BOARDMAN, Ohio (WYTV) – Happy fans lined up to get their hands on Cleveland Cavaliers gear Monday morning, following a championship victory in the NBA Finals.
Long lines began forming early at Dick’s Sporting Goods in Boardman, where Cavs t-shirts, hats and flags were flying off the shelves. Customers could come to tables set up in the store, grab their gear and stand in line.
“It’s no holds barred today. We’re going in there and buying the whole family [Cavs gear]. We’re going to Florida, and we are gonna take a huge family picture in all Cavaliers clothes, so we’re excited,” Gina Viano said.
She celebrated the historic win with her daughter by waiting in line at the Boardman store.
“LeBron James did what he said he was going to do and he brought it home,” Viano said. “I mean, 52 years in the making and we won last night, we broke the curse. It’s broken and who knows now?”
Kyle Sheehan said he was doing some shopping for all of his friends.
“I got a whole list of people that have to work today. I’m a teacher, so I’m off for the summer, so I’m here shopping for everybody that has to work,” he said.
By Monday evening, the checkout line was still about 20 deep.
Sisters Natalie and Ashley Femia of Canfield spent part of their afternoon sifting through various Cavs merchandise.
“Well, the Cavs won the championship last night, so I was hoping to come and get a t-shirt too,” Ashley said.
Poland High graduate Stephanie Fray bought two hats; one for her boyfriend and one for her boyfriend’s grandfather.
“He wants them before they sell out. He said they only had 20 left,” she said. “I’m being a good girlfriend today.”
Youngstown’s Jeffrey Mitchell was hoping to get a t-shirt he saw Sunday night.
“I actually was looking for the one they were wearing, the gray one in the locker room.”
Jim Collins and his daughter Karina, of Poland, were up late watching Game 7 of the Finals.
“Very good turnout, so we wanted to get here and get a t-shirt, and a hat and everything else that we could,” he said.
Karina celebrated the Cavs’ win with her friends, lined along the backyard pool.
“When the Cavs won last night, all of our friends jumped into our pool with our clothes on, all of our Cavs stuff on,” she said. “The whole neighborhood came over and jumped in the pool.”
The Boardman store opened at 9 a.m. but stores in Cleveland let fans in much earlier. In Beechwood, the Dick’s at Legacy Village reopened at 6 a.m. after staying open until 2 a.m. Sunday.
Cleveland fans don’t mind waiting hours in line, though. They’ve waited 52 years for this proud moment.
“This is history, so Cleveland finally has a championship, so I’m just so excited and I wanted to get something so my kids could remember that too,” Paula Williams said.
“It was pretty magical. Really makes you feel proud and have a sense of unity,” Logan Blackwell said.
Many fans have never been able to call Cleveland a city of champions, including a sick, elderly woman.
Deborah Johnson was buying a shirt for her mother-in-law, a huge Cavs fan who has been given two weeks to live.
“We took her an ‘All In’ shirt and they did it for her, they brought it home, so she’s able to see this history go down.”
Johnson wasn’t the only one waiting to get a piece of history in Cleveland. Everyone in line was still ecstatic.
“I just think they’re in awe of what happened and I think this means a lot, especially beating a team that high of a caliber,” Brayden Cox said.
With a national championship finally back in Cleveland, fans hope the winning record will continue with the Indians and Browns.