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Miami Heat forward LeBron James during the fourth quarter of Game 3 in the NBA Finals against the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday. The Spurs beat the Heat 113-77. (AP Photo/El Nuevo Herald, David Santiago)
Miami Heat's LeBron James passes NBA championship placards as he arrives for a team practice, Wednesday, in San Antonio. Miami will face the San Antonio Spurs in game 4 of the NBA Finals basketball game Thursday. San Antonio leads the best-of-seven series 2-1. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
(From left) Miami Heat guard Norris Cole, forward Mike Miller, forward LeBron James, guard Ray Allen, and center Chris Andersen during the third quarter in Game 3 of the NBA Finals, Tuesday, in San Antonio. (David Santiago/El Nuevo Herald/MCT)
What started off as fantasy has become reality. The black-and-white images of a city swarming LeBron James in a heartwarming Nike ad upon his return to Cleveland came true at the city’s historic parade, when 1 million fans flooded the streets to swallow James and the Cavaliers in delight.
The Cavs’ NBA championship wasn’t just the first in the team’s 45-year history; it absolved a city and fan base of a lifetime of sports devastation. The broken road to get here took too many detours to count, but it ended with James pounding the court in disbelief, tears in his eyes and joy in his heart.
“Just knowing what our city has been through, Northeast Ohio has been through as far as our sports and everything for the last 50 years,” James said. “Our fans, they ride or die, no matter what’s been going on. They continue to support us. For us to be able to end this drought, our fans deserve it. They deserve it. And it was for them.”