The Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers will face off in a rematch of last year's NBA Finals, which the Warriors won 4-2 after coming back from down 2-1 after Game 3. The series will begin on Thursday night in Oakland and will be historic regardless of who ends up with the ring.
For the third straight year, no matter who wins, an Australian will be winning an NBA title as both the Cavaliers and the Warriors have an Australian on their team. Andrew Bogut, the starting center for the Warriors, made it back-to-back for Australia last year when the Warriors won their first championship since the '70s. The Cavaliers also have back-up point guard Matthew Dellavedova, another Australian brought to the U.S. for basketball. The Spurs actually had two Australians on their team when they won in 2014 with Patty Mills and Aaron Baynes.
While not necessarily the most notable history, the milestone reflects the efforts of the NBA to recruit players from all over the world. If the Thunder had won the Western Conference Finals, there also would have been a chance for a New Zealand native (Steven Adams) to win an NBA title, something New Zealand is probably as disappointed about as Thunder fans.
But the historical consequences of this series go well beyond the nationality of the players, especially for Cleveland sports fans.
If the Cavaliers win the championship, it will be the first NBA title for the Cleveland franchise and LeBron’s third title in six straight NBA Finals appearances. It would also be the first time a team from Cleveland has won a championship in any sport since 1964 when the Browns won the Super Bowl, something that is not soon forgotten for anyone from Cleveland, Ohio.
If the Warriors win, they will have bettered the ’95-96 Bulls regular season record and backed it up with a championship while breaking virtually every 3-point shooting record in the process.
Game 1 begins on Thursday night in Oakland at 6:00pm (PST). Don’t forget to cheer for your favorite Australian.
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