CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – LeBron James grew up a New York Yankees as well as Dallas Cowboys fan but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have room in his heart for the hometown Cleveland Indians and Browns.
After James and the Cavaliers wrapped up their first practice of training camp as the team prepares to defend their 2016 NBA Championship this season, James spoke about how thrilled he was to see the Indians lock up their first AL Central title since 2007 Monday night at Comerica Park.
“That’s phenomenal,” James said. “Congratulations to them on a division championship and hopefully they can continue it. They look so good right now. They’re playing some great baseball and hopefully they can continue it throughout the playoffs.”
The Indians’ division series opponent has yet to be determined with the seeding in the American League still unsettled. Boston (92-64) sits atop the East and Texas (92-65) is in first out West. Cleveland (91-65) is 1/2 game behind the Rangers and 1 full game behind the Red Sox.
The Cavaliers laid to rest Cleveland’s 52-year title drought and with it “the curse” that so many heartbreaking postseason defeats for all 3 teams had been attributed to over the decades. The Indians will enter the playoffs this fall free and clear of the weight of that curse where queries about ending it no longer apply.
“We have the best sports fans in the world,” James said.
The Indians will try to end their own drought that dates back to 1948, the last time they won the World Series. It’s the second longest in baseball behind the Chicago Cubs. The Indians won American league pennants in 1954, 1995 and 1997 and came within 1 game of winning another in 2007. They’ll take a swing at making another World Series run starting next week.
“We have 3 great sports teams [even though] our Browns are struggling a little bit over the years but the Indians are playing some great baseball and we’re trying to do our thing as well,” James said.
James watched the Browns, who played without 7 starters due to injury Sunday afternoon, lose 30-24 in overtime to Miami but he’s hoping the franchise can finally turn it around and join the Cavs and Indians in the winners circle soon.
James just got back into town in time for media day on Monday after spending his offseason abroad, so he hasn’t been able to take the temperature of Northeast Ohio, which has been brimming with pride since the night of June 19. The welcome party when the team landed the next day and the parade 2 days later told him all he needed to know abut what the championship meant to the city and region.
“We just try to give our fans in our city something to cheer about,” James said. “And when they do leave town or they go somewhere they can wear our gear and just feel great about being a Cleveland sports fan.
“It’s a good feeling right now.”