How long had it been since Cleveland won a title? So long that the franchise that won the title (the Cleveland Browns in 1964) had time to leave Cleveland and win a title in a different city and get replaced with a brand-spanking new Browns franchise.
It was easy to worry Cleveland would fall short again, particularly when the Golden State Warriors went up 3-1 and pundits continued to insist they were unbeatable even as they repeatedly got their asses beaten. (Again: The Warriors lost nine out of 82 regular season games… and nine out of 24 in the playoffs when it mattered.)
Concerned about another blow to Ohio, we began to assemble a list of things we love about Cleveland as our way of saying: “You don’t have a title, but you are the birthplace of a vast majority of members of Bone Thugs-n-Harmony.” (All but Bizzy Bone.)
Except Cleveland won the championship as, in a development that seems pretty obvious in hindsight, it turns out sometimes the taller, bigger, stronger, faster guy who plays great defense can come out on top. (To everyone who insisted Steph was now better than LeBron, literally in your face.)
Anyway, Cleveland doesn’t really need this now, but we present it as a show of congratulations.
Cleveland: You have the Cavs, the Larry O’Brien Trophy, and this stuff too.
1. Halle Berry was born in Cleveland!
This Oscar winner is so beautiful we won’t even bring up Catwoman! Particularly that scene where she plays basketball! (And she’s so beautiful that we’re including a second image of her a bit farther down.)
2. The Hastily Made Cleveland Tourism Video!
In 50 seconds, it does more for the Cleve than the combined works of Martin Scorsese and Woody Allen have ever done for wherever the hell they’re from.
3. Steven Adler was born in Cleveland!
You know, the original drummer of Guns N’ Roses, who was so awesome he didn’t even need to get a nickname. (Jealous, Axl/Slash/Izzy/Duff?)
4. 30 Rock’s Liz Lemon learned to love it!
She should have moved to Cleveland when she had the chance.
5. Henry Mancini was born in Cleveland!
Next time you hear the Pink Panther theme, picture northern Ohio.
6. Bone Thugs-n-Harmony are a Cleveland band!
Remember “Tha Crossroads”? Well, Layzie Bone, Wish Bone, Krayzie Bone and Flesh-n-Bone are all Cleveland-born, while Bizzy Bone was born in Columbus. They aren’t ashamed of it either: Witness “Cleveland Is the City.”
That’s right, Ruby Ray Moore started his comedy career in Cleveland, ultimately letting him create the kung fu Blaxploitation flick that is most likely to have the boom mic randomly drift into the frame.
8. Your river is less flammable!
Sure, the notorious 1969 fire on the Cuyahoga River seemed like a big deal because water typically doesn’t burn, but it was in fact, as the National Park Service puts it, just “one of over a dozen blazes.” Today, while there remain “Areas of Concern” and the “waterway still faces its challenges,” the water is decidedly better than that found in parts of neighboring Michigan.
10. You named a team after your coach!
The Cleveland Browns took their name from first head coach Paul Brown, leading to the weirdness in later years of him running one NFL team in Ohio (the Cincinnati Bengals) while competing against another Ohio NFL team that bore his name. Yet for some reason no New England Belichicks.
11. Babs Jansen!
Yep, Playmate Martha Smith was born in Cleveland before moving on to Animal House. Here she observes Bluto’s gift for impressions.
12. Superman is from Cleveland!
At least his co-creator Jerry Siegel was. (Born there in 1914… unlike partner Joe Shuster, who was spawned in Toronto. Goes without saying, but Raptors suck.)
13. Burgess Meredith was born in Cleveland!
Think of the Cleve when you’re just not sure if you can take Apollo Creed and/or a certain basketball team that plays its home games in Oakland and would have been destroyed by Jordan’s Bulls. Now get out here and crap some thunder.