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The NBA Draft, Cavaliers Style

photo: Joshua Gunter

Please welcome our new and awesome guest poster and Cleveland fan, Adam Liberman. 

Unless you are a sports junkie, the MLB and NHL Drafts are really boring. Until the recent increase in coverage from the modern-media landscape and these two leagues adding their own networks, no one knew more than a handful of players without a copy of Baseball America or The Hockey News. Part of it was how young some of these prospects are and part of it is that the impact at the top levels can take a few years.

The “exciting” drafts were the NBA and NFL Drafts. These are the drafts that feature players many people know from the over-saturation of NCAA football and basketball on television and because the athletes can make an immediate impact on the fortune of franchises. These are the drafts that get Cleveland sports fans excited there could be a light at the end of the Browns’ and Cavaliers’ tunnels.

So, as a Cavaliers fan, it was one of the few anticipated days of the year. As a long-time Cleveland sports fan, the idea of actually competing and winning a championship is now so crazy we just focus on our teams hopefully not screwing up the usual top-five selection, which they normally do. You know, other than that 2003 draft…but that guy left anyway.

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It Wasn’t LeBron, It Was Cleveland

Brian Windhorst is one of the best beat writers in the NBA, but today I discovered he’s also a modern day Upton Sinclair.

It’s tough to be a reporter, truth-to-power, taking a stand in the face of adversity and all that.  And sometimes you need to dispel egregious misconceptions.  Sometimes, you need to point out that the emperor has no clothes.  You have to stand in the face of a thousand dissenting voices and yell, “NO!  This shall not stand!”  Let not the ocean of opposition drown you out.  You must defy all those who would silence you.  Thank God we have men such as these.  Thank God for Brian Windhorst.

I am shocked – shocked to find out things aren’t what we’ve been told they are here.  Contrary to the the scuttlebutt on Cleveland, turns out IT SUCKS!  Oh, wait, what?  How can that be? Didn’t I just hear Joakim Noah saying it was his favorite road city?

No?  I feel so deceived.  Every day we’re all bombarded with how great it is here and how shit doesn’t catch on fire and Drew Carey, blah, blah.

But — holy fuck — was I misled.  Now I find out it’s actually a gigantic putrid asshole?  Damn what would I have done without the intrepid Brian Windhorst?  What with all the jokes about how ridiculously great Cleveland is, one is almost forced to believe it the best place on earth.  I distinctly remember that not once did I hear anyone suggest LeBron’s “the decision” was based on the fact that no one would ever want to live in Cleveland by choice.

Now, almost a year later, he springs it on us.  I’m glad he was finally able to muster the courage.  I have to think his job is now on the line. But he’s taken the risk for us.  He’s revealed the truth despite the obvious peril it exposes him to. While I appreciate that, it’s almost too much to take.  Next thing you know he’ll be telling us it’s a BAD idea to put pictures of your cock on twitter.  (No jinx!)

Finally, the whole thing makes a lot more sense.  It was only a year ago Windhorst was saying LeBron “had blood on his hands” for his performance in the playoffs and that 2010 would be a “permanent mark” on his career.  Now we find out LeBron was just so distracted by the declining population in northeast Ohio that he forgot to make baskets!  His concern for our economic well-being was so great he had to shoot foul shots left-handed in order to demonstrate the backwardness and corruption rampant in Cuyahoga County!  It may have APPEARED he was standing idly by as his team fell apart, but in actuality he was busy drawing up ways to reconfigure the tax structure to attract new businesses.  I take back all the bad things I said about you, LeBron.  It’s shameful I was unable to solve this mystery myself when everything was right there in front of my face.

So carry on, Brian Windhorst.  Shine your beacon of truth wherever the dark shadows of deceit would obscure our vision.

Image: Clevescene.com

Cavs Beat Lakers, a Blogger Reflects

11/30 – Cavs start 7-10: “Okay, we’re not looking that bad.  We might finish .500-ish!”

12/2 – Cavs lose to some asshole: “OK. I’ve heard trying helps, but going with a different strategy. I’m with ya.”

12/17 – Cavs lose 10 straight to drop to 7-19: “Youch. But run off a 12-game win streak, we’re right back in it.”

12/18 – Cavs beat Knicks: “That 8th win is always the toughest. Especially when it takes like 3 months to get it.”

Losing makes Christian Eyenga sleepy.

1/11 – Cavs lose to Lakers by an order of magnitude: “There is not enough beer in creation to endure this.”

12/20/10 through 02/09/11 – Cavs end up constructing Generals-esque losing streak dropping 26! in a row: “Fuck a duck.”

If you’re mathing at home, the Cavs went 1 and 36 over a 37-game span.

2/11 – Through sheer willpower and consumption of potato moonshine I lead the Cavs to their 9th victory when they beat the Clippers last Friday: “One day I will tell my grandchildren about the crappiest team I was ever a fan of winning that game that one time that I was at.”

2/16 – After laying an egg against the Wizards 3 nights before, Cavs inexplicably beat the Lakers: “I am going to stay up past 2 am writing a post about these magnificent bastards getting 10 wins in 56 games.”

Hey sometimes it takes you three games to win two and sometimes it takes 38. And it sounds like someone is feeling a little jealous.

Go Cavs!

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Fair Weather Fans — Baby it’s Cold Outside

The term “fair-weather fan” is a derisive one.  And in my younger days, I often looked down on FWFs with great contempt.

“You should love your team unconditionally man!  You should spend your precious little free time watching them continually shit the bed against actual NBA teams!”

Then, the Cavs lost to the Lakers by a bunch-a-million points.  Holy hell’s bells in a hand-made Longaberger handbasket.  Fortunately, I was at a bar for most of the game where I was unfortunately unable to drink enough to blur my vision sufficiently as I had to drive home, though I suspect any buzz gained would have been killed.

Terror of carnival workers everywhere.

Christian Eyenga. Allegedly 21. (NBA.com)

Even though it’s difficult to recognize most of these dudes in their NBA game jerseys, have a look anyway.  Most of those you might know are injured, coming off an injury or playing like the titular Bernie during his infamous weekend.

Interesting list, eh?  You might be wondering, who is Samardo Samuels?  I have no fucking idea, but I’m reasonably certain he’s one of the top 10 players from Trelawny, Jamaica.  Is Gee good?  Not at the moment, but who can forget his utter domination of his nephew Jimmy at the Gee Thanksgiving 2-on-2 tournament?  Gee’s sister was rightfully PISSED.  Christian Eyenga?  He’s a 21-year old African dude who looks 45.

Ok, so it’s not exactly a murderer’s row of basketball unless said murdering is of the hopes and dreams of Cavalier fans for the next decade or five.  But still, I suspect even this sorry group of should-be NBDL players could have mustered a smaller deficit than 55 points.  I fuss, but why?  Is 49 all that much different than 55? Ok, yes, it’s 6 different.

So, I find myself struggling more and more to watch the Cavs.  And it’s made me more understanding.  Next time, instead of being out in the snow and -30 wind chill and shaking my fist at those indoors, I’m going to march right in and crack open a beer with that wise and warm fair-weather fan.

This was the end of the post, but then, there’s this. Uh, karma?  I will leave you with the words of the great Inigo Montoya, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

Would-Be Cavs Announcer Ted Williams Headed To Rehab

Ted Williams, the homeless man with the amazing radio voice, had a close encounter with Dr Phil this week. As it often does with Dr Phil, it ended in a trip to rehab.

The would-be NBA announcer was panhandling by the side of the road when a journalist decided to videotape him as he displayed his remarkable radio voice.  A YouTube post later, the video went wildly viral and the world changed for Williams, who has struggled with alcohol and drug addictions for decades but claimed he has been sober for 2 years. During that time he has also generated himself a hefty rap sheet.  He became an instant sensation, literally sleeping on the street one night and sleeping in a $too-much-a-night hotel the next. Offers for voiceover work poured  in, from NFL Films, Kraft, MSNBC. The Cleveland Cavaliers offered him an announcer job — and a house.

However, the story does not end on that fairytale note. On an episode of the Dr. Phil show airing today, Williams admits that he has been drinking daily since his whirlwind of fame began.

While this is disappointing, it is also not surprising in the least. Even for someone who has not struggled with the demons of addiction, the stresses of instant fame and the media scrutiny can be overpowering.  For someone who has had to fight them, the temptation to give in to those demons must be devastating. It’s doubtful Williams had any professional help to deal with his addictions previously, and on the street it must be nearly impossible to make any life changes.

But now, Williams is incredibly lucky. He has access to a top-notch rehab facility (Dr Phil. doesn’t cheap out) and the prospects of jobs and a bright future will still lie ahead of him, guaranteed.

That video may have quite literally saved his life.

Williams has demons to fight – his own. Amends to make – to many people he hurt during his years of addiction. And if he can get past those, he’ll also have plays to announce and mac and cheese to shill.  Let’s hope he makes it.