CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The Cleveland Cavaliers’ home opener on Saturday night embraced a series of hellos, and one heartbreaking good-bye.
On one hand, the team is embracing their 50th season inside the new Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
However, the aesthetic changes on the court and surrounding the arena were overshadowed by one more personal: the loss of announcer Fred McLeod.
The 67-year-old Cleveland legend and prominent member of the Cavaliers family of 13 years passed away of a heart attack back in September.
But even with Fred missing from the arena, Cavs fans were still in the presence of the McLeods, including his wife of 28 years, Beth.
Prior to the season opener, Cleveland meteorologist Beth McLeod memorialized Fred in a way she can share with those they loved and respected most: by giving away his vast tie collection.
One of the seemingly dozens of people that posted a photo on social media showing they were one of those chosen to receive a tangible memory of Fred was 19 News’ own Mark Schwab:
Kevin Love was even sporting his tie from Fred’s collection during warmups prior to Saturday’s game:
Since his sudden passing, the Cavaliers and other members of the media have made their own tributes to Fred.
But on Saturday, the Cavaliers put out their arguably most in-depth and emotional one yet.
First, the Cavs tweeted out a video full of the player’s testimonies and memories of the announcer.
But before the game started, this tear-jerking tribute played on the jumbotron, starting with the Cavaliers’ Dan Gilbert saying:
“Unfortunately, we recently lost an important and close member of the Cavaliers family: Fred McLeod. This is a man who was a great husband, great father, great colleague, and he was an ambassador for the City of Cleveland, and he was a great television man. What he meant to the fans and the fan base and the entire community can’t be put into words. He’s one of these guys that everybody loved and he deserved for everyone to love him because of the way he treated people. And that’s Fred. From the entire Cleveland Cavaliers organization and all of my family, including my wife, Jennifer, and all of our kids, we’re going to miss him dearly...as is everybody who was ever associated with him. Fred, you will be missed.”
After that, well, you need to just see and hear it for yourself:
Here is a look of what the crowd’s reaction was as they watched that tribute from inside the arena.