LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Golden State Warriors 93-89 in Game Seven on Sunday to win their first NBA championship and complete a historic comeback.
With the victory over the Stephen Curry’s top-seeded defending champions, the Cavaliers became the first team to rally from a 3-1 series deficit in the best-of-seven NBA Finals and win the title.
For James, who dropped to the court in tears after the final buzzer, the win not only marks his third championship following two wins with the Miami Heat in 2012 and 2013, but it fulfills his promise to deliver a title to his home state.
As the final seconds ticked off on the giant scoreboard inside Quicken Loans Arena, 18,000 fans, some of them strangers when Sunday night began, cried, hugged, screamed and shared a moment many of them have spent a lifetime dreaming of.
Cleveland became a title town for the first time since December 27, 1964, when the Browns won the NFL (National Football League) championship.
Facing elimination in each of their previous two games, James carried the Cavs back from the brink as they became only the third team to force a Game Seven after falling behind 3-1 in the championship round.
— NBA (@NBA) June 20, 2016
“I’ve had goal for two years since I came back to bring a championship to the city,” said an emotional James, who returned to the Cavaliers in 2014 after a four-year stint with Miami that included a pair of NBA championships.
“I gave it everything that I had. I poured my heart, my blood, my sweat and my tears into this game.”
For James, the win not only marks his third NBA title, but it will go down as the single greatest achievement of his storied career as it fulfills his promise to deliver a title to his home state of Ohio.
“I understand what everyone in northeastern Ohio have been through the last 50-plus years and I am happy to be a part of history,” said James, who was in tears as he wrapped his arms around the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy. “I can’t wait to get back home. I am ready to get to you guys.”
After a record smashing regular season the Warriors could not cap off the campaign with a second successive title, unable to deliver the knockout punch after going up 3-1 in the best-of-season series.
“Just an incredible run that obviously didn’t end the way we wanted it to,” said Warriors head coach Steve Kerr. “It’s been an incredible two-year run. We’re disappointed that it didn’t go our way at the end, but that’s life.”
For the record-breaking Warriors, who had a record 73 wins during the 82-game regular season, Sunday’s defeat marked the first time since November 2013 that they have lost three consecutive games.