If you grow up in Northeast Ohio like I did, you understand the agony that is associated with it’s professional sports teams. From “The Drive” to “The Fumble” to “The Shot,” each one drives a stake of pain deeper into the collective souls of every fan. Just say the name Jose Mesa to a Clevelander and you might get a beer thrown in your face just before seeing a right hook coming your way. Because of these heartbreaking memories, (along with the river once catching on fire because it was so polluted) Cleveland has been the butt of jokes for years on end. It’s something that you just learn to take and shake off when you hear national media use your home area as a punchline to a tired and overused joke.
Friday’s decision by Lebron James to return to Northeast Ohio and the Cleveland Cavaliers however helps to change that punchline into something entirely different. Lebron understands the pain of the area. He grew up in it as a kid who followed the Browns, Indians, and Cavaliers and experienced the heartbreak right along with so many others. His letter in Sports Illustrated demonstrated his understanding that Cleveland has been without a championship for 50 years when he said, “Our city hasn’t had that feeling in a long, long, long time. My goal is still to win as many titles as possible, no question. But what’s most important for me is bringing one trophy back to Northeast Ohio.”
I, like so many others, said one championship in Cleveland would be worth at least 5 in Miami. Lebron seems to agree to some extent. He knows what a title would mean to an area that has been so deprived for so long. He also knows what his return means for so many business owners in downtown Cleveland who struggled to stay afloat in the wake of his decision to go to Miami four years ago. The economic impact he’ll have on Northeast Ohio will be immeasurable. Just ask people in Chicago what Michael Jordan meant to their city financially.
Lebron’s decision will undoubtably keep the Cavaliers in title contention for years to come. However, his return means more than just the hope of raising championship banners. For many it means the difference between struggling to stay open and being able to pay your bills. And for that reason I’m most excited to see Lebron return home.
As the fantasy football season approaches I inevitably receive a few emails asking me for my opinion on which trophy I’d recommend for their league. As many of you know, my league has been playing for the Armchair Quarterback for nearly 20 years but it’s primarily because it was the very first trophy I sculpted. It has history on it’s side. However, I can obviously see the allure of the Throwback. The only real advice I give leagues on what trophy they should go with is this-
If you’re in a league where guys are scattered all over the country and you’ll be shipping it every year- I’d go with the Armchair Quarterback. It’s just less likely to break in transport. The Throwback has been known to occasionally break if it’s not packaged correctly and even sometimes when it is. And let’s face it- do you really trust that one buddy of yours to package it correctly?
If the Throwback does break it ends up costing you $275 for just the sculpture top. The Armchair Quarterback can still chip or break but it rarely does if packaged the right way. It just has less fragile parts.
Either way you’re clearly getting what I believe is the greatest fantasy football trophies in the world today but choose wisely. After all, soon your trophy will have it’s own history and hopefully it won’t include how your drunk friend thought his crumpled up sports page would be sufficient enough to wrap it in for its cross country journey.
Good luck this season,
It’s been pretty hectic at FantasyTrophies.com lately. Mainly because I recently decided to take part in the Fantasy Football Fest in Atlantic City. Even though it’s not until August 18th and 19th, I’ve had to start building the backdrop for my booth along with putting together some material to handout. Make sure if you’re planning on going you stop by and say hello.
This is also the time of year though that I really try to build up some inventory for the start of the fantasy football season. I’m trying my best to have trophies ready to go so that when your league needs their trophy ASAP I’ll have it packaged up and out my doors within a few days. That’s the plan. Now back to work so that I can make that happen. – Dave
Get your fantasy football trophy in ESPN The Magazine? Who knows, it just might happen. Yesterday they tweeted that they’re wanting leagues to send in photos of the fantasy football trophy they play for. Get’em in guys. The email address to send them to is FantasyTrophy@ESPN.com
Maybe your league will be represented in the pages of the magazine come fall!
4. Lebron James– Ok, so he’s the only current player on here but he’s also a 3 time NBA MVP, 8 time All-Star, 7 time All NBA team, and 3 time All Defensive team member. If he retires without a ring he’d easily be #1 on this list. James came close last year vs. Dallas but close doesn’t cut it when you proclaimed you’re looking to win “not one, not two, not three, not four…”
3. John Stockton– The all-time assists leader and king of the tight shorts, Stockton was pure class and a silent killer to boot. He had the unfortunate “luck” of playing during the same time as a guy named Michael Jordan. In 96-97 they pushed the Bulls to 6 games but MJ became MJ and John and his boys went home without a ring.
2. Charles Barkley– It’s too bad young fans of today just think of Barkley as that bald, big mouthed guy on TNT that takes his shirt off and plugs Nutrisystem.
There was a time when he was one of the most dominant players in the game. Coming into the league while Bird and Magic were still in it and then leaving when Michael Jordan was at his prime didn’t help Barkley’s chances at winning a championship. His best chance came in 92-93 when his Suns lost to the Bulls.
1. Karl Malone– When you’re a 14 time All-Star and a two time league MVP and you don’t have a ring, you can only be Karl Malone. Along with his teammate John Stockton, Malone ran into the Bulls and Michael Jordan at their prime. If not, he’d more than likely have a couple titles to his credit. Unfortunately the only title he has now is the best player without an NBA title.
This post is simply to put a little fire under the asses of all the league commissioners out there who take procrastinating to a whole new level. You know who you are.
I hate to say it but it’s inevitable that I’ll hear, “hey Dave, can you get our trophy out to us by our draft? It’s this weekend.”
Guys who have ordered from me in the past know that I do my very best to make that happen. After all, having your trophy on draft night is what it’s all about. However, I have a feeling that some leagues have been putting off ordering their trophy because they wanted to see when the NFL lockout was going to end. Well, it’s OVER! Football is coming and so are the early orders.
Here’s to hoping you’re one of them.
With rumors of the NFL lockout ending soon, I can’t help but get excited about the possibility of my fantasy football draft actually taking place as scheduled in early September. I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. Guys everywhere are praying that these billionaires and millionaires settle their differences so that all of us “regular guys” can sit on our asses, drink a few beers, trash talk with our buddies and draft our fantasy teams. I must say though that an added bonus to the lockout ending soon is that it will get my wife off my back about flying to Cleveland. You see, part of our vacation time is spent in our hometown of Cleveland, OH visiting friends and family. My wife Suzi has finally accepted the fact (after many “discussions”) that we also plan this trip to coincide with my fantasy football draft. I see it as killing two birds with one stone. She unfortunately sees it as a pain in her ass and would rather save both birds and throw the stone at me. This year has been particularly tough because I keep telling her that I don’t know when I can fly because the lockout hasn’t been resolved. You can imagine that she didn’t take that news very well. Especially when I added that she may have to take the kids and go visit family without me this year because I don’t know when my draft will take place and I need to be in Cleveland only if it’s during our draft. Needless to say, this lockout is really throwing a monkey wrench into my “vacation plans” and is putting additional stress on my marriage. Stress that hopefully won’t affect my draft once this ridiculous lockout gets resolved. I’d hate for my wife to have that on her conscience.