Last night, the Cleveland Cavaliers made history.
The Cavaliers came back from a 3-1 game deficit, to win three games in a row and beat the Golden State Warriors. Further, the Cavaliers brought a championship to Cleveland after a 52-year drought.
While much credit goes to superstars on the court Lebron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, they all give thanks to their coach, Tyronn Lue, whom many called accidental, for giving them the edge they needed to bring home a title. Full of emotion, the Cavaliers Coach was in tears after the final horn blew. From Mexico, Missouri to playing standout basketball at the University of Nebraska, Coach Lue has come a long way.
Here are 7 things to know about the veteran player turned championship-winning coach:
1. This is Not His First NBA Championship
In his 18-year history with the NBA, Lue has played in and coached several playoff games. Lue was drafted into the NBA in 1998 by the Denver Nuggets, before being immediately traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. He won a championship with the Lakers in 2001 and continued playing on 6 more teams before retiring in 2009.
2. He Went from Assistant Coach to Head Coach in Less than Two Years
The Cavaliers hired Lue as an assistant coach in June 2014. In January of 2016, head coach David Blatt was fired after the worst loss of the season, and the Cavaliers promoted Lue to head coach. Before he came to the Cavaliers, he was an Assistant Coach with Doc Rivers for 5 years with both the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Clippers.
3. He is Only the Sixth Black Coach to Win an NBA Title
This championship title makes Lue the sixth black coach to win a title in the history of the NBA. He follows in the footsteps of Bill Russell, K.C. Jones, Alvin (Al) Attles, Leonard (Lenny) Wilkens, and Glenn Anton "Doc" Rivers. There are 30 coaches who have earned titles since the NBA was established in the 1949-1950 season.
4. He is the Youngest Non-Interim Head Coach in the NBA
After becoming head coach at 38-years-old, Lue became the youngest current coach to lead an NBA franchise. He retired from the NBA in 2009 and became director of basketball development with the Celtics.
5. He Signed One of the Largest NBA Assistant Coaching Contracts
When Lue became assistant coach under former head coach David Blatt, he signed a contract worth $6.5 million over four years. Cleveland received a great return on their investment.
6. He and Lebron Have a Tight Bond
After he and Kyrie Irving's stellar 40-plus point game performances in game 6 of the 2016 NBA Finals, Lebron James said he and Coach Lue’s bond is like a marriage and goes well beyond basketball.
At the post-game presser, James explained, “Our upbringing; being from a single-parent household, being from an inner-city community, being a statistic that you weren’t supposed to make it out and there’s no way they’re going to make it out. You’re going to be one of those African-American kids and we both made it out of tough situations growing up. So before we even met each other, you have that sense of that type of feeling.”
7. He Reps His Hometown to the Fullest
Though many people may not have heard of Mexico, Missouri before Lue shouted it out last night, Lou takes great pride in his home town. He said during his press conference, "I'm just so proud, man, of where I've come from. It's just crazy that a guy from a small town, Mexico, Missouri, there were more people in the stands tonight, double than there is in my hometown."