At the end of the Cavaliers’ championship parade in Cleveland on Wednesday, all 15 Cavs players were asked to take the stage and say a few words to the estimated 1.3 million people in attendance. One by one, every player—from benchwarmers like Jordan McRae to All-Stars like Kyrie Irving—got up and talked about what it was like to play for the Cavs this season. Some of the speeches were memorable (Kevin Love did his with two WWE belts over his shoulders, while J.R. Smith did his, of course, shirtless), others not so much (sorry, Sasha Kaun). But the Cavs obviously saved the best for last.
After the first 14 Cavs players had spoken, LeBron James took the mic as Diddy’s “Coming Home” played, and once the song was over, LeBron launched into a very long speech that saw him get about as real as you’ll ever see him get. He cursed liberally, he spoke about how winning a title with the Cavs still feels surreal, and he made a speech about every single one of his teammates, regardless of how big or small of a role they had this season. Some highlights:
- LeBron talked about how Richard Jefferson probably wouldn’t have ended up signing with the Cavaliers last summer if not for DeAndre Jordan deciding to re-sign with the Clippers after initially agreeing to a deal with the Mavericks.
- He talked about how he would trust Matthew Dellavedova to grab a rebound over a bear.
- He talked about how happy he was when the Cavs traded for J.R. Smith in early 2015—and took a shot at the Knicks in the process.
- He talked about how lucky Dahntay Jones was to land with the Cavs days before the end of the regular season.
- And he talked about how good he thinks Kyrie Irving can be when he actually hits his prime.
LeBron was 100 percent unfiltered, and it was amazing.
Even if you aren’t the biggest LeBron fan in the world, it’s impossible to watch this and not respect the way he interacted with each one of his teammates during what was essentially a celebration of him bringing a championship back to the city of Cleveland for the first time in more than 50 years.