David Griffin in Tears After Watching Rerun of 2016 Cavs-Warriors Finals Game 7

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ESPN’s Wednesday night replay of Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals brought back a range of emotions for Cavaliers fans, with former general manager David Griffin one of those who shed tears over the lasting memory.

In that series, the Cavaliers became the first NBA team ever to come back from a 3-1 deficit in the finals to win the franchise’s first-ever title. The victory also ended more than a half-century of frustration for Cleveland sports fans.

Griffin helped shape that team, with the 2014 acquisitions of LeBron James and Kevin Love helping to turn also-rans into immediate title contenders.

While James arrived via free agency, key pickups of veterans by Griffin over the next two seasons also played a role in capturing that championship.

The iconic images of that Game 7 matchup against the defending champion Golden State Warriors were once again on display for an NBA audience in limbo because of the coronavirus.

From James’ incredible block of an Andre Iguodala shot to Kyrie Irving’s clutch 3-pointer with less than a minute left, the final moments of that contest once again brought back the drama of the 93-89 victory.

Just one year later, Griffin left the Cavaliers organization after failing to work out a new contract. After sitting out the next two seasons, he resurfaced last year as executive vice president of basketball operations for the New Orleans Pelicans.

That lasting moment was bittersweet for Cavs’ fans, since James’ departure following the 2017-18 campaign ushered in a major rebuilding project.

That effort is still in the early stages, with the hope that it can again lead to a championship squad. However, whether that team would elicit the same range of emotions the 2016 champions have remains in question.

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Brad Sullivan is a lead writer for Cavaliers Nation. He has spent much of life in the Cleveland, Ohio area, and has remained a Cavalier fan from their 1970 beginnings through the return of LeBron James. While that fandom was sorely tested during the Reign of Error known simply by one word, Stepien, that overall historical perspective will be part of his writing for Cavaliers Nation in the months ahead.