The Cleveland Cavaliers have officially clinched the best record in the NBA which means they have earned the coveted home court advantage benefit throughout their entire playoff stretch, however long that lasts.
This is important for the Cavs in particular because they have dominated at home like no other team since the Boston Celtics went 40-1 in the 1985-1986 season.
There is so much about this Cavalier team to feel good about. The reasons to believe they are legitimate contenders for the title are vast.
But there is one BIG hurdle in the way.
A hurdle that continues to grow every time a team with the word "Cleveland" attached its uniform enters the postseason.
LeBron knows it too.
During his post game interview with Fred McCleod of FSN Ohio Monday night following the clinching victory over Indiana, LeBron openly cited "The Drive" and "The Shot" and the "Jose Mesa debacle" as he put it.
He knows what he is up against. He grew up in northeast Ohio. He has heard about it his entire life.
If there is one thing Cleveland fans know, it is heartbreak. It is The Curse.
You do not grow up in that quadrant of Ohio without knowing about "Red Right 88" against the Oakland Raiders.
Or the infamous "Drive."
The dominant '95 Indians (much like these current Cavs) who were the only victims of the perennial World Series losers, Atlanta Braves. These Braves made it to countless playoffs and only won versus the Tribe.
The Move. Our Cleveland Browns became the Baltimore Ravens and went on to win a Super Bowl.
The Sweep. A surprising appearance in the 2007 NBA Finals just to get swept by the San Antonio Spurs.
The 2007 Indians blew a three to one lead to the Red Sox in the ALCS, with their best two pitchers due to start for them.
Even the abysmal Browns managed a 10-6 record in 2007 and STILL DIDN'T MAKE THE PLAYOFFS! (The 2008 Pats can relate but they have recent memories of a dynasty to fall back on...we don't.)
Of course, our bitter rival Steelers just won a Super Bowl as well just to rub in what we don't have.
This is before I mention the countless star high school football players who left northeast Ohio for the maize and blue in the 80's and 90's and ended their collegiate careers with Heisman Trophies. Desmond Howard even posed in our face to add salt to the wound.
I could also mention the Buckeye heartbreaks from the loss to Michigan State in 1998 to the countless losses to Michigan in the 1990s that shut them out of Rose Bowl appearances or national championships or the BCS embarrassments in recent seasons.
This curse is heavy.
It is true.
It is worse than any sorry, poor excuse for a Curse that Boston or Chicago can claim.
While the Sox suffered, the Celtics had a dynasty and the Bruins won championships.
While the Cubs suffer, the Bulls had a dynasty and the Bears won a Super Bowl.
Cleveland has had nothing.
Just heartbreak, losing, and more nothing.
It will take someone of historic proportion, strength, and destiny to pull Cleveland out of this.
It will take someone who can rise above this Curse and shatter it.
It would be storybook if this historic figure came from the Cleveland area and knew about the Curse but still dominated in spite of it and the seemingly insurmountable pressure it brings.
It could be a classic story if this man amongst boys rose above it all and carried his team to a championship.
Will this be the year or will Kobe and the Lakers (or someone else) win "just another title?"