Recently our insider scout, Elijah Kim, did some digging on an Ohio-based apparel company whose wares have been increasingly showing up on the heads and frames of some of the most motivated personalities of sports, music and culture (including our own LeBron James). He met up with TACKMA clothing’s Danny Victor to get a sense of the company’s unique vision.
I’ll admit I had never heard of TACKMA. FunDisclosure: I buy all my clothes at Goodwill minus my Cavalier T-shirts and other garb. Also, I don’t watch press conferences. But Elijah put together a summary of TACKMA and the LeBron connection (read his thoughts below) and it snapped my brain back to a topic on which I often muse: from where do people draw motivation?
Way back in February, during the All-Star Break when the Cavs were in the midst of their massive second half resurgence, the C:tB crew reached out to five of their long tenured and more prolific readers/commenters and gave them a chance to respond to five questions about their views on many things Cavalier. For some reason, I got selected to be one of the lucky candidates on that occasion, and I was supremely flattered to have the opportunity to contribute my opinions beyond the comments section.
Little did I know, that 5-on-5 piece would be the proverbial gateway drug to me becoming a full-time contributor to this amazing site. The overwhelming support and comments I’ve received in the months since then have really served to add an entirely new dimension, not just to my Cavs fandom, but to my life in general. It’s also given me some genuinely unique perspective on this “Season of Wow.”
Consequently, I thought it was only right to pass along the opportunity to contribute to another quintet from the Commentariat. This time around, the questions go right to the heart of being a Cavs fan, what a potential championship might mean, and some of the more memorable moments from an amazing season at C:tB. So, kick back and enjoy the responses from your readership brethren: Phil Hubbard,cwzagger,Joey B (no he’s not Joey Bosa, but it was the best visual I could come up with), Underdog (who is switching back from U-Dog in honor of the Cavs being “underdogs” in the Finals), and NOMAD (WHO NATURALLY RESPONDED IN ALL CAPS).
1. Who or what is the key to the Warriors winning the series?
Ben: Harrison Barnes. If the Tar Heel can legitimately guard LeBron, it frees Draymond Green to compete on the defensive boards. The Warriors are not a great defensive rebounding team. If Green is busy on LeBron for long stretches, it allows Tristan Thompson to go crazy on the offensive glass against a weaker positional rebounder in Barnes. Green loves to grab the rebound and push the ball on the break a la Charles Barkley. The Cavaliers will eliminate many of the Warriors’ advantages if Barnes can’t handle The King. TT gives the Wine and Gold extra chances while limiting the Dubs’ transition game. If Harrison is up to the task, Golden State becomes roughly impenetrable. Green and Bogut are great weakside defenders. If they are free to cover space, the Cavs are in trouble.
Try, for a moment, to imagine the trepidation of Cavs fans (or just read through the twitter replies) when the #WojBomb detonated. The Cleveland Cavaliers, fragile, rudderless, running out of time, prepared a jersey and a locker for J.R. Smith. J.R. Smith?! With Smith’s reputation, it was almost inconceivable that Cavs GM David Griffin would risk further dysfunction on a team that needed to get righted quickly. The season was not yet completely unsalvageable, and Smith, for all his documented transgressions and the deafening chorus on his inability to be coached, could be considered one of the few role players in the NBA that could win a game by himself. Still, it was like calling for a Hail Mary on 3rd and 8 with a minute and three timeouts remaining.
New York is sending J.R. Smith to Cleveland, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.
Four points I’m thinking about the Cleveland Cavaliers…
1.) Okay, confession time. I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about the 2007 Cleveland Cavaliers. Still. To this day.
In particular, as these playoffs have continued, I’ve found myself increasingly suspicious of the narrative that LeBron James is pulling along his current crop of overmatched Cavalier teammates kicking and screaming on his one-man mission to return to the Finals. Clearly, James has been huge for the Cavaliers. No one is arguing against that. It just seemed like there was a difference between this year’s team and James’s previous Cavaliers squads, particularly the one that made the 2007 Finals — that even if the Cavs were leaning on James more in these playoffs (and your can’t argue that James’s 2015’s playoff usage rate of 36.4% is a substantial uptick from the 29.7% usage he posted in the 2007 playoffs) that his teammates this year were performing better in support of James.
Still buzzing after the Cavs 118-88 Game 4 Win over the Atlanta Hawks that moved the Cavaliers four wins away from the city’s first major professional sports championship in 51 years, Cory, Tom, Nate, Mallory and I had a little chat about your Eastern Conference Champion Cleveland Cavaliers…
1.) At what point in the season did you start to believe that this team could return to the NBA Finals?
Nate: It happened twice. The first time was when the Cavs dismantled Memphis on March 25th to win by 22 points. The Grizz were the second best team in the West at the time, and the Cavs gave them one of their signature third quarter floggings. Kevin Love scored 22 on 13 shots; Irving, 24; LeBron, 20; Moz, 14… After Kelly’s killer armbar, we all had our doubts, but David Wood’s revelations about the Cavs super D lineups (featuring TT, Delly, Bron, and Shump) gave me faith. I was fully aboard the Finals bandwagon again after Game two versus the Bulls. I knew if the Cavs could get a split at home without J.R., they’d be OK. Cleveland jumped all over the Bulls, racing out to a 20 point lead in the first quarter, and LeBron rediscovered his post game. Cleveland turned into a team that’s impossible to beat with a lead in the fourth, and I knew the Bulls were hosed.
That’s a lot of confetti… Fortunately, the Cavs brought their brooms…
Cavs fans… After 82 regular season games, and a scant 14 playoff games, including one last evisceration of the number one seeded Atlanta Hawks… we can finally say the six words we hoped we could following a summer of lottery luck, midnight signings, Love, and The Return of the King… THE CAVS ARE IN THE FINALS!!!
And now that we have that primal roar out of our collective systems, it’s time to embrace the four word subtitle of this recap, so sagely given during the euphoric post-game ceremonies by the first “rookie” coach to reach the NBA Finals since Paul Westphal (who did it in 1992 with the Phoenix Suns), David Blatt, with a preamble about the Land, its players and its people…
We’re in Cleveland. Nothing is easy here… But there’s a lot of love, and the best support in the world… and the people care… and the players give everything they have… And we’re not done.”
Well, that series went exactly as expected, right? 4-0 sweep, TT and Delly (and some guy named Lebron) the heroes of the series, and a game 4 that saw the Cavs winning by as much as 31. I mean, we ALL saw this coming, right?
What, really, is there to say about game four? Plenty – EG has that coming up later. For now, here are a few quick hits about the ECF and the NBA Finals.
-Has any player earned himself more money these last four games than Tristan Thompson? The guy was a rebounding machine (especially on offense!), did a nice job scoring inside, and played stellar D. The guys and I were debating whether TT was a max guy or not come the off-season. I wont go that far (yet), but he’s definitely worth a lot, especially on this team. I am fully, 100% ready to admit it – I could not have been more wrong about his importance.
After 42 minutes of regulation and five more minutes of overtime, LeBron James looked as exhausted as he felt, having carried a team, a series and a city on his back. But it was a good kind of exhausted, because in the end, he and his Cavaliers found themselves just one win away from their second trip to the NBA Finals (and LBJ’s fifth in a row — a feat previously reserved only for players rocking a Celtics jersey).
Now, with Game 4 coming less than 48 hours after the physically draining overtime thriller, the question remains “how much does the King have left in the tank” for the closeout? If history is any guide (he’s 24-9 in 34 career playoff closeout games, averaging 27.5 points, 8.7 rebounds and 6.7 assists), there should be plenty. However, it hasn’t stopped some from wondering if maybe Bron should get a day off.
The likelihood of that happening though is probably less than the prospect of Al Horford and Delly deciding to go on a summer vacation together in the off-season.
Nate Smith is an Associate Editor. He grew up in Anchorage, Alaska, and moved to NE Ohio in 2000. He adopted the Cavs in 2003 and graduated from Kent State in 2009 with a BA in English. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or @oldseaminer on Twitter.
Tom Pestak is an Associate Editor. He's from the west side of Cleveland and lives and (mostly) dies by the success and (mostly) failures of his beloved teams. You can watch his fanaticism during Cavs games @tompestak.
Robert Attenweiler is a Staff Writer. Originally from OH, he's long made his home in NYC where he writes plays and screenplays (www.disgracedproductions.com) some of which end up being about Ohio, basketball or both. He has also written for The Classical and the blog Raising the Cadavalier. You can contact him at email@example.com or @cadavalier.
Benjamin Werth is a Staff Writer. He was born in Cleveland and raised in Mentor, OH. He now lives in Germany where he is an opera singer and actor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cory Hughey is a Staff Writer. He grew up in Youngstown, the Gary, Indiana of Ohio. He graduated from Youngstown State in 2008 with a worthless telecommunications degree. He can be contacted at email@example.com or @coryhughey on Twitter.
David Wood is our Links Editor. He is a 2012 Graduate of Syracuse University with an English degree who loves bikes, beer, basketball, writing, and Rimbaud. He can be reached on Twitter: @nothingwood.
Mallory Factor is the voice of Cavs: The Podcast. By day Mallory works in fundraising and by night he runs a music business company. To see his music endeavors check out www.fivetracks.com. Hit him up at Malloryfactorii@gmail.com or @Malfii.
John Krolik is the Editor Emeritus of Cavs: The Blog. At present, he is pursuing a law degree at Tulane University. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or @johnkrolik.
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