Jilted Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, bemoaning the loss of free agent LeBron James, turned philanthropic in the wake of the news that so disappointed him. He gave us all something we could deposit in our bank accounts.
“I personally guarantee that the Cleveland Cavaliers will win an NBA championship before the self-titled former ‘King’ wins one,” Gilbert wrote in a letter to Cavs fans. “You can take it to the bank.”
I took him at his word. Decades ago, when Cleveland selected Notre Dame guard Austin Carr with the No. 1 pick in the draft, I became a Cavs fan since I was convinced Carr was going to be the next Earl “The Pearl” Monroe and nobody was cooler than The Pearl. I figured the guarantee applied to me and I took Gilbert’s quote to the bank.
First I stopped by University National Bank, but president Todd Sutherland was in a closed-door meeting, so I moved on down the road and had a sit-down with Lawrence Bank president Les Dreiling. I handed him the quote and he read it for what wasn’t the first time. Dreiling thought about it and determined the guarantee was not worthless.
“I can give you a free pen for it,” he said.
Never let it be said Gilbert’s guarantee had no value. I have a free Lawrence Bank pen as proof of otherwise.
As for everything else that’s come out of Gilbert’s mouth since James decided to learn how to win from a player who has the benefit of a Marquette education that LeBron lacks, it has revealed the Cavs’ owner as the most spoiled brat in sports.
Shockingly, Gilbert told the Associated Press that James quit in Games 2, 4, 5 and 6 against the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference finals. This obviously begs the question: Why would Gilbert try so hard to retain a quitter and pitch such a rich-boy fit when James decided to play with his pal Dwyane Wade?
It’s refreshing that James, Wade and Chris Bosh all wanted to become teammates and actually pulled it off. To steal a line from the Taco Bell Chihuahua, “How cool is this?”
The question of whether the players’ attempt to build a championship team will work remains a difficult-to-answer question. Basketball is such a chemistry sport, with each player’s movements so greatly impacting those of the other four players on the floor. If James and Wade are both 10 talents on a scale of 1 to 10, that doesn’t necessarily mean that 10+10=20. It doesn’t work that way in basketball. Both players need the basketball in their hands a great deal to maximize their influence.
The superstar tends to get the final shot in close NBA games, which isn’t always conducive to winning the game. Defenses will collapse on both James and Wade when they have the ball with games hanging in the balance. The smart move in such situations? Feed the ball to Mario Chalmers and let him show he hasn’t lost his clutch touch. It doesn’t seem to work that way though.
The NBA became a great deal more interesting when James hooked up with Wade and Bosh and you have to love the stars for wanting to share a stage. Now let’s see how they share the ball. Here’s hoping the Heat wins it all in 2011, unless that means I have to return my pen.