CHRIS GRANTLAND: CLEVELAND CAVALIER DANIEL GIBSON

Four billion years the sun has risen up over the miles where the river cuts through the city.   Water and winters came and cut the river down through the land down to the lake.   The buildings rose and sprawled and the city filled.

Orange construction barrels dot the landscape from Euclid Avenue as it slowly rises behind the Terminal Tower – which casts it’s enormous eighty year old shadow that pulls down across Public Square.  It’s 8 AM on Monday morning and the morning commute pours in across the broken roads, down into the city on a day which, in all likelihood, is Cleveland Cavalier guard Daniel Gibson’s last night.

I wonder if Gibson can still hear the whispers of his name over the Lorain-Carnegie Bridge as if from the mouths of those giant Guardians of Traffic, echoing around the curved ceilings of the West Side Market, vibrating down into the river.   And the 43 years since his employer was born and the 7 years since he first appeared, fascinated, inspired and found a home are both a speck of time.

2007 and those nights when a grinning rail thin 21 year old point guard from Texas meant everything were the blink of an eye ago.   2007s Eastern Conference Finals Game 4, with a series down to the invincible Pistons 1 games to 2.  Down the street from the shadow of the rising sun were the Gibson made 12 straight shots from the free throw line in the best game of his career, culminating with 2 long range 3 point shots to begin the fourth quarter.

It was Game 6, navigating through a hellstorm of Detroit defense and with perfect measure the arc on that same floor: the 23 feet 9 inch arc from the basket connected by the two parallel lines.   Moving from left to right on the floor, a 19 point fourth quarter which began with an explosive 3 straight connections in the first 2 and a half minutes of the quarter and culminated with a backbreaking shot from the far parallel line which ended the run of success by the Pistons clinched the greatest moment in the history of the Cleveland Cavaliers franchise.  

The first trip to the NBA Finals on the back of Gibson’s 31 points.   Every one stole every breath from every observer.  For that moment, the sun itself and the stars and the planets and their moons and the city itself aligned themselves to and around exactly where Daniel Gibson was standing.

This is his echo through the city as the sun rises tomorrow:   Let all our most meaningful moments also be our greatest, our tallest. Let the nights that are remembered be those when we stood on the shoulders of our strengths to meld our history.  

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