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The Daily Dirt, June 20: When will Atlanta have another championship moment?

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2004 MLS Cup Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Cleveland finally won a major sports title last night, with the Cavaliers coming back from a 3-1 deficit to win the NBA Finals over the Golden State Warriors. It had been 52 years since the city’s last title, a NFL Championship win by the Browns in the pre-Super Bowl era.

Love him or hate him, LeBron James almost single-handedly won the title for Cleveland. Last night’s game got me thinking about this in a couple of different ways.

One, when will Atlanta win another title? The Braves won the World Series in 1995 and I’ll always remember being downtown for the parade to celebrate it. My friends and I actually drove from Stockbridge to the old Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium after the final out. We watched the players leave the ballpark and cheered for them as they pulled out of the parking lot. Since we were underage, we then went to the Fellini’s in Buckhead to watch some of the craziness on the streets.

It’s been nothing but disappointment since then. The Braves had many more trips to the postseason, but lost in their next two World Series appearances. The Falcons made a Super Bowl in the 1998 season, pretty much out of nowhere, but ran into the Denver Broncos and John Elway in his final game. We won’t even talk about Eugene Robinson. Once Arthur Blank bought the team, there has been a much more consistent run of good form and some deep playoff runs, but no Super Bowl appearance or title.

The Hawks have become important again recently, really for the first time since the days of Dominique Wilkins. Last year’s run to the Eastern Conference Finals was thwarted by Cleveland, and the Cavs eliminated Atlanta again this year in the 2nd Round.

Besides the lack of championships, the other thing last night highlighted was the lack of a transcendent superstar for this city. Michael Vick was probably the last one we had, and we all know how that turned out. Even before him, there haven’t been too many mega-watt superstars calling Atlanta home. Dominique was probably the last one who truly represented the city nationwide. Deion Sanders did for a bit, but then he left. The Braves have had tons of great, Hall of Fame players but never that truly pre-eminent superstar of the sport.

This is the environment that Atlanta United is coming into. This city is hungry for a championship and thirsty for superstars to rally around. With the promises of competing from Day 1 and the rumors swirling around a player like Andres Guardado, it seems like the club is trying to step up to the challenge it faces.

With the Braves and Falcons in different stages of rebuilding, and the Hawks trying to get to the next level, United might be the best chance for the city to win a championship.

Until then, I’ll just have to imagine Guardado leading a parade, carrying the Philip F. Anschutz Trophy down Peachtree...


Bleed American

Tata Martino warns his Argentine squad to be “very careful” of the USMNT. (Stars and Stripes FC)

Very cool behind the scenes story of making Michael Bradley’s rainbow captain’s armband. (US Soccer)

US Soccer’s appeals of the suspensions for Jermaine Jones and Bobby Wood are denied, both will miss the semifinal match with Argentina. (Stars and Stripes FC)

FC Dallas fans are not happy with some of the referee’s decisions in their 2-0 loss in Kansas City Sunday afternoon. (Big D Soccer)

The Red Bulls won 2-0 at home over Seattle Sunday night. Mike Grella had both goals. (Once a Metro)

Lawrenceville native Walker Zimmerman has his eyes on a USMNT call-up. (MLS)


Top of the World

Albania scored their first goal at a major tournament, notched their first win, and now await the possibility of advancing as one of the best third place teams. (SB Nation)

The France-Switzerland match had more ripped shirts than goals. The 0-0 draw puts both teams through to the Round of 16. (SB Nation)

Paul Pogba’s agent admits that negotiations are currently ongoing with Real Madrid. (Managing Madrid)


Georgia

The offseason rumor mill is heating up around the Atlanta Hawks with a trade of one of their point guards looking likely. (Peachtree Hoops)

Julio Teheran threw a complete game, one-hit shutout as the Braves won their fifth straight. (Talking Chop)

Falcons WR Justin Hardy had an interesting training technique as a kid. (The Falcoholic)