Shaker Heights native Kym Whitley was a force of nature during Game 7 of the NBA Finals. Whitley, who stars in Raising Whitley on the OWN Network and Young & Hungry on Freeform, joined fellow Clevelander and nationally syndicated radio host Tom Joyner to cheer on the Cleveland Cavaliers in a sea of Golden State Warriors fans at Oracle Arena. “Tom and I were good luck charms for the Cavs,” says Whitley from Los Angeles. “We went to Games 5 and 7, and it was the experience of a lifetime. I would have quit one of my TV shows to watch this.” Whitley and Joyner flew back to Cleveland immediately after Game 7 to do Joyner’s show from the 93.1 WZAK studios the following morning.
There was a small section of Cavs fans behind the Cleveland bench. If you had Cavs clothing on, people were booing you. They were mean. During the game, I made eye contact with Richard Jefferson and Kyrie Irving. Every now and then, they would look over at us. I was telling them, “We got this.” When the game ended, Dan Gilbert jumped 10 feet in the air. It took a second for us to realize Cleveland had won. We didn’t realize it because we couldn’t believe it. Did this really happen? This was bigger than the Cavs — this was about Cleveland. A weight we had been carrying for generations was gone. What team really cries when they win a championship? We were all crying for the city. I wanted to go out on the floor, but they put five security guards on me. They knew I wanted to go out there. On the way out, I got into some arguments, and the police escorted me to my car.