The Cleveland Cavaliers ended decades of sports heartbreak in the city Sunday night by beating the Golden State Warriors 93-89 in the deciding seventh game of the National Basketball Association Finals.
The championship breaks a 52-year drought for the city of Cleveland, which has endured teams in multiple sports getting close to winning only to fall short.
It also marks a special moment in the career of LeBron James, the Cavs star who grew up in nearby Akron, Ohio. He was drafted by the team when he entered the league in 2003, but left on bad terms to Miami where he won two championships before returning to Cleveland last season.
"I'm home. This is what I came back for," James said after being named the series Most Valuable Player. He said after the game the win was special for him. "Cleveland, this is for you!"
The Cavaliers also did something never before accomplished in league history, coming back from a three games-to-one deficit in the final round to win.
In a series that featured mostly lopsided victories, game seven was a dramatic, back-and-forth contest with 20 lead changes.
James led the Cavaliers with 27 points, 11 assists and 11 rebounds. He had a key block with 1:50 left in the game to keep the scored tied 89-89. Less than a minute later, Kyrie Irving, who finished with 26 points, hit a 3-pointer to give the Cavs the lead for good.
The Warriors were trying to cap what was a historic season of their own. They set a record with 73 regular season wins, losing just nine times. They lost nine times in the playoffs, one too many to win their second consecutive championship.
Draymond Green led the Warriors with 32 points Sunday, including going 6-for-8 from 3-point range. He also pulled down 15 rebounds.
Regular season MVP Stephen Curry was kept relatively quiet in the final game, scoring 17 points compared to his season average of 30.