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Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Cleveland Rocks

By Dick Vitale

I am a big fan of the sport of basketball. I love watching the greatest athletes in the world performing in the NBA. Think about their agility and mobility, as these guys are like Baryshnikov in shorts!

Saying all that, I am ready to pick a team to win the NBA title. I really feel there will be a long-overdue celebration in Cleveland. The Cavaliers, LeBron James and company, will stand tall as world champions.

This is a team that is absolutely invincible at home. Cleveland is 39-1 at Quicken Loans Arena, and with a win over Philadelphia on Wednesday, the Cavaliers will match the NBA single-season home record of 40-1 set by the Celtics during the 1985-86 season. That is absolutely remarkable considering these top teams get the opposition's best shot night in and night out.

With a win over Indiana on Monday night, Cleveland clinched home-court advantage throughout the postseason. Did you hear that, Kobe and the Lakers? I know Los Angeles is the only team to win at Cleveland this season, but the home-court advantage can still be a big factor in the Finals.

To me, James has locked up the MVP Award already. I know some people are talking about Kobe and Dwyane Wade, but I think the trophy belongs to King James. Miami obviously doesn't have the surrounding talent the Lakers and Cavaliers have, and I don't think they are legitimate title contenders.

The addition of Mo Williams has been brilliant all season. Cleveland has made some other moves as well.

Then there is coach Mike Brown, who deserves a salute as one of the most underrated sideline bosses in the game.

When it is all said and done, LeBron will be in the argument as one of the greatest ever to lace up the sneakers and put on that NBA uniform. A championship will certainly add to his résumé. Before he became King, it was all Michael, Michael, Michael. LeBron will be in the mix, and he can make a statement by getting his first world title and the gold trophy. It is great for the city of Cleveland and could be an economic boon, as well.

By the way, word is James has a new 30,000-square-foot home near Cleveland, so don't expect him to leave the Cavaliers. He fits the profile and loves the area; he still watches his high school team play, hanging out with the students in the stands.

LeBron is a terrific young man and a great player. Owner Dan Gilbert and all of his partners have done a fantastic job in putting this franchise together, and there has been excitement galore in the city.

That's right, my friends, they will be singing "Cleveland Rocks" when the NBA championship is decided.