Dear Mr. Gilbert,
I would like to start out this letter by sending my condolences to you and the Cavs for your loss. It goes without saying that Lebron James was the greatest athlete to play in Ohio since Jim Brown.
However, I have a bone to pick with you.
I don't mean to kick you and your team while you're down, but the blame for the loss of the King rests solely with you and your management staff.
Now, you may say, "How dare you! We have every right to be angry, and write letters which rip our former superstar for abandoning our poor city."
Well I say you don't.
Lebron James came into the NBA as a highly-touted high school phenom. He was a rare blend of adult size, speed, and basketball ability that was unheard of. The Cavs got really lucky that certain pieces fell into place for you to acquire such a great player back in 2003, and in return here is what he gave you and the City of Cleveland:
- Five playoff appearances, including one NBA Finals appearance
- A two-time MVP Award Winner
- The best regular season record in the NBA for the 2009-2010 season
- A six-time NBA All-Star
And the list goes on. But most importantly, he put Cleveland basketball back on the map, along with endless additional income brought into the city for surrounding businesses.
With all of these accomplishments, and all that he’s done for the city these past seven years, what did you give him?
- A C-level supporting cast that would ride the bench on most teams.
- Aging players like Shaq, who can barely play a full game anymore.
- A city that, in Joakim Noah's words, “is awful to live in” and has no life.
- A mediocre head coach in Mike Brown that doesn’t know how to pull a team together when the game is on the line.
It seems as though he gave your organization a lot more than you were willing to give him.
You knew this day was coming, and you did nothing to stop it, so to post your sad little letter about how the “self-proclaimed King” is an ego-maniac is a bit much considering that you guys catered to his every whim (other than surrounding him with talent) from day one. Why are you now so mad that the “media monster” you’ve created is now aware of his value and has decided to go to greener pastures?
He's 25 years old and has about 10 years left in his career, six of which you wanted him to spend with Cleveland so you could waste the remainder of his prime playing potential. If anything, he taught you a valuable lesson about learning to appreciate what you have and fighting like hell to keep it.
You had seven years with the King and couldn’t get it done. All he wanted was support. All he needed was the right cast in place, and you couldn’t give it to him. Now you want to go on interviews and rip on the man who injected life back into your all-but-dead franchise?
That's the equivalent of when Brad Pitt dumped Jennifer Aniston for the much better and much hotter Angelina Jolie. It's a step up for the better, and you shouldn't really be shocked at this.
Shame on you, Dan Gilbert. You are the owner of an NBA team, and a grown man.
Start acting like it.
P.S.—I didn't forget about you Cleveland fans! Burning the jersey of the best basketball player to have ever graced the Cavs is just plain wrong and you know it. This man gave his heart and body to Cleveland for over seven years, and this is how you repay him?
You need to honor what you had and move on gracefully.