Since being drafted with the number one overall pick in 2003, LeBron James’s destiny was to bring a championship to the city of Cleveland after a 52-year drought. It took twelve seasons—four of which, of course, were spent in Miami—but James finally did it, defeating the Golden State Warriors, arguably (forever arguably now) the greatest team in history, seemingly by sheer force of will.
James has fused himself with Cleveland for years: the city’s story was also his. This was a branding move, no doubt—James got to remain the underdog, even as he became basketball’s greatest athlete—but it also became an increasingly poignant one. In the aftermath of the game, James summed up the narrative—that James is Cleveland and Cleveland is James—nicely:
“Just knowing what our city has been through, northeast Ohio has been through, as far as our sports and everything for the last 50-plus years. You could look back to the Earnest Byner fumble, Elway going 99 yards, to Jose Mesa not being able to close out in the bottom of the ninth to the Cavs went to The Finals—I was on that team—in 2007, us getting swept, and then last year us losing 4-2. And so many more stories. And our fans, they ride or die, no matter what’s been going on, no matter the Browns, the Indians, the Cavs and so on, and all other sports teams. 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.”
This is a great moment for Cleveland. And it’s an especially great moment when you remember that Donald Trump is coming to town in less than a month. James may be bringing home a title, but Trump is bringing chaos.