If it’s any consolation to Cleveland Cavaliers fans, their team owner is just as angry as they are and not afraid to show it. In an open letter to Cavs fans, majority owner Dan Gilbert called out LeBron James for skipping town. Gilbert even went so far as to say that his actions are a “cowardly betrayal.” Here in the sports blogging business, we tend to write with our emotions pretty frequently. I’m not sure that’s ever something the majority owner of an NBA franchise should do.
However — writing in a font that is clearly attempting to prove to fans that he’s just an ordinary guy — Gilbert did exactly that. Mark Cuban has done some insane, over-the-top things in his time as Dallas Mavericks owner and I don’t recall any of it being this harsh. Gilbert is worse than the jersey burners. I encourage you to read the entire letter, but I’ve picked out some of the more intense parts. Let’s analyze them as we go, shall we?
As you now know, our former hero, who grew up in the very region that he deserted this evening, is no longer a Cleveland Cavalier.
This was announced with a several day, narcissistic, self-promotional build-up culminating with a national TV special of his “decision” unlike anything ever “witnessed” in the history of sports and probably the history of entertainment.
I wonder how “narcissistic” the way LeBron went about his business would have been if he announced he was staying in Cleveland. My guess is it wouldn’t have been. It would have been a heroic move. Gilbert and the rest of the Cavs front office would have been singing King James’ praises for raising money for the Boys and Girls Club. Sour grapes, anyone?
The good news is that the ownership team and the rest of the hard-working, loyal, and driven staff over here at your hometown Cavaliers have not betrayed you nor NEVER will betray you.
There is so much more to tell you about the events of the recent past and our more than exciting future. Over the next several days and weeks, we will be communicating much of that to you.
You simply don’t deserve this kind of cowardly betrayal.
“Cowardly betrayal” could be juuuuuust a bit harsh, wouldn’t you say? Yes, LeBron said he wanted to put Akron back on the map and failed to bring a championship to Cleveland. Does that make him a coward? I’m not so sure. If anything, part of me thinks it took a lot of guts for him to leave Cleveland and endure the most amount of backlash possible in search of a championship, but I’ll get into that at a later time. Oh, and about the ownership never betraying the fans; let’s check up on that one in a couple years. It gets even better:
In the meantime, I want to make one statement to you tonight:
“I PERSONALLY GUARANTEE THAT THE CLEVELAND CAVALIERS WILL WIN AN NBA CHAMPIONSHIP BEFORE THE SELF-TITLED FORMER ‘KING’ WINS ONE”
You can take it to the bank.
The self-declared former “King” will be taking the “curse” with him down south. And until he does “right” by Cleveland and Ohio, James (and the town where he plays) will unfortunately own this dreaded spell and bad karma.
My goodness. I think Gilbert would do well to get some rest and think about just how good the Heat are going to be before he starts writing checks he may not be able to cash. I guess he’s saying he guarantees the Cavs will win an NBA title next season. Unless the Lakers have something to say about it, no team is going to stop Miami. Cleveland fans will be crossing their fingers for the right ping pong ball come next post-season.
As for the “dreaded spell and bad karma” comment — need I go there? It’s nothing but a perfect way to sum up one of the most dramatic and unnecessary letters I’ve ever seen an owner write to fans. I’m not a Cavs fan and I can’t imagine how they feel after losing their savior, but I can only hope they feel a fraction of the embarrassment that myself and plenty of other members of the sporting world feel for Dan Gilbert after seeing this mess.
Open Letter to Fans from Cavaliers Majority Owner Dan Gilbert [NBA.com]