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Randy Hollis: Hollis column: It looks like Cleveland's championship curse will continue

New York City has long been called "The City That Never Sleeps."

And for the past 50-plus years, Cleveland could very well be called "The City That Always Weeps."

Not since 1964, when star running back Jim Brown led the Cleveland Browns to the National Football League championship, has that Midwestern city been able to say it's the home of a major professional sports champion.

And now, with LeBron James and the Cavaliers just one loss away from succumbing to the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals for a second straight year, it looks like the "Cleveland Curse" is about to continue.

Between the Browns, Cav and Indians, Cleveland's three main professional sports teams have a combined championship drought of 164 years.

It's kinda sad, really, when you think about it.

Jazz fans can certainly relate to the frustration of not being able to win an NBA championship since the franchise moved here in 1979. Sure, that's 37 seasons without a title.

But it could be worse.

Just imagine what it might be like to be waiting seemingly a lifetime for a title — 51 years (Browns), 67 years (Indians, who last won a World Series in 1948) or 45 years (Cavaliers, who were founded in 1970) — with no realistic end in sight.

It's sorta like the anguish that the Boston Red Sox (86 years) and Chicago White Sox (88 years) endured for decades in trying to end their lengthy World Series championship droughts.

However, those two Sox franchises finally broke through in 2004 and 2005, respectively, and the Red Sox have won two more (2007, 2013) since then.

And then there's that other Chicago baseball team, the "Lovable Losers" known as the Cubs, who haven't won a World Series since 1908 — 107 years and counting. This, though, could be their year. Then again, they've been saying that for a long, long time in the Windy City.

But when it comes to championship heartbreak, Cleveland has the market cornered.

The Browns, one of only four NFL teams to have never reached the Super Bowl, suffered devastating AFC title-game defeats to the Denver Broncos on "The Drive" (a game-tying 98-yard scoring march engineered by Denver QB John Elway) in 1987 and "The Fumble" (committed near the goal line by Cleveland running back Ernest Byner) the following year.

Then in the late-1980s, the city lost its NFL team altogether for three years when villified Browns owner Art Model relocated the franchise to Baltimore, where the renamed Ravens subsequently won a Super Bowl in just their fifth year of existence.

The Indians, who lost in the World Series in 1995, were one strike away from winning a World Series title in 1997. But closer Jose Mesa couldn't seal the deal and blew the save in the ninth inning of Game 7, and Cleveland wound up losing the game — and the Series — in extra innings to the upstart Florida Marlins.

Ten years later, the Indians squandered a 3-1 lead in the American League Championship Series against Boston, and the Red Sox went on to win the 2007 World Series.

In 1989, the Cavaliers dropped the decisive game of a playoff series to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls on what is simply remembered as "The Shot." Craig Ehlo had given Cleveland the lead with three seconds left, only to see Jordan sink an often-replayed celebratory dagger shot at the buzzer to send the Cavs, and the city of Cleveland, down to yet another demoralizing defeat.

The Cavs are making their third NBA Finals appearance since 2007 but, trailing the Warriors 3-1 with Game 5 (and Game 7, if necessary) to be played in Oakland, where Cleveland already dropped the first two games of the series, any hopes for a valiant Cavs comeback don't look good.

James' frustrations boiled over in the late stages of Friday's 108-97 loss to the Warriors in Game 4 at Cleveland. The Cavs' superstar, playing in his sixth consecutive NBA Finals, lost his cool and got into confrontations with Golden State stars Draymond Green and Stephen Curry.

It looked like LeBron got a little too physical and aggressive with both of them, his emotions getting the best of him as he sensed another championship run coming up empty. He and Green had to be separated, and Curry gave him a "Come on, what's wrong with you?" look in game's closing minute.

In the postgame interview room, James accused Green of crossing over the line in talking trash to him, but the Cavs' star said his staredown and brief verbal exchange with Curry was nothing more than "competitive conversation."

This is a tough pill for James to swallow. He came back to Cleveland after four seasons in Miami — where he and the Heat won two NBA titles — because he was determined to bring a long-awaited championship to his home state. He grew up in nearby Akron, Ohio.

But he's become quite a bit more of a diva and a drama queen since his return to Cleveland, and cheering for him to win a championship — even if it's for a city that has been title-starved for so long — is difficult to do.

Should the Cavs lose in this year's Finals, as most everyone expects them to do, King James would fall to 2-5 in his seven championship series appearances.

Indeed, maybe LeBron's cursed, too, at least, as long as he's wearing the uniform of a team that calls Cleveland — "The City That Always Weeps" — its home.

EMAIL: rhollis@desnews.com