I was born and raised in northeastern Ohio, back in the days when steel mills belched plumes of smoke signaling a vibrant economy and fueling a healthy middle class.
BRB–– Before Rust Belt.
The people there are authentic and back their sports teams in good times and bad, and as any Cleveland sports fan will tell you, there have been many more bad years than good. And those times when a championship has been within grasp, the teams found a way to let it slip away.
And clutch the hearts from their loyal fans.
But now, 52 years after the Cleveland Browns took an NFL championship, LeBron and the Cavaliers did it–– bringing home an NBA Championship with an epic comeback over an incredible team.
Nike produced the spot above that captures the emotion of the final seconds of the game perfectly. Although Cleveland fans are passionate, they’ve been hurt too many times before.
What I love is the honesty of the spot, the depiction of rabid fans on the cusp of glory but reticent to show their emotion for fear of having their dreams dashed, yet again.
But this time, this time losing was not meant to be. It was a storybook ending to the storybook return of the hometown kid making good on his promise to bring a championship.
The power of the spot is restraint. Realization. Then, release.
The creators of the spot have an empathy and understanding of the psyche of Cleveland fans, and it pays off emotionally.
Congratulations to all the Cleveland fans who weathered the storm. Let the celebration begin.