Trip Notes: The Redemption, The Comeback, The Renaissance, The Chasedown, The Block, The Shot Part 2, The Tearjerker; Call It What You Want But This Was A Night To Remember

DDMS IconNever Miss Another Deal - Follow DansDeals on Facebook

-Find dozens of trip notes like this one by clicking on the “Trip Notes” tab on top of the DansDeals banner at the top of this site.
-Follow my travels on Instagram @DansDeals

Related news articles:
The Promise Keeper: LeBron realizes his dream with a title for Cleveland
‘Finally, we did it!’: Cavs’ title ends 52 years of Cleveland sports agony
Cavaliers give us The Redemption, beat Golden State in Game 7
Cleveland Cavaliers allow all Northeast Ohio sports fans to finally exhale … it’s over!!!
Cleveland Cavaliers make fans proud winning a title for the ages
-Titles and Tears.
-In Cleveland, Love Beats Heartbreak

The Arc of the LeBron James Story Reaches Its Climax

Related sports posts:
-Can The Cavs End Cleveland’s Curse?
Better Than Any First Class Suite…Taking My Son To His First Ballgame
Trip Notes: Hall Of Fame Trifecta And Fenway Park In 72 Hours
-Trip Notes: A Father & Son Day Trip To Chicago For A Ballgame And A DO
Stealing 2nd Base: My Coolest Use Of Miles Ever?
My First Non-Travel Mileage Redemption
Take Me Out To The Ballgame…Buy Me Some Kosher Chili And Ribs.
Manny Being Manny…

I grew up listening to stories of Cleveland sports glory from my maternal grandfather. Nobody else could really talk about it as it has been generations since Cleveland has won a major league level championship.

But as I wrote on Friday, the last several generations of Clevelanders have come up with plenty of names for our sports failures. Our sports teams seemed to excel in coming Oh. So. Close. From Elway’s 98 yard The Drive, to Byner’s The Fumble, to Jordan’s last second The Shot, to Willie Mays’ The Catch, to Jose Mesa’s World Series game 7 blown save in the bottom of the 9th, to the Indians losing to Boston after being up 3 games to 1 in the 2007 championship series, the list goes on forever. It sure seemed like only a curse could manage to allow the Browns, Indians, and Cavs to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in so many creative ways.

And yet, Cleveland remains a die-hard sports town. Even when locals move away from the easy-going lifestyle of the midwest to far pricier pastures, they still remain devoted to the local sports teams through the thick and thin of it all. It’s hard to kill hope.

Back on May 8th when the Cavs swept the Hawks, I booked saver award tickets on United to fly nonstop from Cleveland to San Francisco on June 19th for a day trip with my grandfather in anticipation of a game 7 there. If there was going to be a championship in my lifetime I was going to see it in person with my own 2 eyes and have a ticket stub to prove it. And what better way than to bring my grandfather, the man responsible for my love of sports, along for the ride.



My mother’s 3 siblings, my Aunt Tova, Uncle Marty, and Uncle Neil, all came in from out of town to Cleveland to attend game 6. We originally had 4 tickets for myself, my wife, and my uncles. Tova Nathan is just 4 years my senior, so she’s more like the sister I never had (I have 5 brothers!) than my Aunt. When she decided to come to the game as well, we took it as a sign from above that good things would happen when I noticed that a single ticket suddenly went up for sale right next to our 4 seats. It turned out that someone had bought the 2 seats next to us, but sold one when his companion couldn’t make it. My grandfather wasn’t feeling well enough to attend, but took immense pride at seeing all of us having the time of our lives at one of the most memorable games in Cleveland sports history.

This past Shabbos several people in shul asked me in jest if I was planning on going to game 7. I fly everywhere on a dime, how would I miss this opportunity? But Dan, they protested, this is all part of the script! They couldn’t just lose quietly in game 5. They had to draw this thing out to 7 and then lose it in the final minutes. Was I really going to fly out there and spend the money on a Silicon Valley priced ticket, only to be crushed by a second coming of Jordan’s shot? Somehow my sixth sense told me this time would be different.

“In Northeast Ohio, nothing is given. Everything is earned. You work for what you have.”
-LeBron James in his return letter.


Down 3 games to 1 with 2 games taking place in Oakland, just about everyone wrote the Cavs off.

Does the 6th man make a difference? Just look at the records. The Cavs were 33-8 at home and 24-17 on the road during the regular season. The Warriors were 39-2 at home and 34-7 on the road during the regular season. There’s no doubt that a crowd’s energy contributes to a team’s success.

In game 6 the Cleveland crowd gave it their all. It was so loud that we couldn’t hear each other talk during the game and the players fed off of that. How could I not make the effort to fly out and see history? To see if Cleveland could break a sports curse that had been dogging our teams for generations. To see if the Cavs could become the 4th road team and the first since 1978 to win a game 7 Finals game on the road. To see if the Cavs could become the first team in Finals history to win after being down 3 games to 1.

My brother JJ has worked with me at DansDeals for the past couple of years. He took his talents to South Beach last year, but his sports heart remained back home. He decided on Friday to come along for the ride and nabbed last minute award ticket from Fort Lauderdale to San Francisco via Houston Sunday morning and returning via Orlando that night. Now that’s a corporate retreat!

At the airport I told JJ to go into the United Club and ask about being placed on the standby list for the nonstop flight from San Francisco back to Fort Lauderdale that evening. At first the agent told him that he couldn’t be placed on the standby list because his connecting flight was scheduled to depart 6 minutes before the nonstop flight. I told him to “HUCA” and ask again and this time the agent just confirmed him on the nonstop flight that didn’t have award space. The agent didn’t charge him the $75 standby fee and gave him a free Economy Plus window seat that would have otherwise cost $100!

Unfortunately, my grandfather wasn’t feeling well enough make the trek out to San Francisco, despite really wanting to be able to.

I always buy tickets on the secondary market on the day of the game. I’ve sat countless times in the front row at baseball games for less than the cost of an upper deck seat by waiting it out. That’s not easy to do when you’re flying across the country, so I monitored the prices closely. But as they kept dropping I decided to wait it out.

The flight out to San Francisco was amazing. I’d say about 90% of the plane was wearing Cavs gear and planning on going to the game. Even the United gate agents were decked out in Cavs apparel.

The CLE flight status boards were #AllIn:






United’s Star Alliance 737-800 flew an excited fan base from CLE to SFO on Sunday morning:




I took Rafi to San Francisco on a father-son trip in April, so I didn’t bother hitting up the tourist sites again. I waited in the club for JJ’s flight to arrive while monitoring ticket prices for the game. Not finding anything worth buying, I picked up a car from Avis and we drove to Oakland Kosher. They have a grocery and deli with a few tables to eat in.

A burger and fries were $10 and were both solid. Better than the kosher options across the Bay Bridge.



While there we finally nabbed seats. We could have waited longer, but for a game 7 we really wanted to be downstairs where we could watch the game on the floor as opposed to the jumbotron. And we wanted to be heard on the court. And we defnitely didn’t want this to happen to us. So we spent a pretty penny, but prices had fallen by more than 50% in just 3 days, so it was worth the wait.

After lunch we met up with DDF’er whYME. The last time I saw him in March we were in the North Pole region, so the relative outdoor temperature was about 150 degrees warmer this time 😀

We took in the expansive views from Grizzly Peak in Berkeley near Tilden Park.





And we got our first F-bombs from passerbys about the CLE blackout shirts we were wearing that were given out in game 6.



Not bad for a Costco prepaid rate of $10.44 plus tax 🙂



We killed some more time at People’s Park and Telegraph road.



Finally it was time to head to the game.

Scott Raab wrote about the ticket stub he kept in his wallet from the 1964 Browns championship only about a dozen times in his book on LeBron’s 2010 decision. But no matter how hard we tried, nobody at the Arena was willing to print anything up for us. All we had was a TicketMaster eticket and even that was programmed to block screenshots.

Inside Oracle Arena we did bump into some Cavs fans, but we were probably outnumbered by about 40 to 1. Of course we expected to be showered with boos, but the number of F-bombs hurled our way was a bit shocking. Good thing I didn’t bring Rafi.

Luckily the sideline seats have their own club entrance and the fans in there were classier. One person in our row asked if we were actually from Cleveland and he was just relieved that we weren’t bay area bandwagon fans.

Selfie from our seats:



I missed doing the national anthem as they did it in Cleveland, with the whole crowd singing together as one rather than listening to one person on the court:



The game was epic, with 20 lead changes and 11 tied scores that kept everyone on their toes. The intensity was clearly far less than in Cleveland though. And that makes sense. A city that hasn’t won in more than half a century is hungrier for it than one that just won.

With the Cavs down by 7 at the half, I told one Cavs fan in the bathroom line that it would stay a close game. And it did. With the crowd surprisingly quiet during Warrior possessions, JJ screamed De-Fense so loudly that I have no doubt they heard him on the court. The first several times he did that, the Cavs managed to get some amazing stops.


Tied at 89 for what seemed like forever:



But then the Cavs’ Big 3 went into beast mode in their own personal redemptions.

LeBron’s 20MPH The Chasedown and The Block of Iguodala:


Kyrie’s Shot makes up for the original Shot by Jordan:


And Love’s stellar defense preserved the Cavs lead:


Was this really happening? Was Cleveland about to cap off its remarkable civic renaissance with one of the most improbable victories of all time?

But that’s the way it had to be.

להבדיל, but Hasidic thought says that every force in this world has its polar opposite. Everything bad has the exact opposite in good.

And with all the improbable losses that Cleveland suffered in the final minutes, what better or more meaningful way was there to win other than exactly this way, in a completely unprecedented manner that no expert in the world predicted. It couldn’t have happened any other way. It simply had to happen exactly this way.

After all of the last minute heartbreaks over the years, all of the emotion of this last minute win came pouring out. Everyone from Cavs fans, to LeBron, to the coach got misty eyed and emotional. LeBron never did that when he won in Miami, but he fulfilled his promise and brought home the ring to his hometown. He had been forgiven by his fans for his mistakes. He had redemption and so did his city.

He was the first player in NBA history to lead all players in points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks in a playoff series. And he did it in the biggest series he’s ever played in.

If he were to leave the Cavs tomorrow, I don’t think anyone would hold a grudge against him.

He kept his promise:

Immediately after the game LeBron said,

“I set out a goal two years when I came back, to bring a championship to this city. I gave everything that I had. I poured my heart, my blood, my sweat, my tears into this game. Against all odds, I don’t know why we want to take the hardest road.

“I don’t know why the man above give me the hardest road, but … the man above don’t put you in situations that you can’t handle. I just kept that same positive attitude. Instead of saying why me, I said this is what He wants me to do. And, uh, Cleveland — this is for you!”


His post-game interview sounded like soundbites that might get hammered home in a Hasidic Farbrengen. Some will mock the idea that you can take lessons from that. But isn’t there a lesson to be learned from everything on this planet? How much more so from something being watched by millions of people from across the globe. It was powerful to me and is something that can be applied to everyday life.

And in the moment it all came flowing out with tears of pure joy and jubilation. Some fans remained nasty and bitter, that was to be expected I suppose. However just as many kept it classy, were very congratulatory, and some even offered us their ticket stubs:




































The crowd of Cleveland fans lingered on, jumping for joy.



JJ and I took turns in leading several chants:

Gotta love the Mincha call at the end from a GSW fan 😉

That chant was also featured on an ESPN SportCenter tweet that was viewed 750,000 times (click play and then click again for volume):


And of course people noticed:




Indeed, there we were in the bottom left corner of Sportscenter:



I do feel bad for a few guys.

Poor Anderson Varejão has played his heart out for the Cavs for 12 years and was cut a few months ago. He probably thought he had a sure thing at a ring when he joined the Warriors. I’d bet the Cavs give him a ring anyway, but no matter what it’s made from, it will always feel like cubic zirconia.

Joe Tait is the voice of the Cavs to any Clevelander and is a legend. He started calling Cavs games from the year they came into existence until 5 years ago. It’s a shame he couldn’t call anything like game 7 over all those years.

David Blatt did an amazing job bringing the Cavs to the Finals last year. The Cavs were up 2 games to 1, but just couldn’t overcome the injuries that Kyrie and Love suffered in the playoffs. I’m sure he’ll get a ring as well.

Nike summed it up well:



Ari Lesser, who goes to my shul in Cleveland, put together this impressive rap celebrating the team:



It was a night that no Clevelander will ever forget. The redeye back home to Cleveland was full of strangers high-fiving each other. I’ll admit to being jealous of the hundreds of thousands back home on the downtown streets celebrating into the night, but I wouldn’t have traded places for anything. Besides, we’ve got a parade coming to Cleveland tomorrow for the first time in 52 years!

I hope to go with my grandfather and Rafi to the parade tomorrow. I no longer have to hear stories of a parade that took place over half a century ago. Rafi won’t understand the big deal now and hopefully he never will. But just in case, he’ll be able to tell his grandkids one day about a parade that his dad and grandfather took him to when he was 4…

#OneForTheLand #AllInCLE #LetsGoTribe



Leave a Reply

58 Comments On "Trip Notes: The Redemption, The Comeback, The Renaissance, The Chasedown, The Block, The Shot Part 2, The Tearjerker; Call It What You Want But This Was A Night To Remember"

All opinions expressed below are user generated and the opinions aren’t provided, reviewed or endorsed by any advertiser or DansDeals.


So…. The million dollar question: How much did you pay for the tickets?

Nobody cares bruh


Mikel T.

Congrats Dan must of been a heavy few days of drinking if your posting 2 days later!


Congrats to all of CLE. The longer you wait the sweeter it is.

Spit it Out

How much did you pay for the tix?? In terms of USD, not % off 3 days’ ago prices…


Thanks for sharing!
Does allin mean united will rehub cle?


That was one of the worst officiated series I have ever seen. Couldn’t have won it without all of LBJ’s crying and flopping. Congrats to you Clevelanders though.


My brother called me crying of joy after the game Sunday night. Apparently he was embarrassed to tell his family he was traveling solo last minute to witness history in-case it ended up not happening. He spent points for flights and about $3k on amazing tickets and worth every single penny. An event like this is not about the money it cost for you to get there but rather the memories and emotional experience of being there as it happened.

Cleveland Rocks!


Epic indeed!

To come back from 3-1 and do it in their court…wow.


I forgive LeBron’s moronic “The Decision” now 🙂


Decidedly less than a million 😉

Quite frankly, it’s embarrassing. I’m a relatively frugal guy. I travel on miles. I drive a 6 year old Altima.

Sports games in Cleveland are very inexpensive. Even finals game 6 tickets could be had for just $200 on the resale market. We sat upstairs and loved it.

But if you insist on knowing…Lower bowl sideline seats were going for over $4,000 in the middle of last week and Upper bowl sidelines were going for $2,000.

By Friday that dropped to $3,000 and for lowers and $1,500 for uppers.

On the plane ride the lowers dropped to $2,200 and the uppers to $1,100

When we bought the seats I nabbed lower bowl dead center court seats for $1,800. It’s a mind-boggling amount of money to spend on a game, but it was worth every cent in the end. I was especially happy to have bought the lower bowl for this game as
2. We were able to hear and be heard.
3. We were able to see the game. In CLE the jumbotron is 10x larger than in Oakland which makes uppers a decent place to sit.
4. Classier fans made for a better experience when rooting for the away team.
5. We were able to run down for the ceremonies, though unfortunately they were facing the wrong way. Note for next time, get the seats facing the benches rather than behind them. Though those seats were more expensive.

@Nobody cares bruh:
I write about things that I care about, not what you care about.

@Mikel T.:
Landed from the redeye yesterday morning, but I never function properly until I get a real night of sleep afterward.

Indeed, thanks!

Ha. If only.

It’s a 2 way street. In the end these things balance each other out.


Was truly awesome and he did redeem himself with that promise fulfilled.

Please help

The deal seems to be dead or sold out,

the truth

cleveland deserves this championship…lord knows they have..
a weak eastern conference…
and dan gilbert..
and lebron..
and the browns..
and having to wonder every year whats next..

Enjoy the moment before reality sets back in


Heyy I @ you the tweet of SportsCenter!


Your best T.R ever!


Born and raised in Cleveland. Still can’t believe it. Hasn’t sunk in. Awesome that you were able to go to game 6 and 7


Highlight of that day seems to be getting a Camaro for $10.44 plus tax 😛

what a joke

maybe epes work on a decent deal finally, instead of a daily update on your cities going-ons?

Awesome post

Thoroughly enjoyed reading all of it Dan!


Nice kiddush hashem by you guys!

Back to work?

Time to get back to work now eh. Happy for cleveland, but one championship in 50 years, shouldnt you be a bit quieter and classier? Especially how much crap your seedy owner and every low class fan gave your savior for four years? I believe history later on will see this more as a great team (warriors) expending all their energy chasing immortality, choking it away at the end, rather than a great team in cleveland winning it all. Oh btw, did you hear lebron enrolled his kids in cleveland. He gone.


@Lakewood guy:

He already writes about all that.


Loved the line about JJ taking his talent to south beach!


Fastest trip report in dansdeals history


@Sameold: @bklyn: @Elchay: @Awesome post: @shiframeir:


@Back to work?:
LeBron acknowledged that he’d be just as angry if he was a fan in that situation.
He apologized. He promised to bring a trophy home. And he did.

That’s all in the past now.

So because they won 73 games they lost 3 games in a row in the finals?
LeBron willed his team to victory. Simple as that.

The AA London one was faster 😉

Ben P.

Congrats Dan and Cleveland. I really thought that Cavs had 0 chance in game 7 on the road and happy to be wrong. Good for LeBron who won one for his hometown. Too often players forget their upbringing. It is more fun for the fans when the player has true passion for not just the game but the city he is playing for.


Congrats to Cleveland fans. I don’t like LeBron at all especially his classless attitude but glad to see you guys end the drought finally. Personally i think he won’t win without Kyrie. Enjoy this moment.

Dubs fan.


@Ben P.:
It’s pretty rare than a player like LBJ is drafted by his hometown, but yes, that passion made it a lot of fun.

What did he say that was classless this time?

Would Jordan have won without Pippen?
Would Steph have won last year without Klay?


I am so happy for you and JJ to see your dream realized and be there for it.
As usual, great moving TR!


Loved this report! Ignore all those New Yorkers who can’t seem to handle a post or two that doesn’t pertain to them. The people who matter (aka, the Clevelanders) appreciate the man-on-the-ground reporting. And refuah shleimah to your grandfather!


NBA is rigged





Firstly, best post yet Dan! All the waiting was worth it. Also thanks to the skills I learned here and on Ddf, I was able to fly home to watch the game at the watch party outside the Q. As a side note Scott Raab was on my flight in with his son, and showed me the ticket stub. Bh I have a ticket stub from the watch party 🙂 He also informed that if something good happened there would be a Believeland Epilogue.
Congratulations and enjoy the parade tom!


Congrats Dan!! Enjoy the memories. Would you spend the money again next year given the opportunity ?
(I wish I had such a moment in my life)


And that watch party looked awesome, how did you get tickets?
Surprised Raab didn’t go to the game in Oakland!

Thanks and great question.
At this point, no I wouldn’t. There’s something to be said for the first time that will always be special.

Now if we’re talking about my beloved Indians or even the Browns…well let’s cross that bridge when we get there 😀


Great post! Congrats to Clevland, quite a story and fans involvement over the years makes it more personal. The disappointments just have to make the success so much more meaningful and memorable. So good for your for getting to games 6 and 7. that is how the mileage and the travel game should be played, and your trip report shared that with the rest of us. thanks for that, nice ride by the way, costco you say? Go Cavs!!!


Personally, I think Cleveland fans loved being pitied by the sports world. “We haven’t won anything in 52 years, poor us”. What’re you guys gonna complain about now? 😛


as a die hard sports fan, i really enjoyed this post.i have a tremendous respect for lebrons game there has never been a player in nba history that can guard one thru five,has the hardest defensive assignment,never takes a play off,plays 45-46 min (when it counts the most),comes out of nowhere to make a block when most defenders would have been watching from half court,to give millions pure joy and jubilation.congratulations Cleveland, congratulations dan,and congratulations jj.


Great Post! My one question is how did you get such a cheap rental car using Costco. I also have a membership but I never seem to see deals like that!


Thanks for the great trip note, Dan!


Dan!! You take such enjoyment in the things that you like, you stay focused just on the positive! It is a valuable lesson to be learnt!



Lol, I think we’ll be OK 😀


I took the AWD from which was showing an amazing rate and plugged it into and got a further discount off of it by prepaying.


Happiness is a state of mind.
Focus on all the good in your life and you’ll never have a bad day.


@Dan. Did you rent from the airport or off the airport?


Airport, so the taxes did add to that rate.

dov bennish

come to detroit when the indians play here and meet some ddfers


I’m sure avis chairman also had something to do with the rate 😀


Nice TR, clearly very passionate… Just a little too heavy on the DD-on-ESPN self promotion for my taste. But enjoy the win – my Cubs are nex! (and if you thought the CLE celebration is something, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet… 🙂 )

Better By Design

Congrats on the championship and being able to be there – for most sports fans, it is nearly always a once-in-a-lifetime experience and a blessing you and your brother could attend together.

I’m sorry to hear about the language from others – I am fully committed to cheering loudly and treating visiting fans well in our home arenas and am always disappointed when fans at sporting events have to resort to cursing to express themselves… too many kids around, let alone general politeness!

I love that other folks there gave you their ticket stubs – that’s fantastic!

Yaakov H

Beautiful post!! Loved all the details! I’m not a huge sports fan but always watch the last games etc… You are a prolific writer and it’s great you share your talent by entertaining the masses… Keep the personal posts coming!! I live in Lakewood and went to your class when you came down here… Come again, you are always welcome!! Congrats on your team!! I didn’t care as much for who wins but after your write up after game 6, I really felt I was on your team and was cheering for your guys the whole time! Go Cavs!!


So happy for you!


I just want to point out something that Lebron himself I think realizes and that is that Curry can get away with saying anything and throwing anything at anyone because he has that boyish punim and he can just smile and apologize and everyone loves him.

If Lebron says anything that someone can take with offense he is demonized as a heartless animal. I think this says even more about Lebron’s maturity since he is able to ignore the public bashing him and focus on winning, keeping his word, and bringing happiness to others.


I cheered for GSW the whole way through, crossed my fingers that they’d be the ones to break the tie, and prayed for them to come back in the last < minute of the game…

But at the same time, I followed your Instagram posts and some part of me celebrated with you that your beloved Cavs finally brought CLE some Nachas 🙂


Its cute to see huge lubavitcher sports fans.
I never knew it worked that way.
Regardless, Mazal Tov and may you continue winning until 120


“And yet, Cleveland remains a die-hard sports town”
Indians are only drawing 17k fans per game this year…
Cavs secondary market is a disaster (try selling lower level for a Monday night game for more than half of face)

Truth is that 10 years ago when Blackhawks stunk, half the building was empty every game (like a typical Islanders game now). The season ticket wait list now is abote 15 years, so who knows…


cheering for your teams in private is one thing(if you must use your yetzer for something sports is not bad) but to spend so much time and money!! and to post about I think goes too far as far as Jewish Hashkafa.


@shiframeir: why is going to a sports game defined as Kiddush HaShem?

I thought Kiddush Hashem is when a Jew acts in respected way, not if he just does things for fun (it may not be bad but it’s not Kiddush Hashem either).


I’m happy for whoever is happy, and I agree sports is not bad, but one must be careful not to turn it into a value. It’s just a game. It’s important not to forget what’s really important in life!

youre all stupid

yall gotta learn to stop being so stupid and shaded lol Dan is an awesome guy, who gets sick deals

just because ur all butthurt that he went to the game and rented a freaking car for $10 dont mean u gotta hate lmao

Dan, sick post, happy you enjoyed and god bless u for all ur posts and deals…ive saved a lot of money becuase of you..BLESS