Nick Gilbert and Machine Gun Kelly Provide Cavs with Good Luck at NBA Lottery

Tyler ConwayFeatured ColumnistMay 21, 2013

Via @Jim_Ice Instagram
Via @Jim_Ice Instagram

What do you get when you cross bow ties, the 16-year-old son of an NBA owner and a Billboard-charting rapper?

Apparently the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft, that's what. The Cleveland Cavaliers won the 2013 NBA draft lottery on Tuesday night, but people walked away buzzing more about who was representing the team than they did about whether Nerlens Noel was headed to the Greater Ohio Area.

In the proverbial hot seat was Nick Gilbert, son of Cavs owner Dan Gilbert. And in the audience with Dan and others was rapper Machine Gun Kelly. Yes, Machine Gun Kelly was on hand representing the Cleveland Cavaliers franchise. 

We'll get to him. But first, Nick. 

The relationship with NBA fans and Nick dates back to the 2011 NBA draft lottery. Swagged out again in his bow tie, the youngster was the Cavs' human embodiment of a rabbit's foot. They went on to win that lottery and draft Kyrie Irving, an All-Star who took up the face-of-the-franchise moniker after LeBron James left for Miami.

As one would expect, most everyone on Twitter went bonkers at Nick's innate luck. A snapshot:

Machine Gun Kelly, better known as MGK for those not into the hippity-hop culture, is a Cleveland-based rapper best known for his single "Wild Boy." If you went to college any time in the years of 2011 or 2012—which I did—you at one point screamed out the song's derogatory chorus and thought you, indeed, were a wild boy. 

This wild boy is best known for falling asleep at 9:30 p.m. on St. Patrick's Day.

But I digress. 

MGK has a special relationship with the Cavs franchise thanks to his 2010 hometown anthem "Cleveland," which as you can expect is a hit in a certain area of the country. No, not Poughkeepsie, Cleveland, silly. The song from his 2010 mixtape Lace Up—not to be confused with his debut album of the same name—is on heavy rotation at Quicken Loans Arena, as is his song "Invincible." 

We won't link the song here because, like...for the kids, man. But if you know how to use the Google machine, you can find it. Along with "Wild Boy," which I expect all of you to report back here knowing the chorus by draft day. 

Apparently, somewhere along the way, MGK and little Gilbert linked up and became fast pals. Nick sent out a tweet before the lottery with him and MGK getting ready, teasing Cavs fans by asking what they were missing: 

The answer, of course, was bow ties. Not just ties. Bruce Bowen bow ties.

The snazzy look usually reserved for the annoying hipster in your family—everyone has one, unless you don't, in which case...well, never mind, you can find out on your own—has become a beloved staple of lottery day in Cleveland. 

The bow ties date back to the 2011 NBA draft lottery, the first time Cleveland harnessed Nick's luck. They are a nod to neurofibromatosis, a genetic nervous system disorder that causes tumors to grow on nerves. Nick Gilbert has suffered from the disease since childhood and has undergone brain surgery and four rounds of chemotherapy due to the condition. (For more information on neurofibromatosis, go to

With any luck, this will be the last time for a while Nick will have to be breaking out his bow tie in mid-May. The Cavs, with Irving, Tristan Thompson, Dion Waiters and whoever goes No. 1, have a burgeoning young core that could contend for a playoff spot.

Who knows, with any luck, LeBron James could consider coming back to Cleveland in 2014. Maybe then Nick and MGK will get to be bow-tie-wearing wild boys at another type of NBA celebration.


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