In early March, Cleveland Cavaliers mega-star LeBron James filed paperwork with the NBA to change his number from No. 23 to No. 6. Why is this a big deal for Cleveland? A player must only file for a number change with the league when he intends to stay with the same team. At worst, this is an indication that the Cavs are still on his radar for a landing spot next season. At best, it’s a clear indication he intends to stay.
In honor of this change to No. 6, here are six of the greatest, most epic moments in Cavaliers history.
LeBron plays the Pistons on his own in game No. 5 – In 2007, the Cavaliers found themselves playing in the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 1992. Their opponent, the Detroit Pistons, had knocked them out of the playoffs the prior season. With the series tied at two games apiece and game No. 5 winding down in Detroit, LeBron James decided it was time to dominate. By scoring the last 25 points for the Cavaliers in regulation and two overtime periods, he sealed the victory. His scoring of 48 points in that game is still a Cavs record for the playoffs.
Miracle of Richfield – Since their inception in 1970, the Cleveland Cavaliers had been a troubled franchise. That all changed during the 1975-76 season when the Cavs reached the playoffs for the first time in their existence. Their first playoff series with the Washington Bullets culminated with a dramatic game No. 7 at Richfield Coliseum. Dick Snyder’s 5-foot runner off the glass with four seconds on the clock slammed the door on the Bullets, and the Miracle of Richfield was complete.
NBA Draft Lottery of 2003 – Never has the opening of an envelope captivated the city of Cleveland like it did on May 22, 2003. Even though Cleveland had tied for the league’s worst record the season before, they had less than a 25-percent chance at the No. 1 selection. Finally, the ball bounced Cleveland’s way. Deputy NBA Commissioner Russ Granik opened the final envelope revealing the Cavaliers logo and the city rejoiced. The Cavs were awarded the No. 1 pick, and there was little doubt they’d be selecting the franchise-saving LeBron James.
Larry Bird’s final game – The Cavaliers knocked off the Celtics while advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals in 1992. It proved to be Larry Legend’s final game in the NBA. The Cavs crushed Bird and the Celtics 122-104 with six Cavs players scoring in double figures. It was a fine spring day at Richfield Coliseum to witness one of the greatest offensive displays in Cavs history.
“The Shot“ – The Browns have “The Drive,” the Indians have “Game No. 7.” No list would be complete without an acknowledgement of this most famous heartbreaker in Cavaliers history. Michael Jordan, aka Cavs Killer, jump-started his career with his famous game-winning shot over Craig Ehlo in the 1989 playoffs. The deciding game of the series prematurely ended the season for the finals-bound Cavaliers and launched Jordan and the Bulls into NBA immortality.
To the Finals – While it will always be LeBron’s team, it was Daniel Gibson’s performance in game No. 6 of the 2007 Eastern Conference Finals that assured the Cavs their first NBA Finals appearance in franchise history. The rookie’s clutch three-point shooting (5-5 from beyond the arc) sent the Detroit Pistons home and pushed the city to a fever pitch. The Cavs won 98-82 and the party in Cleveland lasted well into the morning.