Every year the NBA releases a film commemorating that season’s champion and the campaign they just went through. I have written about these in the past and, for the most part, I enjoy them very much. The 2016 version obviously honored the Cleveland Cavaliers and their historic title. With the 2016-17 season right upon us, I decided to watch the film and get down some thoughts.
The film opens with scenes from Game 4 of the Finals, when the Golden State Warriors took their now infamous 3-1 lead over the Cavs. It then goes back to the beginning of the season and begins to chronicle Cleveland’s journey. Ahmad Rashad is the narrator and as usual, plenty of clips from interviews as well as sound bites from radio or TV play-by-play are spliced in to add context.
The more modern versions of these films end up spending nearly half of the running time (around 30 of the 56 minutes, in this case) on the Finals alone. Normally that bothers me, as I would prefer there to be more balance and focus on the journey to the Finals as opposed to it just being a film of the Finals. However, in the case of this Cavs team, it kind of made sense. Yes, they made a coaching change midway through the season and LeBron James put out some interesting things on social media, but their season and playoff run was relatively nondescript. Obviously, what people will remember are those last three games of the Finals, so no problem with the heavy focus on those games.
To me, the ideal running time for these films is about 70-75 minutes. This one definitely feels, and is, short. There was room for more, to be sure. The special features also usually have some great stuff on them. One of the Spurs editions (2003) has the 4th quarters from all four of their series clinching games on it, which is really cool. This one is a little lacking, with a couple of top 10’s, a piece on Game 7 and an extended clip from the Cavs episode of “The Association”.
I would probably score this film on the lower end if I were to rank all of them, but it still is a must have for Cavs fans, as it is a perfect way to relive the greatest moments in the franchise’s history.