Just a few years ago, the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors had what could have been one of the best rivalries in all of sports. They met each other in the NBA Finals for what ended up being four consecutive years, and they split the first two meetings with the Warriors winning the 2015 title and the Cavs winning the 2016 championship.
However, certain events transpired — like Kevin Durant joining the Warriors, making them an unfair super team, and Kyrie Irving and LeBron James both leaving Cleveland — and the rivalry never reached its full potential. But the Cavs will still never forget the title they won over the team from the Bay in 2016. In fact, the franchise recently found a new way to troll its former Finals foe and its horrific collapse from that historic 2016 campaign.
The NBA unveiled its City Edition uniforms
To celebrate its 75th season, the NBA recently unveiled this year’s City Edition jerseys on the anniversary of the league’s first-ever game. The uniforms pay homage to great moments from each franchise’s history.
For example, the Chicago Bulls’ uniforms have the same script the team wore in its inaugural season in 1966, but they also make sure to honor the two three-peats the Bulls won with Michael Jordan in the 1990s.
The Miami Heat uniforms, on the other hand, recognize both the 2006 title Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O’Neal won together, as well as the 2013 title Wade won with LeBron James and Chris Bosh.
When it comes to what the Cavaliers’ players will don, though, their uniforms subtly troll the Warriors.
The Cleveland Cavaliers continue trolling the Golden State Warriors with their City Edition uniforms
The Cavs’ jerseys pay homage to their 1970s teams with the swordsman logo from that era, but they also recognize their 1980s and 1990s playoff runs with the logo from those years also printed on the shorts.
That’s not all that they honor, though.
In addition to having Cleveland’s logo from the 2016 season on the other side of the shorts, the jerseys have seven circles on the bottom of them, with three of the first four colored white and the other four yellow. The circles symbolize the Cavs’ epic comeback in the 2016 NBA Finals when they trailed the 73-win Warriors 3-1 in the series. They then became the first team in league history to come back from that large of a series deficit in the Finals, as they won in seven games to clinch the championship.
Some may view the circles as the team’s way of honoring that title run. But given the rivalry and the significant trolling fans (and the team) sent Golden State’s way after that series, the jerseys do a lot more than just recognize the past.
Looking back at the Cavs’ 3-1 NBA Finals comeback against the Warriors (and the trolling that followed it)
There were a plethora of storylines around the 2016 NBA Finals. The Warriors had just beaten the Cavs in the series the season before, but Cleveland didn’t have Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving that year due to injuries. Golden State also won a record 73 games in 2016, and Stephen Curry won the league’s MVP award.
So, when Curry and company took a 3-1 lead on the Cavs in the Finals that year, everyone thought the series was over.
But LeBron James made sure that wasn’t the case.
James and Irving scored 41 points apiece in Game 5 to keep the series alive, as the Cavs won 112-97. And in Game 6, The King scored 41 again in a 115-101 win to force a winner-take-all Game 7.
In that final contest, LeBron had a triple-double with 27 points, 11 assists, and 11 rebounds to go with a clutch block, while Irving had 26 points and the game-winning shot to help the Cavs win 93-89 and clinch the franchise’s first-ever title.
Cleveland fans were, obviously, pretty ecstatic about the win, but they were also excited to beat what was supposed to be the greatest team of all time in the Warriors. Fans quickly made shirts that said, “The Warriors blew a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals,” and Twitter didn’t let it go for quite some time.
Even James and his teammates joined in on the trolling. LeBron threw a Halloween party that year, and he not only had cookies shaped like tombstones with Curry and Klay Thompson’s names on them but there was also a drum kit that had “3-1 lead” printed on it, per The Washington Post.
At this point, the Cavs-Warriors rivalry is ancient history. But Cavs fans will never forget the 3-1 comeback, and it seems the team won’t either. At least not this year, as the Cavaliers will continue trolling the Warriors with their City Edition uniforms.