On the night of “The Decision,” after LeBron James had torn out the heart of every person who has ever spent as little as eight minutes in Cleveland, Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert took to the Internet and let the world know exactly how he felt, Comic Sans and all. Whether you thought the letter was awesome or terrible, you have to admit that it was insane. After all, it’s not often that NBA owners blast their former players, especially with the punctuation of a 13-year-old. Eventually the letter was removed from the Cavs’ website — exactly the reason I printed a copy for my own safekeeping — and that could lead you to believe that Gilbert had realized that slamming a former employee might not be the best business tactic.
He still totally thinks it was a good move, as he told the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Bill Lubinger.
Q: In retrospect, any regrets about your public reaction to the James decision?
A: My letter was to the fans and supporters of Cleveland. People get a little confused because they think it was a general statement to the world or even to LeBron or to whoever. It really was to the fans and supporters of Cleveland, and I wanted to make sure they knew where I stood and where the franchise stood and how we felt, which apparently was pretty similar to the way they were feeling. No, we don’t have any regrets. We’re looking forward to the future and we’re focused on the future and all that other stuff, but I don’t really think about it in that way.
Oh, I get it. He meant to post this on the Cleveland Wide Web, not the World Wide Web. (Hey, 1994.) Simple misunderstanding. Next time, it won’t go to anyone who doesn’t support Cleveland. I am assuming there will be a next time.
I’m kind of “Up in the Air” starring George Clooney about this. On one hand, seeing their team’s owner furious about the same thing that they were furious about is probably just what Cleveland fans needed on the night LeBron left the Cavaliers. They were justifiably mad, and knowing that they weren’t alone was probably good for morale. It was a weird way of showing that support, but it was definitely support.
On the other hand, this was a nonsensical letter written in a child’s font that will surely make the already-very-hard task of convincing free agents to play in Cleveland even harder. It probably felt good at the time, but in the long run calling the franchise’s best player ever a coward will hurt the team. Not to mention, Gilbert promised a title before the Heat win one, which isn’t very likely. J.J. Hickson is not transforming the way we think about basketball, you know?
But, I guess, sometimes you just have to tell the world how mad you are. And sometimes you have to do that on the Internet, just because. If it’s done in Comic Sans, even better.