Category Archives: Basketball

Holiday Hoops: My first Cleveland Cavaliers game

Cleveland Cavaliers vs Chicago Bulls

I am continually humbled by the loyalty of Cleveland sports fans. Raised on the Philadelphia Eagles, I would lament year after year when we would make it to the playoffs just to blow it at the last second (trust me, given the Eagles’ current record, the irony of that statement is not lost on me).

I really don’t think I understood what a die-hard fan is until I moved to Cleveland and witnessed a city who continues to support their teams regardless of the challenges and betrayals of the past. Quitting just isn’t in the vocabulary.

And that’s incredibly admirable. While Cleveland fans aren’t pushovers and give critical feedback when it’s justified, there’s still a sense of hope and rebuilding. A celebration at all victories – large and small – never taking for granted the good times.

I was struck by this when I went to my first Cleveland Cavaliers game last week.

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Key Leg Lamp Winner and Christmas Story Night Out Sweepstakes

I’m happy to say that after this weekend, the holiday shopping list is all planned out and (most of) the decorations are up around the house. My goal this year is to not get too overwhelmed by the holidays.

Good luck with that, right? We’ll see how it goes but one way I hope to not completely lose it is by plotting nights out to escape the craziness – one of those being the Cavs game this Wednesday.

I’m excited not only because it’s my first NBA game, but also because everyone at the game gets to take home a bobble leg lamp for the mantle (or in my case, my bookshelf).

But first, it’s time to announce the winner of 4 tickets to this week’s game.

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Giveaway! A Christmas Story Leg Lamp Night at the Cavs

UPDATE: This giveaway ended on Dec. 2. Congratulations to the ticket winner BiteBuff.

Growing up I had a love-hate relationship with A Christmas Story. The first time I watched it, I was traumatized by the angry Department Store Santa, the scene that would somehow be playing everytime I turned on the tv.

However, once I got over this bit of the film, it won me over and is now one of my favorite holiday classics up there with The Muppet Christmas Carol.

I love Christmas in Cleveland because everyone fully embraces the Christmas Story spirit – whether it’s reliving the movie at the museum or decking their homes with their very own leg lamp in the window.

Next Wednesday, Dec. 5, KeyBank and the Cleveland Cavaliers will be serving up a bit of Cleveland holiday kitsch when the Cavs take on the Chicago Bulls at home.

At Bobble Leg Lamp Night celebrate the holiday season with pink bunnies, FRAGILE crates and other Christmas Story surprises popping up throughout the Q.

And as thanks for cheering on the Cavs, everyone in attendance will take home their very own Bobble Leg Lamp to show off in their house.

You and 3 friends will have a chance to attend the game and get your bobble leg lamps by entering my giveaway.

There are 5 Easy Ways to Enter the Giveaway!
Leave a separate comment on this post for each entry.

1) For one entry in the giveaway, leave a comment on this post telling me what your favorite holiday movie is.

2) If you’re a fan of Clue Into Cleveland on Facebook, leave a comment on this blog post letting me know. If you’re not yet a fan, you can become one here.

3) Follow @ADHicken on Twitter and leave a comment letting me know you did.

4) Twitter users can also get an extra entry each day for tweeting: “I want to win tickets to @Cavs’ #KeyLegLamp Night. Enter @ADHicken’s giveaway for your chance to win: http://wp.me/p2Ukr0-1Fq”  (Each day you do this, you must leave a new comment.)

5) Subscribe to receive Clue Into Cleveland blog posts in your inbox or via the RSS feed and leave a comment letting me know you did. This can also include signing up to receive email notifications in the top-right “Subscribe” section of this page.

You have until Sunday, Dec. 2 at 11:59PM to enter. On Monday, Dec. 3, I will select a winner using Random.org and will announce the winner’s name on my blog.  Remember to leave a separate comment for each entry.

But wait – there’s more! When you’re done entering my giveaway, visit keyleglamp.com for more information about KeyBank’s Christmas Story Night Out Sweepstakes and enter for a chance to win a deluxe holiday prize pack for you and 15 friends courtesy of the Cavs, Christmas Story House, and KeyBank.

Good luck!

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Disclosures: I was provided 4 ickets to give away to the Dec. 5 Cavs game and 4 for myself to use. My opinions and the choice of events I share are my own.  Regarding the Facebook components of this giveaway: This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. You understand that you are providing your information to the owner of the Facebook pages listed and not to Facebook.

7th Annual Continental Cup Comes to Cleveland This Week

Although we have to wait a few more weeks for Olympics fever to hit its peak, Cleveland is hosting its own international sports competition this week.

The Continental Cup International Youth Sports Festival kicks off this Thursday, July 5th and continues through the weekend with a showcase of global athletic competition and cultural exchange.

Now in its 7th year, the Continental Cup is presented by the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission and Cleveland Clinic Sports Health with a mission of creating a large, vibrant, annual civic event in Cleveland that celebrates internationalism, youth diversity and sportsmanship.

And they’ve done a great job so far towards achieving this goal — in 2010 and 2011, the National Association of Sports Commissions honored the Continental Cup as its Outstanding Locally Created Event. At this year’s event, the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission expects 3500 athletes from 13 different countries to participate in the games.

With the international teams growing by almost 20% this year, athletes from Aruba, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Curacao, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Sri Lanka, Australia, Philippines, Guam, Kenya, Rwanda and Nigeria are slated to attend, including some of the most elite teams in their sport like Colombia’s Club America de Cali soccer team.

The Continental Cup starts things off with its first day of competition and Opening Ceremonies on Thursday.  From 6:30-9pm at Cleveland Browns Stadium, players, their families and the Cleveland public are invited to a free party with a parade of nations, live entertainment, food, soccer freestylers, games and inflatables. And in case you don’t get your fill on the Fourth of July, the evening culminates with a fireworks show.

These Opening Ceremonies celebrate 4 days of competitions in soccer, baseball and basketball, as well as a variety of activities for athletes like college seminars at Baldwin Wallace University and outings to Friday’s Indians game.  The AC Milan, Cleveland Indians Charities and Cleveland Cavaliers Continental Cups will give athletes a unique chance to not only compete against some of the top teams from across the U.S. and world, but also experience other cultures and explore a bit of Cleveland.

To travel to London for the 2012 Olympics, you’d have to pay a King’s ransom. Fortunately this weekend you can enjoy a tournament that similarly celebrates cultural diversity – for free – by just hopping in your car.

A schedule and full details for all Continental Cup events can be found here.  And to stay up-to-date throughout the weekend, follow @ContinentalCup and the #ContinentalCup2012 hashtag on Twitter or the Continental Cup Facebook page.

Note: Photos of last year’s Continental Cup are courtesy of Greater Cleveland Sports Commission.

CSU Packs the House for The Gathering Place

Have you entered to win 2 tickets to Cleveland’s Great Big Home and Garden Show? You have until Tuesday, January 24 at 11:59pm – good luck!

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When I was in college, it was basketball not football that was really big at our school. When I first moved to Ohio, I was fascinated by how OSU and Michigan fans filled the bars on Saturdays to watch football. I really hadn’t experienced anything like that before.

College basketball, on the other hand – now that’s something we would drop everything for. With the Philadelphia Big 5 (La Salle, St. Joe’s, Villanova, UPenn, and Temple), basketball season was the time of year the campus would rally.

Now that I live in Cleveland I still don’t have to go far to get my fill of college hoops each season, as the Cleveland State Women’s and Men’s basketball teams make their home in the heart of downtown CLE.

When the Cleveland State University Women’s Basketball team takes on Detroit next Saturday, you too will have more than one reason to attend the game:  the Vikings are participating in the NCAA Pack the House Challenge.

The purpose of the January 28th Pack the House Game is to increase awareness in the sport of women’s basketball and help prepare the next generation of women’s college basketball players and fans.

All tickets for the 2pm game cost only $1, with the goal of setting an attendance record. For first-time attendees, it’s a great (and inexpensive!) way to experience Vikings basketball.

There will also be post-game free throws, $1 menu items and a free KidZone for families.

If local school pride’s not enough to get you down to the Wolstein Center on the 28th, a portion of all ticket sales will benefit The Gathering Place, a nonprofit, community-based cancer support center serving the needs of Greater Cleveland.

My dad’s a three-time cancer survivor so I’ve seen firsthand how excruciating the journey can be. Programs like the ones that The Gathering Place provides free of charge are often essential for the individuals and families touched by cancer.

It’s easy to build awareness for Women’s Basketball and raise money for The Gathering Place — for only $1:

When you buy your tickets, let them know you learned about the game through this post by entering the code ClueInto in the promo code section of the ticketing website. If you purchase your ticket in person, provide the code to the box office seller.

If you can’t make it on January 28th, you can learn more about the Vikings’ 2011-2012 Women’s Basketball Season here. All home games are played at the Wolstein Center, 2000 Prospect Avenue.

Disclosure: I was invited by the Wolstein Center to participate in a contest among other local bloggers to see who can pack the house the most. As always, though, my thoughts and the choice of events I share are 100% my own.

If a LeBron Plays in the Q, and No One is There to Watch It …

   

… Does it Make a Sound?  

   

A number of Cleveland restaurants are trying to answer that question when Miami plays the Cavs in Cleveland this season.

 

   

What boggled my mind the most about last Thursday’s ‘LeBron Show’ was how many people tuned in.   Nearly 10 million U.S. viewers watched what has been considered a low point for journalism and pro sports.  Although the majority of those who watched it were annoyed, we still contributed to the madness by tuning in.  In fact, Ari Emanuel (Rahm’s brother, the inspiration for Entourage’s Ari and one of the individuals behind the entire thing) has even defended the ESPN special as a win for advertiser-funded programming.   

And he’s right.  From this point of view, it was a success.  No matter what happens to LeBron’s reputation, the advertisers who spent money to get exposure time reached almost 10 million people with their message.  And when it comes down to it, this is only because we fed the media frenzy.  And I count myself among those at fault. Although I decided to read my new batch of comic books instead of watching (thanks, Astound!), I still got suckered into reading the endless coverage of it on Twitter.  

What would have happened if we hadn’t watched this spectacle?  How much of an epic fail would it have been for ESPN and the advertisers?  And how can we starve the LeBrand machine when Miami inevitably faces off with the Cavs this season?    

A growing group of Cleveland restaurants has created ‘The Official Miami Boycott Bargain‘ to answer that question.  

Since LeBron, Wade and Bosh have said they won’t be bothered by Cleveland’s boos and that people will be eager to watch them no matter where they play, ‘The Official Miami Boycott Bargain’ has proposed a plan to boost restaurant and bar sales during these games, support the Cavs’ ticket sales, and get back a little at ‘LeBron and The SuperFriends.’    

The plan is still in the works as they continue to recruit more and more local restaurants; however, ‘The Official Miami Boycott Bargain’ is encouraging fans of the Cavs and Cleveland to purchase tickets to next season’s Miami-Cleveland basketball games and then not attend.  As an incentive, ticketholders can bring their unused ticket to one of the participating restaurants during the hours of the game and receive a discount on food. Right now, they’re asking restaurants to allow for a 50% discount (not an insignificant price cut).   

The goal of all of this is to make the Q as empty as possible during the Miami game while supporting the Cavs’ ticket sales at the same time. Plus, they hope to pack all of the supporting restaurants to disprove the myth that LeBron leaving will affect the city’s economy as much as some think.   

There are a lot of great restaurants who already signed on to participate, and the group only started organizing the boycott this past Saturday:  

Since silence is the best way to starve an attention addict, I hope ‘The Official Miami Boycott Bargain’ gets as much attention as was unduly given LeBron last week. Personally, I think it’s an enterprising proposal and plan on buying my tickets as soon as I can.   

Official Miami Boycott Bargain 411:  

Miami Boycott Bargain on Facebook
Cavs Ticket Info

Cleveland: Much More Than a Player

Fans lining up as LeBron meets with the Cavs. photo credit: Thomas Ondrey, The Plain Dealer

 

 Lately when I look out of my office window, I can see the fans lined up on E 9th St. where LeBron James is inside being courted during free agency.  And when I’m walking downtown, I’m continually reminded of this spectacle by the various ‘Home’ and ‘More than a Player’ banners hanging from bridges, buildings, and road signs.      

Although I understand fan loyalty to a certain extent, it should really only go so far.  Basketball is a team sport.  At the end of the day, despite how talented someone is or how instrumental a player is to a team (and LeBron is both), he’s still playing within a team. I also understand that having been raised in Akron and spending his entire career here, you have the rare hometown hero who makes good on a national level.  By contributing to the Cavs’ presence in multiple playoffs, he has helped put the team and the city of Cleveland in the national spotlight – at least when it comes to basketball. And as other sports heroes before him who raised themselves up to a better lifestyle, LeBron often gives back to his local community.      

'More Than A Player' sign on I-77 begging LeBron to stay. photo credit: Paula Neal Mooney, Examiner.com

 

However, that doesn’t necessarily justify the lengths we’ve gone to to desperately hang on to him.  The signs and crowds downtown are just the latest in a series of attempts to get him to stay.  There have been LeBron flash mobs and videos; other local sports teams trying to get in on the action (such as the Lake Erie Crushers putting in a bid for LeBron to play for them); and Akron’s Fan Appreciation Day which LeBron fortunately showed up for at the last minute.       

While some say we owe all of this adoration to ‘King James,’ his decision to stay or go really comes down to him being a player – nothing less, nothing more.  Does LeBron think he can win a championship with the Cavs; will his career be noted as one of the greatest in NBA history if he stays in Cleveland?  Or does he need to go to another team to pursue that goal.  That’s really what his free agency is about and there’s an excellent article about it on ESPN.com that looks at the ‘should I stay or should I go now’ argument.        

All of the begging in the world isn’t going to make up LeBron’s mind.  Honestly, if it did, I wouldn’t have that much respect for him.

King James holding court at The Q. photo credit: Tracy Boulian, The Plain Dealer

 

Additionally, while LeBron has brought a lot of attention to the city over the last couple of years, it’s mostly attention for his talent and the Cavs.  To borrow the slogan that’s recently been used for LeBron, Cleveland is so much ‘more than a player.’  Admittedly, like any other urban center we have a lot to improve on.  There are issues with both our infrastructure and our attitudes that need work.  However, if LeBron were to leave, there are many other things that still make Cleveland great and worth checking out.       

There’s an excellent music scene – just read 52 Weeks of Cleveland for an ongoing and entertaining look at it. We offer a wide assortment of skilled chefs and restaurants – from Iron Chef Michael Symon’s (another hometown hero) Bar Symon, B Spot Burgers and Lola and Lolita restaurants, to all of the local restaurants in the Cleveland Food Rocks campaign.  Cleveland’s also home to museums and performing arts noted for important contributions in their fields — from the Natural History Museum whose physical anthropology department recently played a key part in a major discovery; to the Cleveland Museum of Art which just underwent a significant renovation and is the only major American museum that still offers free general admission to the public; to the Cleveland Orchestra which is praised and sought after around the world.  Finally, with institutions such as the Cleveland Clinic and Case Western Reserve, we offer one of the most renowned medical communities in the country and a number of valued educational opportunities.        

Unfortunately, though, it seems very easy to focus on one thing and allow ourselves to be held back by this nearsightedness.  So while I know a lot of Cleveland fans will rest easier if LeBron does decide to stay, it’s not going to be the end of Cleveland if he doesn’t.       

 There is so much more that makes this city. There’s more than one player. We just need to rise up and look past it to see that.