NBA Draft Lottery Brings Back Memories of Happier Days for Cavs


There are moments in life that you will never forget, memories that are archived in your brain forever and capable of being recalled at a moment’s notice.

Last week around campus, the capturing of Osama bin Laden triggered everyone recalling where they were on September 11, 2001. We all remember where we were when we learned of the attacks on the World Trade Center. For me, it was math class in seventh grade, and that’s something I will never forget. When I think of September 11th, I’ll remember what that was like and who I was with – just like it happened yesterday.

Powerful moment.

While they greatly pale in comparison to the tragedy that was September 11th, sports provide us with moments we never forget – events that are so important, we recall where we were, who we were with and what we felt.

For all of us in Cleveland, last night probably brought back memories of May 22, 2003, when the Cavaliers won the draft lottery and the right to select LeBron James with the first overall pick. When the Memphis Grizzlies logo was visible and Cleveland was left as the the last town standing, everyone rejoiced. Things looked like they were starting to turn around.

While I was of the belief the Cavaliers should take Carmelo Anthony over James (and I was 14, so what did I know?) it was still a great day for the city. The hometown kid was staying home! Funny how things change.

Regardless, that draft lottery back in 2003 is unforgettable. As much as Cavalier fans might not want to admit it, that was a great night and many great nights followed as a result.

We talk so much about the bad moments in Cleveland – The Catch, Red Right 88, The Drive, The Fumble, The Shot, The Liner Off Nagy’s Glove, The Boston Massacre and The Decision. The list goes on and on. But there are so many good moments, and sometimes in this town we dwell too much on the negatives and throw pity on ourselves.

I’m 22 now, and I remember being a kindergarten student back in 1995 and staying up late with my dad when Tony Pena hit the homer to beat the Red Sox in game one of the American League Championship Series.

I remember being on the Homerun Porch in 1997 when Omar Vizquel lined one off the leg of Yankees reliever Ramiro Mendoza and the ball skipped into left field to score Marquis Grissom and ensure a game five – which the Tribe ultimately won. That came after Sandy Alomar Jr. homered off the great Mariano Rivera, just over the glove of Paul O’Neill to tie the game.

Both of those teams came up short in the World Series, but remember how much fun those teams were?

What about when the Browns came back in 1999? I’ll remember going to that first preseason game at the new stadium against the Minnesota Vikings with my dad for as long as I live. They played Thin Lizzy’s ‘The Boys Are Back in Town’ over the loudspeakers and the place erupted.

Sure we lost a ton of games since then, but remember how fun that was?

The ’48 Special’ and ‘LeShot’ were just two moments that earned their own names. Mix in all the ‘Flight #23′ highlights, and we were treated.

Am I still mad about how LeBron James left town? You bet. I’m mad as hell. Do I want the Heat to win? I’ve been lending my support to my roommates from Chicago for the last week. Go Bulls!

But last night’s lottery, if only for a minute, reminded me of how much fun that lottery night was in 2003. And how fun it was when LeBron debuted, and how fun it was when he scored 48 points against the Pistons or hit the miraculous shot to defeat the Orlando Magic. He proved us with so many ‘remember when’ moments, so last night was one of those warm and fuzzy nights as a sports fan. A time to reflect about why we bother watching.

I thought of going to games with family, and sitting around the house with people that I love watching the teams I love.

I felt better.

And I’ll feel even better when the Bulls win and beat that Son of a B****!

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