Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Two Great Sports Stories


The best stories are redemption stories. The sports world had two great ones over the weekend. LeBron James led the Cavaliers to the NBA title, the first title in Cleveland in any sport for more than 50 years. That alone makes the story satisfying. But there are other angles. LeBron took a lot of heat, pardon the pun, for "taking his talents to South Beach." I know that the way he announced it was narcissistic, but I never understood why he wouldn't make that decision. Every player wants a ring or three. But the people of Cleveland were, shall we say, pretty darn sore about it. But like the prodigal son, James returned last year to his native northeast Ohio. It was clear that winning a title in Cleveland would be the piece that would cement his reputation as one the very elite players of all time. Now, that reputation is cemented, especially because of the way James willed his team to victory. Too often during his current stint in Cleveland "willing" actually meant "forcing." In this year's play-offs King James found the sweet spot where he could take control without ramming himself and his team into walls. The play of Kyrie Irving helped a lot. LeBron is a rich man, but you can bet this means more than money to him.

Over at the PGA, Dustin Johnson won the US Open, the tournament he gave away last year after three-putting on the final green. This year's Open was at Oakmont outside of Pittsburgh. The greens there are notoriously fast and tricky. Personally, I find it enjoyable to watch the world's greatest players four putting like a common weekend hacker. With the potential of a double bogey hanging out there on every hole for every player, it takes a lot of concentration and steadiness and confidence to hold on to a lead the way Johnson did. His play down the stretch was very impressive. Often called the best player to never win a major, DJ has to be walking lighter this week, and his future looks really good. The best stories are redemption stories.

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