As the radio voice of the Cleveland Cavaliers for 39 years, Joe Tait called just one NBA Finals in 2007 when the San Antonio Spurs swept the wine and gold. Widely considered one of the greatest play-by-play men in the history of the league, Tait retired following the 2010-11 season and stopped following the sport altogether. “The NBA changed completely,” says the 79-year-old. “It’s somewhere between a circus and a carnival now.” And yet, Tait did tune in for Game 7, watching it from his home in Medina. “I thought they were going to win, and I knew it was going to be history-making.”
Golden State put a lot of their eggs in the let’s-win-the-most-games-in-a-single-season basket. A repeat [title] became almost secondary in a way. They got up 3-1, and it was time to phone it in — we’ll be at the beach. That’s when the Cavs ran right through them. I felt LeBron James had enough people gathered around him to lead them up the proverbial San Juan Hill. I really didn’t have any emotions [after the game]. I turned off the TV and went to bed. I looked at it for what it was and didn’t get caught up in all the euphoria and insanity. A postman walks his route for 40 years and when he retires, chances are he’s not going to take another long walk. My long walks are over. I am the voice of the Ghost of Christmas Past. If you look back at a lot of those [Cavs] Christmases, the tree was bare and some years there weren’t many presents under it. Now the tree is beautifully decorated and the presents are bountiful. But it’s not my tree.