In today’s society, we want everything now. We want our meals now, so we hit the drive through. We use the internet and social media to get our news and information at the click of a button. This trend is no different when it comes to our sports, especially in Cleveland. The city has not seen a championship in over 50 years and we are sick and tired of watching losers.

When LeBron James announced he was returning home, the Cavs went from an afterthought to an immediate title contender. That will happen when the best player in the world teams up with two other well-known all-stars (Kevin Love & Kyrie Irving). Coming to Cleveland along with James and Love, were the highest expectations the franchise has ever seen. These championship expectations are something that players like Irving, Love, Tristan Thompson and others have never before experienced in their careers. Combine that with the task of learning a new system, a new coach and adjusting to one another, it was only logical that growing pains would occur. We saw the team battle through LeBron’s hiatus and intense media scrutiny before turning things around for the better.

The Cavs have now won 21 of 26 games and look like a serious contender in the Eastern Conference. With the team coming together the way it has, it’s realistic to believe the Cavaliers could bring home the title Cleveland is so desperately awaiting. I sincerely believe this team can win a championship, however I also think it’s important to be realistic. As LeBron has said many times throughout the year, this team has not played a single playoff game together. There are more than a few NBA teams with a core group who have been through playoff battles together. The level of play and intensity increases immensely when the playoffs start; that is something this Cavaliers team has not yet experienced together. The Wine and Gold have shown they can beat anyone, but teams like Atlanta and Houston have shown there is still plenty of room for improvement. All of us in Northeast Ohio believe in this team and want to win a title more than anything in the world. However, we should understand there are many great teams in this league and it will not be the end of the world if we fail to win it all this season.

With all the great talent assembled on this team, it is understandable why everyone expects so much from them right away. However, we are only in year one for a team that should be a contender for years to come. Kyrie Irving is 22, Kevin Love in 26, Tristan Thompson is 23, Iman Shumpert is 24 and LeBron James still has many years of MVP level basketball ahead of him. Going forward, the team will have more chemistry, more familiarity and more confidence in one another. There is no doubt the Cavaliers will be vying for championships for years into the future. So even with the great play we have seen over the past few months, we must remind ourselves this is still a process and title teams are very hard to form in one season. Even the great Miami Heat with their Big Three could not win a championship their first year together. Ultimately, that first year failure was the driving force which propelled them towards two consecutive Larry O’Brien Trophies.

LeBron spoke of this in the famous letter with Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated. He told us that his patience would be tested and that this would be a challenge. He explained that he couldn’t guarantee a championship, because he knows how hard that is to deliver. LeBron understood that things would take time and so should we. However, asking us Cleveland sports fans to be patient is a tough request, considering we have been patiently waiting for over 50 years. But like a certain Ohio native said, “In Northeast Ohio nothing is given, everything is earned.” Patience is a virtue and ours will be surely be rewarded in time. Go Cavs!

-Drae Smith

Photo courtesy of @KingJames Instagram

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