|Wright Thompson photo by Joe Faraoni, ESPN|
“I’m literally on the edge of civilization,” says the 39-year-old Thompson, who is covering the Euro Cup soccer tournament. “And my translator is a Golden State fan.”
Thompson’s superb 2010 ESPN Magazine piece “Believeland,” written after the departure of LeBron James, is considered by many the definitive take on Cleveland’s culture of sports failures. He came up with the headline after seeing a T-shirt with the slogan during an eight-day stay that took him from Nighttown in Cleveland Heights to the Venture Inn in Garfield Heights.
“I was pleased that it [story] played well in Cleveland, otherwise people would have known it was bullshit,” says Thompson, who talks about tonight’s game and the player he once called “a 6-8 steel mill.”
ON GAME 6 // The universe has just allowed this to happen. To win two games in a row against this team [Golden State] is virtually impossible. But I’ll say they’ll win tonight.
ON LEBRON // You can’t ask more from a modern American celebrity than what LeBron James has done. He has managed to be the thing that people wanted him to be. And, other than the Decision, he has done it with grace and dignity.
ON A CAVS’ CHAMPIONSHIP // It would end all this waiting, which has become its own thing. I’m a lifelong Saints fan, and I cried when they won the Super Bowl. For a thousand different reasons it should happen, and I’m really hoping it does.
ON CLEVELAND // I feel Cleveland is a lot like New Orleans – if you’re not from there you’ll never be from there. I always thought Dennis Kucinich was a nut until I spent a couple hours with him. The guy is brilliant. We drove through his old neighborhood talking about quantum physics. I dream about Slyman's sometimes. I love that jazz club [Nighttown], and the Lithuanian Club is the coolest place in the world.
By Barry Goodrich