They came from Thailand and Australia and around the world and maybe even from the ends of the earth. I came from Jacksonville.
Former Clevelanders and Believelanders made their way in droves unrivaled to see the transcendental transformation that Lebron and the Cleveland Cavaliers NBA basketball team built for my hometown. The World Championship that seemed Biblical in proportion. The magical and memorable reversal of fortunes for a city forever ridiculed for a trash-covered burning lake, an unappreciated and neglected police department and a kidnapping-serial-killer surplus all within a few zip codes. All In became an Earned to a greater Cleveland area where it truly seems that Nothing has ever been Given. It took the Love of one man for a city and its people and their reciprocation to make the Impossible Dream Come True. A perfect team in a perfect year on a perfect day for a perfect parade for all the world to see and remember. A white cloud of hope and victory replacing the black cloud, the curse that had been my city’s legacy.
As the gods continued to align, they shone on the underestimated Cleveland Plain Dealer staff as they performed a Pulitzer Prize Worthy Quality performance as well. From photos to stories to headlines to unprecedented distribution by every member of the inside staff, they Delivered.
The massive crowd of 1.3 million fans -celebrity, native and gangsta- crowded the city to celebrate their hometown heroes in person. Shirtless JR, Kyrie and Iman, wrestling-championship-belt bedazzled Love, crowd-walking Mo and Rolls-Royce convertible throned Lebron, (with his newly franchised presidential protection detail), led the rest of the not-so-familiar famous members of the Cleveland team through the sometimes fan-blocked path in the streets of a confetti-gold downtown.
The eternal glow also enveloped the embattled Cleveland Police Department officers encompassed by Homeland Security Special Forces Detail as they served and protected all. Even little lost children came to them.
It ended with a grateful and comfortable Lebron and company inviting his newly-noticed international family to celebrate in traditional locker-room style. Fortunately, the 500,000 people transported to downtown via an all day $5 ticket on over-capacity RTA trains weren’t that angry when they couldn’t find their way home. My brother and I were among the tens of thousands of other stranded travelers who walked out of downtown 9/11-style from a five-hour-long parade spent in the homestyle heat enduring no loaves, no fishes and no water shortly before shots rang out. It was one for the record books that memories are made of.