Dearly beloved, we're gathered here today to say farewell to the greatest regular-season team in NBA history, the Golden State Warriors.
This team exemplified how basketball should be played at its peak. They could shoot the ball, create off the ball, run with grace and score like nobody's business. But somewhere along their journey, they fell into to the temptation of being boastful and proud.
That's why we're here today. We're here to remember a team that had it all, but allowed for ill manners and boastfulness to send them to an unfortunate, untimely offseason grave.
I will be speaking on the power of unity, perseverance and destruction. Tell your neighbor don't fall asleep. They're going to want to hear this sermon.
It all started back in June of 2014. Rich Paul informed the Cavaliers that his client, LeBron James, was interested in a return to Northeast Ohio. The organization didn't take the intrigue seriously, finding it difficult to believe that James would exit a Miami Heat team that had just gone to the NBA Finals for the fourth consecutive year.
Cleveland carried on with its business and zeroed in on another small forward. Management had arranged for Utah Jazz restricted free agent Gordon Hayward to visit the city. Hayward was a prospect on the rise and had a maximum offer sheet of four years, $63 million forthcoming.
Let me preach on how the higher power worked late in the midnight hour and turned everything around. Can I get a witness up in here?
Before Hayward boarded that flight, Paul gave the Cavs some news they never expected to hear: "LeBron is coming back." Flabbergasted, and at the same time overjoyed, the team immediately called Hayward's agent to explain that they were all of a sudden going in a different direction. His agent, Mark Bartelstein, was assured that the situation wasn't part of a negotiating tactic to lure James. Bartelstein understood and the flight was canceled.
Let me hear you say: "Canceled."
That's one of the reasons the visiting locker room in Oracle Arena was in complete shambles on Sunday night after the Cavaliers defeated the Warriors 93-89 in seven games, becoming the first team in NBA history to climb out of a 3-1 hole to secure the city's first major sports championship in 52 years.
The other influence was Warriors guard Klay Thompson. Forgive him, for he knew not what he said. Cleveland.com was told that James was boiling when he heard what Thompson had said after Game 4: Draymond Green and James had a verbal exchange in that contest, and afterward, James complained that it had crossed the line. Thompson's remark about James: "I guess his feelings just got hurt."
Instead of spewing venom, James took the high road. The Warriors were up 3-1 in the series. Rather than using their energy on the court, they used it on verbal jabs, thinking the Cavaliers were down and out.
"It was the first time all season that this team had appropriate fear," Cavs GM David Griffin told cleveland.com. "After we lost the first game, guys were actually disappointed that we weren't going to sweep them. We had to get down like this to really recognize that's a great team, that's a truly great team."
The road was rough, but how many of you know that there's a LeBron, somewhere? He'll fight your battles, rack up triple-doubles and lead you to the promised land. LeBron may not come when you want him, but he's always on time.
Stephen Curry, his game was so beautiful. His jump shot was such artwork. His crafty dribbling would make the angels sing and just like that, he was being elevated to top-player status.
At first, he handled it all well. He didn't concentrate on the hype. He was humble and confident. And then he began to dance; he began to taunt his defenders as he embarrassed them with high-arching 3-pointers. Before, he would shoot 3-pointers regularly. It soon progressed to shooting and running the other way before the ball went through the basket, to shooting and staring at the bench before the shot had gone in.
He could do no wrong. The league, the fans adored him and his dangling mouthpiece. But don't you know LeBron is a jealous LeBron? He didn't appreciate being relegated to the secondary face of the league. With each monster block of Curry in The Finals, James kept reminding the back-to-back MVP that he was the higher power.
Let the church say: "Amen."
Curry refused to acknowledge the truth and remained defiant. He continued to drive in the paint in the vicinity of James and again, the forward swatted his shot into the seats. Reality was starting to settle in. His powers were no match for the powers James possessed.
You could see Curry's confidence wavering, and it trickled down to the entire team. His ejection in Game 6 illustrated his state of mind. He was out of it. The Cavaliers rallied for three straight victories.
The locker room floor Sunday night was flooded with pools of champagne. Hugs were going all around, while some players chose to just stand still and take in the moment. Most players were in tears and so were the coaches. Nobody gave them a chance. Nobody gave the city of Cleveland a chance. LeBron gave them hope and a chance once he returned.
Now this is the part of the service where we ask you to come to the altar and repent. Turn from your evil ways. What happened to the Warriors could happen to any one of us. They got too full of themselves. They thought they were untouchable. They got too high and mighty for their own good. Don't let that be you.
Cleveland was plagued with a curse for 52 agonizing years and just like that, the curse is broken. Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. LeBron works in mysterious ways. The city is now rejoicing.
So as we get ready to take up an offering and adjourn, if you take anything from this sermon, just please remember to stay classy and meek. That's a lesson the Warriors forgot.
May Golden State rest in peace. Until we meet again, saints. Until we meet again.
Date Posted: Tuesday, June 21st, 2016 , Total Page Views: 1209
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