What a difference a second makes.
Lost in the insanity following LeBron James' one second wonder for the win on Friday night, is just how close the Cavaliers were to joining the heartbreaking list of Cleveland pro sports teams that just couldn't get it done.
Over the past few generations, the Browns and Indians have come close but ultimately left fans in Cleveland title-less and feeling cursed. The Browns epic losses to the Denver Broncos in the '80s were especially excruciating because they were at home and saw the team come oh so close to a Super Bowl trip.
Of those losses, The Fumble was worse than The Drive. I mean, John Elway with the game in his hands, what are you going to do? But Earnest Byner had the game in his hands and was two yards from Cleveland immortality, when he infamously fumbled the game away.
Fortunately for Byner, he recovered and went on to enjoy Super Bowl glory with the Washington Redskins. Browns' fans? Not sure they've recovered yet.
So, now comes LeBron James to wipe away all of this curse talk. He's simply the best player on the planet and loves the big moment. Surely, he's bigger than any jinx dreamed up by fans.
The Cavs entered the playoffs with the league's best record and they dominated at the Q. But they lost the Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals to the Orlando Magic. No problem, the Cavs were off too many days. They'll be back to ride into the Finals.
Except it wasn't that easy. After letting a Game 2 lead slip away, the Cavs were fighting for their life up 93-90 with 1:39 left in the game. Time for LeBron to close it out. But then with 58 seconds left, King James had his shot blocked by Michael Pietrus. Rare.
After the Magic cashed in the block to tie the game at the other end, LeBron was called for a travel while trying to reclaim the lead. A travel? On LeBron? Two critical possessions in LeBron's hands and he offers up a blocked shot and travel. I could sense the desperation and resignation inside the Q from my living room. These people know disappointment and this was beginning to look familiar.
After Hedo Turkoglu put the Magic up two with one second left in the game, a deluge of bad memories flooded the Q. I'm telling you, it was coming through the television. No one rooting hard for Cleveland thought they would make a game-winner.
But just as it looked like LeBron would spend the summer with a LeByner nickname weighing him down, he rose up, literally, and knocked down one of the most gorgeous and important game-winners of all time. Doubters were quickly transformed to believers once again. That's right. Not this time, not with LeBron on our side.
Once again, Cleveland is primed and ready to win, at least for another day.