Those who witnessed the Cleveland Cavaliers claim the 2016 NBA championship Sunday night may have also observed a striking Nike video released via Twitter immediately following the historic victory. Profound close-up images of the faces of devoted Cavalier fans portrayed the gamut of emotions one experiences when watching a beloved sports team attempt to win the ultimate prize.
One of these faces belongs to Kollyn Crenshaw, the grandson of Fulton and Bertha Terry, two pillars of the Washington C.H. community. He is also the son of proud mother, Karla Terry-Crumbly. Later this year, Kollyn will be a junior at the University of Mount Union in Alliance, Ohio, where he is a member of the 2015 Division III national championship football team. He is also on the dean’s list at the school.
Kollyn, 20, and his friend can be seen at the very beginning of Nike’s #AlwaysBelieve ad and a clearer shot of him can be seen at the 31-second mark (the video can be viewed at www.recordherald.com). His journey to becoming a part of a video commemorating the Cavs winning their first championship began last year.
“My good friend’s sister is into acting and modeling, and she does commercials,” said Kollyn. “One day she asked me and a group of my friends if we wanted to audition for a Cleveland Cavaliers commercial. We are all big Cleveland fans, so of course we said yes to that. We met in Cleveland for the shoot last year right before the NBA Finals.”
The commercial was filmed in anticipation of the Cavaliers winning the 2015 NBA title, but ultimately the team came up short against the same Golden State Warriors team they defeated a year later.
“I wasn’t sure if it was going to air,” Kollyn said. “We thought it was going to air if the Cavs had won last year, but that didn’t happen. I hadn’t heard from anybody since that time.”
However on Sunday night while celebrating the city of Cleveland’s first championship since 1964, Kollyn discovered that the video was revived. “I actually ran into my friend I was in the commercial with in Cleveland and he said, ‘Did you see that the commercial aired?’ I was just like, ‘What?” It was really cool.”
Kollyn heard the news while reveling in the Cavaliers’ victory with the rest of the exuberant city of Cleveland. He described the scene as nothing short of unbridled joy.
“The atmosphere was crazy from the moment we got there to the moment we left,” he said. “Cleveland really deserved a championship. After they won, everyone was just high-fiving everyone else as if everybody had known each other for awhile. It was kind of like the whole city just broke out of jail, we ended the drought and finally won a championship.”
When Kollyn arrived back in Alliance from Cleveland, he noticed he had an unusual amount of notifications on his phone from family and friends who had seen the video. At that point, he finally got to see the ad for himself.
“I was very happy with it,” he said. “I was really curious to see how it was because I didn’t get a chance to see anything in Cleveland. It was very cool.”
Kollyn’s grandfather, Fulton Terry, who also cheered on the Cavaliers throughout the playoffs in front of his television in Washington C.H., said he also had a chance to watch the video. Although he said it was a neat experience, Terry was more interested in talking about how proud he is of Kollyn and the rest of his grandchildren.
“It’s very important to set an example and serve as a role model for your children and your grandchildren,” Terry said. “That is what my wife and I have always tried to do. We always tried to teach them to have respect for others.”
Fulton and Bertha raised five children of their own and five foster children as well, and now have 12 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
Kollyn, the youngest of three children, recalls many weekends spent in Washington C.H with his grandparents. “I grew up in Columbus and then we moved to Cleveland,” he said. “But I have a lot of fond memories in Washington Court House. I learned a lot from my grandparents as far as God, faith and family-related stuff. They’re both great people and they put God first in everything that they do. I’ve never met two more caring people in my life.”
He also thanked his mother for teaching him to respect others and treating everyone in the same manner he would want to be treated. “We’re a tight-knit family,” he said.
Kollyn’s oldest sister, Kandais, just graduated from Anderson University in May with a bachelor of science. She has landed her first teaching position in Connersville, Ind. She is engaged and will get married in Cleveland in October.
The middle son, Khoury, attends the University of Michigan and has a full ride in track.
Kollyn will now turn his focus back to the Mount Union football team and the upcoming season. “I played special teams last year, but I think this will be the year to showcase my talents and do my thing,” he said. “I will be playing cornerback or safety. Last year was a very good experience for me. It’s going to be a lot of work this year, but we definitely have the talent here to try and repeat. I’m looking forward to it.”
Reach Ryan Carter at 740-313-0352 or on Twitter @rywica