2014's Best Week Ever
We've never been prouder to be a Clevelander than during that second week in July when heaven smiled down on us and the world looked on.
➪ July 6
The rumor mill starts churning as it's suspected that Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert secretly flies to Miami to meet free agent LeBron James. Coincidentally, Gilbert's Comic Sans letter disappears from the Cavs' website.
"Everyone became these aviation experts," says 92.3 The Fan host Anthony Lima. "All the ducks started coming in a row."
➪ July 7
Cleveland and Dallas remain as the two final contenders for the 2016 Republican National Convention. A Dallas TV station reports a victor could be imminent. Weeks earlier, Dallas paraded elephants for the selection committee, while Cleveland touted Johnny Manziel. Cleveland also raised more than $30 million of the necessary $70 million to host.
➪ July 8
Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus announces that Cleveland is the choice for 2016, declaring, "It's a city on the rise."
"The Democrats outnumber the Republicans so strongly in this town," says Dan Moulthrop, CEO of the City Club of Cleveland. "This represents a really cool and very exciting moment where we can move beyond those things, and it gives us a chance to celebrate democracy."
It's estimated that the RNC will bring in about $200 million to Cleveland.
➪ July 9
Local businesses pose comeback-pending promises to the Chosen One such as Cedar Point vowing to rename one of its coasters King James and Michael Symon offering to create a James burger for his B Spot restaurants. Fresh Brewed Tees starts hawking FOR6IVEN T-shirts.
James and his agent Rich Paul meet with Miami Heat president Pat Riley and executive Andy Elisburg in Las Vegas. Afterward, former ESPN reporter Chris Sheridan says James decided on the Cavs. Queue Internet freak-out.
➪ July 10
Cavs make a three-team trade, sending Jarrett Jack and Sergey Karasev to the Brooklyn Nets and Tyler Zeller and a 2016 protected first-round draft pick to the Boston Celtics. The deal gives the Cavs more than $20 million in salary cap space, making way for a max James contract.
"We would tune in and listen to the sports radio channels in town, and you could hear the callers calling in. The anticipation was building," says Michael McNeely, Bath Township police chief.
➪ July 11
"I was as excited as a little kid when he gets the gift he was waiting for," says Cavs center and former teammate Anderson Varejao. "When I heard, I went to my dad's room and was like 'LeBron's coming back.' I went to tell my mom. I started calling people."
CLE Clothing Co. owner Mike Kubinski already designed three LeBron T-shirts and uploaded each to a hidden part of his website. As he receives news of the Decision 2.0 while on a flight, he activates the website within minutes.
Fans honk horns, throw chalk in the air, pull jerseys out of hiding - immediately embracing the Return. Business marquees change to welcome the King home. Cavs tickets sales spike, selling out of 12,000 season tickets within 24 hours.