The Cleveland Cavaliers are part of the Eastern Conference in the NBA. This conference is not taken very seriously. When you have juggernaut teams like the Golden State Warriors, Oklahoma City Thunder and the San Antonio Spurs over in the Western Conference it might not be hard to see why. The Cleveland Cavaliers found themselves down 3 games to 1 in the NBA Finals. The Cleveland Cavaliers are your 2016 NBA Champions. Wait...what?
Kyrie Irving said in the post game interview "you just witnessed history". We sure did. No team had some back from being down 3 games to 1 to win the NBA Championship. Oh and let's also mention that it was Cleveland's first NBA Championship ever. So how did they do it?
The word adversity is one used often when a player is interviewed and asked how they did it. The truth is that adversity is critical in achieving success. The Cavaliers dealt with less than ideal circumstances on many occasions this season. It gave them character. It helped shape and cultivate a mindset amongst the team that the defect they faced in the NBA Finals was simply another obstacle that they had to manage on their journey.
Adversity in and of itself is not enough however. There are many athletes and teams that deal with adversity that do not reach their goals. There has to be something else. Self-belief. Being able to have the vision to look past the adversity to ones beliefs is another essential piece of the puzzle. If an athlete, or in this case team, feels that they re not capable of making it through the next difficult circumstance, then that is where the journey ends. The Cleveland Cavaliers never doubted themselves. The series looked locked up for Golden State when it was 3-1. It looked locked up to everyone...except the Cavaliers.
The last sticking point here is how the actually went on to win 3 games in a row to win the championship. That's called momentum. The thing about teams that have been bruised and battered but overcome the beatings is that at some point they become pretty unstoppable. We saw that with Cleveland. Game 7 was in Oakland, where the Golden State Warriors had only lost a handful of times the entire season. The Cavaliers came in and stole the show...and the trophy. I wouldn't say that it was stolen however. The better team won, it just takes time to polish a diamond sometimes.