PARADE & RALLY: It takes 1.3M Cavs fans to stop LeBron
CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Cleveland Cavaliers fans got what they wanted: A chance to see their World Champions parade through the streets of "Believeland."
The Greater Cleveland Sports Commission said 1.3 million fans came downtown on Wednesday. (That's more than the number of people in Time Square on New Year's Eve)
As the Championship Rally started, "We Are the Champions" played. Then the question, "How do you stop LeBron James?"
"One-point-three million people stopped LeBron James today and no one could do that in the playoffs, said Cavs announcer Fred McLeod.
The entire team was together on the stage at Mall B for a moment they earned. Kevin Love was still holding the two WWE belts.
LeBron sounded like he was losing his voice but made sure the crowd knew that fans should be thanking the entire team.
"I'm just one man," he said.
LeBron talked about each player and what their contributions meant to the team. "You all watched The Finals and you all know what this guy can do and he's only 24," he said about Kyrie. (You can watch his unedited and expletive-filled speech here.)
RJ may have come out of retirement. The crowd chanted, "One more year," and he answered them, "If you want one more year, I'll give you one more year."
Kyrie Irving brought it home - "The only thing that can be said is, "What's next?"
Cavs owner Dan Gilbert gave praise to minority owner Gordon Gund, the front office and head coach Ty Lue and his coaching staff. Gilbert also thanked LeBron for his leadership and the entire team.
General Manager David Griffin summed it up as saying the city is now defined as "The Block, The Three and The D."
Watch a quick recap of the highlights of the Cavs Championship parade:
It was a day for the fans to go crazy and get close up to LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, J.R. Smith, Kevin Love, Mathew Dellavedova, Channing Frye, Mo Williams, Iman Shumpert and all the players.
Shumpert got out of his vehicle and ran through the crowd. The parade moved so slowly because of the crowds in the streets. The fans didn't seem to mind as long as they were able to get up close to their favorite team members.
The players brought their families to share in the celebration. Even holding up their babies as proud fathers.
Kyrie (and others) had time to dance on top of a vehicle for the fans. This is a must-share video of the players in the parade in less than 60 seconds:
Former Cavs stars like Brad Sellers were also getting waves and screams in the parade. Even the Larry O'Brien NBA Championship Trophy got cheers.
The players smoked cigars and took photos and yes, J.R., was still shirtless, as he walked along the parade. Fans just wanted to slap hands. He later climbed on top of a truck and surfed down the street.
Other players caught the fever from J.R. and also took off their shirts, including Shumpert, Mo Williams and Kyrie.
Downtown Cleveland was packed with Cleveland Cavaliers fans.
The parade was delayed about 30 minutes because of people in the streets. Police were trying to corral fans back to the edges with cruisers and mounted officers.
All streets were lined with wine and gold, people were packed several feet deep along the parade route.
Parking lots were full and RTA was jammed and people were cheering. Thousands of people were crossing the Lorain-Carnegie Bridge to get close to the Q.
It appeared people were just having fun as crowds continued to grow. They were finding any place to get a view of the Cavaliers including on top of the Free Stamp and even Porta-Potties.
Fans as young as 4-years-old were already heading to the Cavs rally location at Mall B downtown at 3:30 a.m. Their parents told Cleveland 19 that today is an historic day and they want their kids to witness all of it.
Others were already securing spots along the E. 9th parade route.
One woman from Avon Lake was camped out with three chairs at E. 9th and Superior holding spots for six family members. Her sister just arrived, driving through the night, from Chicago.
She got emotional as she spoke about why she felt the need to be downtown, "We've waited a long time for this."
Car horns were also honking in the wee hours of the morning. Fans popping their heads outside of car windows, cheering for our NBA Champions.
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