In a way, LeBron James came back to Cleveland to give this speech. While it wasn’t a pre-written and rehearsed speech, LeBron has probably always hoped that he’d get to address hundreds of thousands of Ohioans after the Cavaliers brought home a title.
Cleveland basically shut down on Wednesday so that the Cavaliers could hold their victory parade through the city. The high point of the afternoon that didn’t involve J.R. Smith parading around without a shirt on was LeBron’s speech to his Northeast Ohio brethren. It was classic LeBron, as his remarks mixed an unparalleled insight with some humor.
There wasn’t much discussing LeBron James, because he used most of his time to praise his teammates. Highlights of LeBron’s shoutout to all 14 of his fellow Cavaliers:
- Jordan McRae: “A young guy who came to our team from the D-League and just automatically just bought into what we wanted to do.”
- James Jones: “He’s probably the most professional guy on our team.”
- Dahntay Jones: “We just picked him up, he’s the luckiest man in the world, I’ll tell you that. We picked his ass up like two months ago. But seriously, true professional.”
- Mo Williams: “Me and Mo had some unfinished business the last time we was together in ’09 and ’10.”
- Kyrie Irving: “He thought I was blowing smoke up his ass early in the season when I said he could be the best point guard in our league and also be an MVP in our league.”
- J.R. Smith: “You guys all heard the stories – false. Everything about J.R.: ‘He’s not a team player. You can’t with with J.R. on your team. J.R. takes bad shots.’ You all heard them weak ass stories. But when our GM came to me and said we had an opportunity to get J.R. Smith…I was like ‘I would love to have J.R. Smith.’”
- Iman Shumpert: “We just want hard work and dedication, and this guy right here, will run through…that brick building right there. Shump would run through it. I don’t know if he’d go head-first, ’cause he loves his haircut, but he’d go face-first.”
- Matthew Dellavedova: “Y’all saw it for the last two years, Delly giving everything. He damn near gave his life last year in the Finals, he had to go to the hospital after one of our Finals games.”
- Timofey Mozgov: “We needed a little bit more size in our interior, a little bit more athleticism. So I come down the elevator, and Timo is in the lobby. And I swear, it looked like I’d seen the biggest human being I’d ever seen in my life. I looked at [Cavs GM David Griffin] and he said, ‘he’s a big motherf*cker, ain’t he?’”
- Sasha Kaun: “You worked out every single day with no vision of the coaching staff or us saying…’Sasha, you’re gonna play.’ No entitlement, no entitlement all year.”
- Richard Jefferson: “I knew I finally had a guy that was playing behind me that I could trust, that I could count on, but I don’t think he realized that he was gonna eventually be playing 35 minutes in Finals games, and that’s why he said he quit the other night.”
- Kevin Love: “You guys saw his struggles throughout the Finals…and everybody just burying him alive throughout the Finals. And to be able to respond like he did in Game 7, that’s what real men do, they respond at the most adverse times.”
- Channing Frye: “From the day one that you got here, man, you’ve been nothing short of amazing. Both on the floor, but mostly off the floor. You are one of the greatest, funniest guys in the world, but also, you’re a true professional.”
- Tristan Thompson: “Just to see this guy grow every single day, it’s been unbelievable to be a part of it.”
LeBron also swore a ton, which we’ve never really heard out of him before, and threw some shade every now and then – his two main targets were the New York Knicks and, while he didn’t mention him by name, Steph Curry. Oh, and he mentioned that he would take Dellavedova in a competition to get to a loose ball between Delly and a bear, which is something that really needs to happen as soon as possible.
Once he was done going through all of his teammates, he thanked the city of Cleveland, his coaches, and his teammates one final time before ending his speech the most LeBron way that he could.
“S*it,” James said. “Let’s get ready for next year.”