Following a parade choked to a crawl by a massive crowd, after proclamations, speeches, and fanfare, Cleveland watched a symbolic passing of the trophy—and the torch. When Browns Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown handed the Larry O'Brien Trophy to Cavaliers superstar LeBron James, the city's long wait was officially over. After 52 long years, this was a title town again. Cheered for hours by a sea of adoring fans who first engulfed the downtown streets and then the Cavs, James and the newly crowned NBA champions were honored Wednesday with a parade and a once-in-a-generation party, the AP reports. "I'm nothing without this city. I'm nothing with you all," James told the gathered fans.
The city's first championship parade since the Indians won the World Series in 1948 will long be remembered for a crowd that halted the procession, forcing police to use bicycles and a horseback unit to create enough space for cars, bands, and floats to pass. The swarm spilled off the sidewalks, people packed so tightly that fans could reach into the vehicles and high-five their heroes. Cleveland police did not have an immediate estimate on the crowd's size, but the team and officials at the rally said more than 1 million people attended. Regardless, fans packed in 50 deep in spots along the 2-mile parade route, and snarled traffic badly enough to delay some outgoing flights at Cleveland's airport because crews couldn't make it to their planes. "It still hasn't hit me that this has happened," James said. "It's so surreal."