Nick Gilbert: 6 Fun Facts About Cleveland Cavaliers' Lucky Charm
When you're an NBA franchise and your fate is tied to the bounce of ping pong balls—as will be the case for 12 of the league's teams at the 2012 NBA Draft Lottery on Wednesday night—all you can do is cross your fingers and hope for the best.
Or, better yet, find yourself a good luck charm, as the Cleveland Cavaliers have.
Not a rabbit's foot. Not a rally hat or a stinky pair of socks.
But a human being, and not just any human being. Nick Gilbert, the 15-year-old son of Cavs owner Dan Gilbert, is Cleveland's lucky charm.
He'll be on hand at Disney/ABC's Time Square Studios in New York to represent Cleveland on lottery night, just as he did last year at the NBA Entertainment studios in Secaucus, New Jersey, where the Cavs wound up with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft.
But before Nick takes the stage again, let's take a moment to learn a few things about the unassuming kid who just might be the savior of the post-LeBron Cavs.
Nick won't be wearing a bowtie on Wednesday night just for fun and games or to feign interest in a Nets-like move to the hipster haven of Brooklyn.
Rather, Nick's neckwear will be used as a means of raising awareness for neurofibromatosis, a genetic nerve disorder that he's battled his entire life.
Anyone keen to buy a Gilbert-approved bowtie, donate directly to the Children's Tumor Foundation and Cleveland Clinic Children's Hospital for Rehabilitation. Anyone can find out more about the Cavs' drive for another No. 1 pick at www.2012PickNick.com.
Nick's swanky bowtie and signature catchphrase (What's not to like?) both serve as the silver lining to the cloud of neurofibromatosis through which he's fought so bravely his entire life.
After all, what's not to like about a happy-go-lucky teenager who's managed to stay positive through losing vision in one of his eyes, undergoing brain surgery and enduring multiple rounds of chemotherapy, on top of the endless string of doctor's appointments and visits to the hospital?
It's that outlook that's made Nick such an inspiration to everyone around him, including his dad Dan, who's long been among the most curmudgeonly owners in the NBA.
Nick might not even be the most famous member of Cleveland's lottery contingent though.
Joining Nick, his brother, his dad and two other Cavs officials will be NBA Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving, who was Cleveland's choice with the No. 1 overall pick last year. Cleveland Browns stars Joe Haden and Joshua Cribbs, Browns legend Bernie Kosar, and former Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Dhani Jones will also join Nick, and have partnered with the Gilbert family to raise money for the charity by selling bowties.
What's more—everyone traveling with the Gilberts will be wearing thick-rimmed glasses and bowties just like the kid on whom the franchise's hopes are once again being pinned.
If that weren't enough, the group accompanying Nick to the draft lottery will be largely the same as the one that joined him in New Jersey last May.
But that's just one of the ways in which Dan Gilbert's superstition for duplicating circumstances will play out. According to The Cleveland Plain-Dealer, the Gilberts, along with Cavs Vice Chairmen Jeff Cohen and Nate Forbes, planned to fly charter from Detroit to Cleveland, where they'd pick up Haden, Cribbs and Cavs senior vice president of communications Tad Carper.
From there, the plane is scheduled to take them all to New York City, where they'd reconvene with Kosar, Irving and his dad, Dred.
Thereafter, they are all expected to fly back to the Cadillac Ranch for a celebration.
Which is almost exactly what they did last year, except that this time around, the lottery itself will take place in New York rather than New Jersey.
In Dan Gilbert's world, superstition is the way, it would seem.
Interestingly enough, Nick's odds of representing the No. 1 overall pick this year will be slightly worse overall than they were last year, though much better in a way.
In 2011, the Cavs' own pick had a 19.9 percent chance of winding up atop the heap after the team finished the season with the second-worst record in the NBA.
But that pick ended up being the fourth overall.
The winner, instead, was the pick the Cavs swiped from the Los Angeles Clippers in a deadline deal that sent Baron Davis to Cleveland and Mo Williams to LA. That pick had only a 2.8 percent chance of garnering the most important ping pong ball.
This time around, the Cavs have a 13.8 percent chance of landing the right to pick (presumably) Kentucky's Anthony Davis.
They can only hope that less will be more, again.
The Twitter Account
Nick won't be bored while he's waiting up on that podium in Times Square.
Instead, he'll be sharing his thoughts with the world, 140 characters at time, with a Twitter account of his own. Be sure to keep up by following @CavsNick.