David Blatt strolled in to the crowded media room within Cleveland Clinic Courts, led to the dais by Cavaliers general manager David Griffin. Festooned in a press conference-ready navy blue suit, the 55-year-old Blatt carried with him the Trojan Horse of all media maneuvers—a self-written yet typed out statement from which he would read as his opening remarks. His accent, a mix of east coast and Middle East, permeated into recording devices which surrounded him as words like “Cleveland” came out more like “Cleevlinn.” As cameras clicked around him and members of the Cavs ownership team stood off stage right, Blatt would stare down at the paper, looking up just enough to qualify as token eye contact. It was as if he were the valedictorian speaking at a local high school commencement.
Blatt’s remarks were endearing, if not an outright campaign for acceptance and support. He intertwined thank yous with key lines for those seeking filler quotes for their impending deadlines—”Make no mistake: I’ve won everywhere I’ve been…and I plan on doing the same here,” and “I’m not an offensive coach or a defensive coach—I’m a basketball coach” being two of the many that would undoubtedly litter recaps of the day’s events. But it wasn’t until the speech ended, until that piece of nine-by-eleven paper was flipped over to Blatt’s right, that the Cavs’ new head coach arrived, delivering more personality and panache than anyone could have foreseen—save for the few who traveled just to see the man who meant so much to them in a former life take the first step of what would serve to be his dream come true.