Sunday, June 03, 2007

I'm Happy

In case you lot haven't figured it out here on The Sports Elitists just yet, I am a huge, life-long, die-hard Cleveland Cavaliers fan. As such, it's still kind of hard for me to describe what this city is feeling--even nearly 24 hours later--after the Cavs crowned the Pistons 98-82 and advanced to their first ever NBA Finals to face the San Antonio Spurs. As such, you can probably look for a more all-encompassing summation of the series tomorrow, but for now I will tell you that there are a few people that I am just thrilled to death for, aside from all of my fellow Cavs fans everywhere. Here they are, in the order of how happy I am for them:

Joe Tait is just awesome
1- Joe Tait. The legendary Cleveland play-by-play man finally has a championship series to call. After enduring decades of C-Town mediocrity and being behind the mic for Michael Jordan's gut-wrenching masterpiece known as "The Shot," Joe quite possibly deserves this more than anyone. For all the Cleveland fans reading this, I don't even have to tell you... but for the rest of you out there, you should know this: Joe Tait is arguably the best announcer, radio or TV, in the entire NBA. His calls are always crisp and entertaining and he never gets too bogged down in superfluous nonsense or hyperbole. He does the games solo, save for time-out interaction with studio host Mike Snyder, and never misses anything important on the court. He is clearly unimpressed with celebrity or the modern trappings of the NBA. My favorite Joe Tait moment ever occurred last season when the Cavs were playing the Heat and after a TV timeout Tait says, "As we await the return to live action, Damon Jones will inbound the ball out of the timeout. Right now, though, he seems to be talking to a young lady at courtside. What'd you say her name was, Mike? Beyonce? Hmm. Anyway Jones inbounds to LeBron, over the time line..." That's right, Beyonce, Joe Tait doesn't give a rats ass about you or your music. God, Joe is awesome. I hope the Cavs win the title just so that HE gets a ring! If you listen to a little taste of Joe's call from the 4th quarter of Game 6, you'll know what I mean.

You deserve this, big man.
2- Zydrunas Ilgauskas. This is Z's 10th year with the Cavaliers and he's been through the wars with the orange & blue/wine & gold. I mean, you name it: the awful late-90's jerseys, Shawn Kemp, his nagging foot injuries, rock bottom in 02-03, the '03 Lottery and now all the way to the NBA Finals--Z has seen it all here. And that's just speaking about basketball; especially this season he's had a rough go of it off the court as well. It was not for nothing that the first person LeBron hugged after the final horn sounded was Big Z. It was a special gesture that I think everyone in Cleveland understood. There may not be a player in Cleveland that deserves a championship, save for LeBron, more than Zydrunas Ilgauskas.

I'm not kidding you, it's a virtual planetoid! It's got its own weather systems!
3- Mike Brown. That's right, I said it, Mike Brown. All season and all playoffs Mike Brown has been slagged up and down by the fans and the media for every single shortcoming on the Cavaliers, some of it rightfully so. But if you're going to assign all the blame for the bad to Coach Mike, you better be ready to heap on the praise for the good as well. Brown's defensive schemes completely frustrated the Pistons, effectively shutting down Chauncey Billups for the first half of the series and completely neutralizing Tayshaun Prince. To put it another way, the Pistons did not suck independently, despite what they may have said during the series. No, the Pistons sucked because the Cavs defense made them suck. Even in the games Detroit won, their offense sucked. That is all down to The Coach With The Huge Noggin. That's right, Cavs fans, Coach Mike was a huge reason the Cavs beat the Pistons.

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