heartache and disappointment.
Well, thanks to LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and others, it’s time to usher in a new era.
Andy Baskin couldn’t be happier – for the city, yes, but also for people he personally knows who have suffered for decades while pining for a title.
“Well, there are a couple people that really came to mind, especially my family,” Cleveland’s 92.3 The Fan host said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “My brother, who I lost 10 years ago, was a gigantic Cavalier fan, and I was thinking of my dad and all those days we spent sitting and watching games, especially when I was younger, of teams that had heartbreak – (like) when the Cavaliers got stonewalled by those great Bulls teams with Michael Jordan. But if there was one person outside of my family that I was most happy for, it was Austin Carr.”
Carr, 68, was the No. 1 overall pick in 1971. He played for the Cavs throughout the 1970s and led them during the famed “Miracle of Richfield.” He has been the team’s color commentator for several years and has been dubbed “Mr. Cavalier.”
“I watched him cry the night we found out we were going to get LeBron the first time, and he has put his heart and soul and everything into the Cavaliers,” Baskin said. “Then I watched him do his interview with LeBron after (Game 7), and he was just in tears. If there’s one guy that I really just cherish every moment for, it’s Austin Carr, who wasn’t born in Cleveland but became a Clevelander and stayed in Cleveland for his career after basketball. That would be the other guy.”
Cleveland hadn’t won a championship of any sort since the days of Jim Brown. Thus, Sunday’s win provided a huge exhale for the city.
“That is an understatement,” Baskin said. “This city, there’s no road rage, everyone’s been smiling for the last couple days, the sun has been shining – I don’t think I’ve seen a cloud in three days here. (Everyone’s attitude was), ‘Just once in my lifetime, please before I die, can one of our teams win a championship?’ That’s been a mantra. It is an overwhelming sense of relief and I can’t wait to see what the fans are (going to be) like today downtown (for the parade). It’s going to be amazing.”