Members of the victorious 2016 Cavaliers basketball team do their best to ignore the gnawing emptiness tearing at their souls as they arrive in Cleveland following a thrilling seven-game NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors. Most poignant is star LeBron James’ sad effort to make a golden trophy obscure the fact that his quest to bring home a championship is over and nothing remains except the terrifying prospect of repetition, with ever-diminishing returns.
In 2015, The New York Times compiled a list of The Most Cursed Sports Cities in America, a list which included this telling declaration regarding San Diego: "The Chargers, the Padres and a handful of mostly forgotten basketball and hockey teams have combined for 112 championshipless seasons over the past half-century. Only Cleveland has played more seasons in that span without winning.”
Now, of course, Cleveland has broken its so-called curse and left San Diego in happy possession of the title “losingest city in America," because LeBron James failed to understand what longtime Cleveland Browns quarterback (and perpetual runner-up to Denver’s John Elway) Bernie Kosar knew in his bones: winning isn’t everything; in fact, it’s nothing at all.
Mighty 1090 sports radio commentator Ron Sadsack said it best the morning after Cleveland prevailed: "Pierre de Coubertin, father of the modern Olympic Games, taught us that ‘the important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle; the essential thing is not to have conquered, but to have fought well.’ Deep down, every athlete, indeed, every competitor in every field, knows this. Remember the immortal line spoken by evil mastermind Hans Gruber in Die Hard, 'And when Alexander [the Great] saw the breadth of his domain, he wept, for there were no more worlds to conquer.’ The same emptiness awaits at the top of every mountain; all that matters is the climb.
"Michael Jordan won six NBA titles with the Chicago Bulls, and is widely considered to be the greatest basketball player of all time. Did any of that bring him happiness? Of course not. ESPN’s profile of Jordan at 50 revealed him to be frustrated bordering on bitter, a fierce competitor wracked by his inability to compete. His bizarre, sour speech at his induction into the NBA Hall of Fame transformed him from giant to joke: today’s young people use Crying Jordan to signify athletic failure, not success. And what meme do you see all over the Internet in the wake of Cleveland’s victory? That’s right: Crying LeBron. I’m just glad to live here in San Diego, where we understand the terrible, deadly cost of being number one and avoid it like the plague.”