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Ohio State head coach Thad Matta and center Amir Williams (23) celebrate in the closing seconds of their 95-70 win over Iona in a second-round game at the NCAA tournament, Friday, in Dayton. (AP Photo/Skip Peterson)
Ohio State guard Aaron Craft (left) chases a loose ball with Iona guard Tre Bowman in the first half of a second-round game in the NCAA tournament, Friday, in Dayton. (AP Photo/Skip Peterson)
Iona guard Tavon Sledge (3) has his shot blocked by Ohio State center Amir Williams (23) in the first half of a second-round game in the NCAA tournament, Friday, in Dayton. Aaron Craft (4) watches. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)
Iona guard Lamont Jones (2) is defended by Ohio State forward Sam Thompson, center Amir Williams (23), and forward Deshaun Thomas (1) t in the first half of a second-round game in the NCAA tournament, Friday, in Dayton. (AP Photo/Skip Peterson)
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.”