What is it with guys in #23 jerseys breaking Cavs fans’ hearts?
As counterintuitive as this sounds, the Cavs should simply retire LeBron James’ #23, if for no other reason than to move one step closer to having it removed altogether from the NBA.
For their first two decades, the Cleveland Cavaliers, with the help of criminally incompetent owner Ted Stepien, were among the NBA’s bottom-dwellers, having won more than 43 games in a season just once. In many ways, the last two decades (22 years actually) have been kinder to the Cavs, with 11 seasons of 47+ wins, seven seasons of 50+ wins, two 60-win seasons, and the franchise’s only trip to the NBA Finals.
However, for various reasons - most involving serious injury or some dude in a #23 jersey, even the best of seasons have ended in heartbreak. In the deciding game of Round 1 of the 1989 playoffs, Michael Jordan hit “The Shot." In the 1993 Eastern Conference Finals, Michael hit “The Shot: Part II." The franchise won the lottery (literally) in 2003, and with it the right to draft local prodigy LeBron James, only to have its best-ever run tend in tears, as the local chose not to make good but to seek greener pastures elsewhere, but only after publicly toying with the only professional franchise he’d ever known.
Is Cleveland cursed? Probably not. Really unlucky? Definitely? On the ropes? For the time being. Is there hope? Always.