As a rookie head coach last season, Tyronn Lue led the Cleveland Cavaliers to their first NBA championship. The Missouri native loves his new hometown and he hopes to lead the Cavs this year to their second championship title. City Visitor recently asked Lue to “Take 5” to share his thoughts about basketball and life in The CLE.
Q: What do you like about living and working in Cleveland?
A: The fan support is number one. Even when we were going through tough times it was there. And now that we’ve won a championship, everywhere we go the fans are happy and thanking us for winning a championship. There’s a buzz and confidence in the air, and now with the Indians having gone to the World Series, it’s even greater.
Q: When people from other parts of the country and world ask what is there to see and do in Cleveland and Northeast Ohio, what do you say?
A: The Cavs, Browns, the Indians, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. And, now, they can see the Cavs championship banner at the Q (Quicken Loans Arena, home of the Cavs). Also, there’s our beautiful lake (Lake Erie). My home is near the lake, which is unbelievable. Before I moved here two years ago, I had no clue how beautiful Lake Erie is. The restaurants are great, too. Three of my favorites are XO Prime Steaks (downtown), Lago (at the Aloft Hotel on the East Bank of the Flats), and Dante (Tremont).
Q: Do you have a favorite fan-encounter story that you can share?
A: Yes. While in Las Vegas this summer, I was in a restaurant and this gentleman came up to me with his 10-year-old son. The man thanked me for bringing a championship to Cleveland and he went on to tell me that while his dad was alive, all he talked about was Cleveland sports teams. He said that though his dad passed away, he still wanted to say thank you for the championship. Then he started crying and he finished by saying he wished that his dad could be here to see this beautiful moment.
Q: If basketball didn’t exist, what might your occupation be?
A: Probably an NFL player. I played quarterback in high school (Raytown Senior High, Raytown, Mo.) and was pretty good. I was a poor man’s Michael Vick. (Vick played for the Atlanta Falcons, Philadelphia Eagles, New York Jets, and Pittsburgh Steelers; he’s currently an unsigned free agent.) Note: Lue stopped playing football his sophomore year of high school and went on to play basketball at the University of Nebraska, where head football coach Tom Osborne invited him to come out for the team as a defensive back. Lue respectfully declined.
Q: How are you feeling about Cavs’ chances to repeat in 2017?
A: Good, really good. Our team is in a great place right now, and if we keep our guys healthy during the season and the playoffs, we have a great chance to repeat.