CLEVELAND — Whether rewatching it on NBA TV or on DVR, or reliving it at parties or on social media, watching the historic Game 7 of the NBA Finals has become a pastime over the past three months in Cleveland. Add in some tearing up at the end of the game when the Cleveland Cavaliers win, even though the outcome is well known.
Certainly this is true for Cavs fans, but it’s also true for the Cavs themselves.
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The 2016-17 season is officially open, but the Cavs are still savoring their championship, specifically by repeatedly rewatching their historic upset victory in Oakland on June 19. They rewind the Kyrie Irving 3-pointer that broke the tie, they play the LeBron James block of Andre Iguodala in slow motion, and they half laugh, half well up when seeing Kevin Love move his feet like he’d never moved them before in defending Steph Curry. And then they tell each other about it.
“I was rewatching the games and talking to my teammates about it, sending them snapchats of me watching,” Irving said. “I got chills. My stomach was dropping knowing the ball is going in but knowing exactly, emotionally how I felt at the time. It still gets me excited thinking about it. It’s such a huge moment for not only Cleveland but our team, our families, our friends.”
Irving’s face lit up as he talked about it, as if he were reliving a favorite Christmas memory from childhood. It was a shared experience. While not every Cavs player indulged, it became clear throughout the summer that the Cavs wanted to keep clutching the moment.
“I’ve seen it a few times,” James said. “It was on NBA TV throughout the summer. I watch it from a fan’s perspective. I see what we could’ve done better, but I also watch it for enjoyment, to see those three zeros on the clock.”