|James, Cavaliers try to break Cleveland's curse|
|Written by Admin|
|Tuesday, 12 June 2007 11:00|
The Cavaliers are in the NBA finals. The Indians are in first place. And the Browns drafted an offensive lineman - in the first round.
Maybe it's a sign.
Maybe LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers have the chance to end the city's 43-year championship drought, lifting a spell that would stymie even Harry Potter.
The Cavaliers, who entered Game 3 of the NBA finals Tuesday night trailing San Antonio 2-0, are testing the widely held belief in town that a curse is responsible for all the heartbreak.
The Drive. The Fumble. The Shot. Art Modell moved the Browns to Baltimore. Jose Mesa's blew a save in Game 7 of the 1997 World Series. The list goes on and on.
Boston and Chicago's curses are at least selective, picking on only the Red Sox - who ended their 86-year title drought when they won the World Series in 2004 - or Cubs while allowing the Celtics, Patriots and Bulls to win title after title.
Cleveland's curse has hovered over all three teams.
More recently, the jinx struck individual players - the Browns' Kellen Winslow, on his ill-fated motorcycle ride; and top free-agent center LeCharles Bentley, who tore up his knee on the first full-contact play of training camp.
Only James has appeared jinx proof. He's lived up to the enormous hype that followed him from high school in nearby Akron and led his team to the finals in just his fourth season.
``This will be the biggest thing that happened in here since Bill Veeck and the 1948 World Series winners, if they can win this thing,'' said Hall of Famer Bob Feller, a member of that last Indians championship team.
Some blame the curse on Rocky Colavito, the Indians' popular right-fielder who was traded to Detroit for Harvey Kuenn in 1960.
Some say Jim Brown, who retired abruptly after the 1965 season, is responsible. Others point to Modell, who never took the team to the Super Bowl and then moved the franchise to Baltimore and won it all.
Feller wants no part of such thinking.
``I'm not superstitious,'' he said. ``I don't believe anything is a curse. I don't believe in goblins or ghosts. It's nonsense.''
He has another explanation.
``They haven't had the good athletes,'' he said. ``Isn't that the reason you usually win or lose a game? Whoever has got the best athletes over a period of time.''
Former Browns coach Sam Rutigliano contends fretting about a curse is foolish and does nothing but make fans miserable.
``I don't believe in that, not for one second,'' Rutigliano said. ``I think people just feed on it and it's really a negative way of looking at things.''
Rutigliano was part of one of the Browns' legendary losses. Brian Sipe threw an interception while the Browns were in position to kick the winning field goal on a play called Red Right 88. That became the nickname for the team's playoff defeat to Oakland following its improbable 1980 season.
Now it's up to the Cavaliers to set things right in Cleveland.
``If they don't win it, they'll say the same as they always say, 'We'll get 'em next year,''' Feller said.