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Francisco Lindor (right) of the Akron RubberDucks safely steals second as Trenton Thunder shortstop Ali Castillo loses the ball during the first inning Monday at Canal Park. (Karen Schiely/Akron Beacon Journal)
Gabriel Arias of the Akron RubberDucks pitches against the Trenton Thunder during the first inning Monday at Canal Park. (Karen Schiely/Akron Beacon Journal)
Francisco Lindor of the Akron RubberDucks makes a hit against Trenton Thunder pitcher Bryan Mitchell during the first inning at Canal Park Monday at Canal Park. (Karen Schiely/Akron Beacon Journal)
Tyler Naquin (right) of the Akron RubberDucks beats the tag of Trenton Thunder shortstop Ali Castillo and steals second base during the third inning Monday at Canal Park. (Karen Schiely/Akron Beacon Journal)
Jordan Smith of the Akron RubberDucks leaps against the right field wall to catch a hit by Rob Segedin of the Trenton Thunder during the third inning during Monday at Canal Park. (Karen Schiely/Akron Beacon Journal)
Second baseman Joe Wendle of the Akron RubberDucks completes the double play from RubberDucks shortstop Francisco Lindor as Wendle catches Ali Castillo of the Trenton Thunder off second base during the second inning Monday at Canal Park. (Karen Schiely/Akron Beacon Journal)
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.”