Get 1 Year of Cigar Aficionado for Just $24.95 + A Free Gift!


LeBron James Breaks Out Victory Cigar After NBA Championship Win

Jun 22, 2016 | By Ken Shouler
LeBron James Breaks Out Victory Cigar After NBA Championship Win
Photo: Cary Edmondson/USA Today Sports/Reuters
LeBron James leaves the media press conference after winning the 2016 NBA Championship.

Victory cigars are a constant in basketball history. There was coach Red Auerbach, who strode the sidelines at Boston Garden and orchestrated nine Celtic titles in 10 years between 1957 and 1966. As games drew to a close, Auerbach lit his Hoyo de Monterrey, a ritual which signaled that the competition was cooked. Then Michael Jordan enjoyed his first cigar as a 28-year-old, waiting seven long years to light up a Hoyo de Monterrey Double Corona in celebration of the Bulls' first championship in 1991.

So when LeBron James smoked a Yaxel Ortiz Y.O. Torpedo on Sunday, it topped off a grand victory. Wearing his NBA Championship t-shirt, James walked into the press conference, a net around his neck, the cigar in his mouth and a bottle of rosé Champagne in his hands. His Cleveland Cavaliers were the first team in the 70-year history of the NBA to rebound from a three-games to one deficit to win an NBA title.

"I'm ready to go back to Cleveland," James said. Getting settled at the press table, he fidgeted, first taking the cigar from his mouth, then placing it on the table, then putting it back in his mouth and quickly removed it again. As James told a reporter about the tears and the emotions flooding through his mind as the game ended, his year-old daughter Zhuri grabbed for his cigar and he moved it away. "You can't have that mama," James said, with reporters laughing. "That's for daddy."

James' cigar smoking traces back to his time in South Beach. In 2011, James' first year with the Heat, Miami lost to Dallas in the finals. Owner Mark Cuban smoked cigars on the plane ride home with the championship trophy in the seat next to him. But 2012 and 2013 were Miami's title years and James sampled many brands. Teammates Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh smoked, with Bosh smoking Camachos.

"As a kid from North East Ohio and a big cigar smoker I was curious as to what cigar Lebron was smoking. Thank you for letting us know. I never heard of these but now I have to have them. I lit up a Drew Estate Undercrown on the streets of Cleveland right after the game and brought some for my friends" —July 4, 2016 08:41 AM
"Man, LeBron earned that cigar and I'm happy for him and Cleveland. Great to see he enjoyed the moment the same way I would, meaning the moment when I've worked hard and maybe fixed a tough problem at the office... not meaning of course the lead-my-team-to-NBA-championship, secured-all-time-legend-status, received-key-to-the-city, etc., kind of moment... but still, nice!" —July 3, 2016 22:45 PM
"I enjoy the Yaxel Ortiz very much! It's a very good cigar." —June 30, 2016 12:06 PM
"Gentlemen read, consume, and appreciate the camaraderie this magazine and website pull together for the greater cigar smoking community. What's great about this prism are the great reviews, awesome stories, and the much needed escape of uncovering new boundaries and the zeal to live as the late George Burns (or Auerbach) did till the very day he died; enjoying a great smoke and remembering what you did to deserve it! Gentlemen, enjoy your 4th of July!" —June 29, 2016 19:48 PM
"Lebron smoke Atabey Cigars mostly. We smoke when he's in DC at TG Cigars, he bring his own sticks. " —June 28, 2016 18:44 PM
"@ David Savona....awesome comment... " —June 28, 2016 18:10 PM
"Just a great story. Makes me want to smoke the cigars you mentioned. I'll just have to settle for a My Father or a Flathead...Thanks Ken!" —June 27, 2016 18:38 PM
"Out of curiosity, I Googled the Yo Cigar by Yaxel Ortiz and was directed to You Tube. Three people in the video are raving about it. I want to give it a try. I hadn't had a Hoyo de Monterrey until Red Auerbach recommended them 22 years ago. I ended up liking it very much, and it probably still rates in my top five. " —June 25, 2016 23:07 PM
"Let's keep the conversation civil please. Just as I would hope you wouldn't berate a fellow cigar smoker in your local cigar bar or lounge about his or her choice of brand, let's show the same dignity on this website. Let's celebrate the fact that one of the world's most famous athletes chose to celebrate victory with a handmade cigar. " —June 24, 2016 09:50 AM
"LMAO....oh Paul. What do you know about class. And what does class have to do with smoking a cigar of your choice? Foolish statement." —June 24, 2016 08:27 AM
"No class Paul? He chose a blend sold by a local B&M instead of some corporate cigar. Probably sold them out of cigars overnight. That's class, helping those around you. " —June 23, 2016 18:49 PM
"Yaxel Ortiz? Lol. No Class." —June 23, 2016 16:32 PM

More in Celebrities

See all
The Uncut Video With Michael Jordan: Two Million Views And Counting

The Uncut Video With Michael Jordan: Two Million Views And Counting

The complete, one-hour video has received more than two million views on the Cigar Aficionado YouTube …

May 10, 2021
My Favorite Cigar

My Favorite Cigar

We are proud to introduce a new feature in Cigar Aficionado. It poses a question cigar lovers ask …

Mar 12, 2021
A Conversation With The Rock

A Conversation With The Rock

Cigar Aficionado editor and publisher Marvin R. Shanken has an exclusive one-on-one interview with …

Feb 9, 2021
Watch Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s Exclusive Interview with Marvin R. Shanken

Watch Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s Exclusive Interview with Marvin R. Shanken

Take a sneak peek at the exclusive one-on-one interview with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Marvin R. …

Jan 20, 2021
The Athlete: Ed Reed

The Athlete: Ed Reed

As a standout safety he won a National Championship with the University of Miami and a Super Bowl …

Dec 15, 2020
Remembering Sean Connery

Remembering Sean Connery

Sean Connery was 32 years old when Dr. No, his first film as James Bond, transformed him from an …

Nov 2, 2020