Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Time to give thanks

I have a lot of things to be thankful for in my life right now... my wife, my family and friends, my health, my job, my home, just to name a few. But there are also things in Cleveland sports that I'm truly thankful for. And not surprisingly, none of them have to do with the Browns. Here's a quick list on this day before Thanksgiving:

  • LeBron James - I've been thankful for LBJ for quite some time now. He is truly a one-in-a-generation athlete and we have him here for this season and next season at the very least. Don't forget that Cleveland, despite whatever you read, see, or hear anywhere else.
  • Mo Williams - How great is it to finally have someone on the Cavaliers that can initiate his own offense independently from LeBron? Mo is taking this offense to another level.
  • Delonte West - His hideous occasional cornrows aside, what Delonte is doing this year at the starting 2 guard spot is nothing short of brilliant. I love his game.
  • A healthy Ben Wallace. Enough said right there. He is an animal.
  • Zydrunas Ilgauskas - Basically for just being Z. He is a model of consistency and professionalism. Is he the perfect player? Of course not. But he's pretty damn good at what he does and he is so dependable. Many people forget this is the same player that missed almost three full seasons due to various foot injuries/surgeries/rehab.
  • Mike Brown - In a town where it is always fashionable to dislike the head coach/manager, Mike Brown is bucking the trend. He is a players' coach that values defense first and has done quite a job in his first pro gig. A .600 winning percentage is nothing to sneeze at. And it will only get better this season.
  • Dan Gilbert - Finally an owner that seems to care about winning as much as us fans. He is willing to do whatever it takes to keep LBJ in a wine and gold uniform and win multiple championships. We are blessed that Mr. Gilbert came along when he did.
  • Danny Ferry - Always the hard worker in his playing days, he seems to be putting even more effort into his GM duties. He is methodical and calculating, but also not afraid to make a big splash. I'm very curious to see where the Szczerbiak expiring contract takes us this season.
  • Cliff Lee - For the hell of a season turned out by the lefty. Winning the AL Cy Young was just icing on the cake in Cliff's turnaround year. I'm excited to see what he can do as the ace of this staff next year. And if you would have told me last Thanksgiving that I'd be thankful for Lee this year I would have said you were nuts. Bravo Cliff.
  • Grady Sizemore - For playing every game like it's his last. There are quite a few athletes on a certain team headquartered in Berea that could take notes on the way Grady leaves it all on the field in every game.
You may have noticed that a certain team dominated the above list. They are currently plowing their way through the Eastern Conference and only seem to be getting better with each game. With their 119-101 dismantling (highlights) of the Knicks last night in New York the Cavaliers improved to 11-3 on the season. And the score wasn't nearly as close as that. The Cavs were up by more than 30 at one point, while the Knicks continued to make a mockery of the game of basketball. Why in the world LeBron would ever consider playing for that joke of a franchise is completely beyond me. But New Yorkers seem to eat it up so whatever. I'll just continue listening to Brian Windhorst on the subject:

Tonight he ruled nothing out and told the Knicks fans "to have an open mind." There is no doubt a basis for all this hype, LeBron has been thinking about his options. One of them is surely to play in New York in the future. But right now -- and everything can and maybe will change -- the needle is firmly pointed toward staying home no matter what anyone says.

I enjoyed this sign in the Garden last night

Of course this saga will continue for another 20 months until a merciful end to all the speculation in July 2010. Until then I'll choose to enjoy LeBron and the Cavs working their way towards a goal that seems to be more attainable than ever for this franchise - an NBA title.

Browns Update: A fitting end to the 2008 Browns season, even with five games remaining. Go Cavs.