"Sheer will is going to win this game" - Damon Jones
Last night, I was out celebrating the birthdays of two of my friends and my new job, which I will officially announce next week. We went to the Rush Inn and I strategically picked the seat where I could keep one eye on the Cavs game. But with only six healthy players remaining on the roster plus two 10-day contract D-League players, the expectation was of a loss. But I was curious.
By the time we headed to Sloane Pub to play a little shuffleboard, the basketball game was headed to halftime. I was impressed that the Cavs were hanging tough. But outside of LeBron James and Z, no one on the roster was used to playing major minutes. I was prepared for a fade.
As the clock ticked down, I started to get excited and spent more time watching the muted game than curling pucks. I said to my friend, “If they could pull this off, it would be one of those wins that take these guys and instantly make them one.”
That idea was supported by the celebration after the victory. For a dog-day February game, LeBron showed a lot of emotion. Damon Jones soaked in his moment of being the man and got on the scorers table and pointed to his new teammates watching in suits in the suite. Can you imagine what those four guys were thinking? Just two days ago they were all were mired on terrible teams with no real chance at the playoffs. Now they will be playing with the Chosen One. They have to be fired up. This is a chance to play deep into the playoffs. And with Joe Smith and Delonte West in contract years, playing James could provide a financial windfall. And how about those two D-Leaguers Billy Thomas and Kaniel Dickens- imagine going from long bus rides in basketball backwoods to playing alongside LeBron James- tell those two won't run through a wall if asked.
That game showed the heart of LeBron and his team. You never know anything in sports especially when you think you do. But that effort gives the hope of a beautiful May and June in Cleveland.
(Note: With the new job starting Monday, the next few weeks might be slow on this blog. But don’t fret, I will return soon)