One of Jamil Smith’s fondest sports memory is a trip to Cleveland Municipal Stadium with his father for a Cleveland Browns vs. Minnesota Vikings game in December 1989. “It was a classic Cleveland sports day, cold and snowing,” says Smith, a senior national correspondent for MTV News. “I wore layers upon layers of clothing and an Ozzie Newsome jersey,” says Smith. “They had the nerve to go to overtime before they won. It taught me that Cleveland sports was largely about endurance.” Smith, a Shaker Heights High School graduate, endured and enjoyed the Cleveland Cavaliers Game 7 win from his apartment in Brooklyn, New York.
When Kyrie made that 3 I started to tremble inside and my body started to quake a little bit. And then when LeBron went down, I thought this might be the most Cleveland thing that ever happened: He breaks his wrist, misses the free throws, Curry hits a three, and we lose in overtime. At the buzzer, in tears, I collapsed into my wife’s arms. I’ve never felt more at home and homesick at the same time. I called my father, Johnnie Smith, who was working part time as a concierge at The Q. He is not a crier, but I could hear him getting emotional over the phone. Even though we were in separate cities, to be there in spirit with him really meant the world to me. That man made me a Cleveland sports fan. He was at that Browns game in 1964 and here he is, on the edge of 70, experiencing another championship. That meant more to me than whatever feelings of anguish I had gotten rid of. And we were not going to miss that parade. You know what? It all lived up to the hype. It was surreal, powerful and wonderful.