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Downtown Cleveland Erupts After Cavs Victory

Downtown Cleveland, outside the Q, as the 4th quarter drew to an end. [Matt Richmond / ideastream]

Downtown Cleveland erupted in celebration last night after the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Golden State Warriors in Game 7 of the NBA Finalsm, a celebration that was a long time coming.

During the game, crowds of fans filled the bars around Quicken Loans Arena. Others huddled outside to watch through windows and open entrances as the Cavaliers did what no team has done in the history of the NBA: come back from a three – one deficit to win the finals.

Brendan Walton owns AJ Rocco’s sports bar near the Q.   He says the last time he saw crowds anywhere near this size was back in 2007 when the Cavs were in the Eastern Conference finals, but this is bigger and better.

“A fantastic Cleveland sports night, top in my lifetime for sure,” said Walton.

After the game, Dre Cole was standing on the sidewalk, watching the massive celebration make its way past. He says Cleveland deserves this after waiting 52 years for a title.

“We had a game in the sixties but we came and did it, we did it and brought it home to the home team,” said Cole.

For hours after the game ended, it was hard to walk down the street without being stopped by a celebrating fan. Thousands more spilled into intersections.  Some climbed light poles. In the end, it was a largely peaceful night after a few hours the celebration quieted out, at least the one downtown.

Matthew Richmond is a reporter/producer focused on criminal justice issues at Ideastream Public Media.