Dan Gilbert vs. LeBron James and the Angriest Owners in Sports History
Hell hath no fury like a sports owner scorned. LeBron James learned that lesson the hard way when just hours after his announcement that he will join the Miami Heat, Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert dropped the bomb on LeBron.
The Cavaliers owner came down on his former superstar with a damning critique of LeBron's personality, drive, competitiveness, and even his manhood.
Gilbert frothed from the mouth in his letter to Cavaliers fans, which slammed LeBron and guaranteed a championship in Cleveland.
Gilbert's vitriol got us thinking about the other angriest owners in sports history. Gilbert is not the first nor the last owner to use his bully pulpit to damn players, coaches and the competition.
10. Mark Cuban - Dallas Mavericks
Mark Cuban has been a very player-friendly owner, but he has not muzzled his anger when it comes to NBA operational decisions and especially the quality of officiating in the league.
Cuban has been fined over $1.6 million for his public criticism and anger at the NBA.
9. Bud Adams - Tennessee Titans
Bud Adams is going 50 years as the owner of the Tennessee Oilers/Titans, but it wasn't until the late 1980s that Adams started getting angry.
Adams grew frustrated at the city of Houston's balking on a new stadium for the Oilers. That's when Adams began secretly shopping his team to numerous cities.
In 1993, he gutted his strong Oilers team that made deep runs into the playoffs, turning them from a contender into a laughingstock.
Adams made angry headlines again in November 2009 when he lurched to the edge of his suite and began flipping the double-bird at the Buffalo Bills. Adams was fined $250,000 for his outburst.
8. James Dolan - New York Knicks
Dolan can't be a happy camper this morning after his team lost out on the LeBron James sweepstakes, but his angry and unpredictable behavior goes further back than that.
Dolan turned firing coaches and general managers into a bodily function much like George Steinbrenner. At one point, he was on the hook for nearly $50 million in payments owed to fired coaches.
Dolan and MSG were also found liable for firing Anucha Browne-Saunders out of spite for the sexual harassment suit she brought against Isiah Thomas.
7. Mark Attanasio - Milwaukee Brewers
Mark Attanasio was somewhat subdued in his anger towards the New York Yankees, but his anger over losing CC Sabathia to New York was palpable.
Attanasio's anger over the lack of competitive balance and the fact that his $100 million offer (the biggest in club history) was rebuffed by the current Yankees ace.
6. John Henry - Boston Red Sox
John Henry purchased the Red Sox in 2002 and jumped right into the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry.
At no moment was Henry angrier than when Mark Teixeira jilted the Red Sox offer and headed to New York for $10 million more over eight years.
That led Henry to take it out through his Twitter page where he stated, "The Curse of Mark Teixiera?"
The Red Sox still have not lived down the fact that Teixeira headed to New York for "only" $1.5 million more per season.
Teixiera and the Yankees threw it back in Henry's face by winning the 2009 World Series.
5. Art Modell - Baltimore Ravens
LeBron James is now on the mantle of hated Cleveland figures right up there with Art Modell, but it was Modell's anger at the city of Cleveland for the lack of money his company brought it at Cleveland Municipal Stadium. Later, Modell grew dissatisfied with the new Jacobs Field.
Modell turned his anger into something more tangible when he agreed to move the Browns to Baltimore while the city awaited a vote to renovate Municipal Stadium.
Cleveland fans turned its anger back on Modell who has not stepped foot in Ohio since creating the Ravens.
4. George Steinbrenner - New York Yankees
MLB fans, or simply Yankee haters, hate George Steinbrenner for his spending ways and "ruining baseball," but no owner spit fire and anger like George Steinbrenner during his peak years in the 1970s and 1980s.
Whether it was ripping Reggie Jackson, firing Billy Martin (over and over again), slamming Dave Winfield, violating baseball's by-laws, mocking his players, mocking his coaches and so on down the line. Steinbrenner's anger was a product of wanting to win, but no man could make a man's blood boil like Big Stein in his prime.
3. Marge Schott - Cincinnati Reds
Schott was a walking headline throughout her tenure as Reds owner. Schott lampooned many during his ownership, including umpires, her own players, fans, and other teams.
She was routinely criticized for being racist, including comments like "Hitler was good in the beginning and then went a little too far."
She made damning comments towards African-Americans, homosexuals, and nearly every other identifiable group she was asked about.
2. Al Davis - Oakland Raiders
If there is an NFL equivalent to George Steinbrenner, it is Al Davis. Davis has been angry at the NFL for five decades and has yet to show any signs of slowing down.
Davis was against the NFL-AFL merger. He had spats with his quarterbacks through the years including Ken Stabler.
He sued the NFL to move his team to Los Angeles, just one of the four lawsuits he brought against "the shield."
He skewed Marcus Allen for not being a "true Raider" and then there was the whole Lane Kiffin affair during which he accused Kiffin of being a liar and a fraud.
1. Dan Gilbert - Cleveland Cavaliers
Dan Gilbert was relatively unknown in ownership circles before his pursuit of Tom Izzo and LeBron's free agency period.
Now, he may be the most well-known owner for last night's angry rant directed at LeBron James.
"As you now know, our former hero, who grew up in the very region that he deserted this evening, is no longer a Cleveland Cavalier.
This was announced with a several day, narcissistic, self-promotional build-up culminating with a national TV special of his 'decision' unlike anything ever 'witnessed' in the history of sports and probably the history of entertainment," Gilbert said in his letter.
"I can tell you that this shameful display of selfishness and betrayal by one of our very own has shifted our 'motivation' to previously unknown and previously never experienced levels," he continued.
Later, Gilbert continued his LeBron slamming in a quote to the Associated Press.
"He quit," Gilbert said. "Not just in Game 5, but in Games 2, 4 and 6. Watch the tape. The Boston series was unlike anything in the history of sports for a superstar."
Gilbert is personifying the extreme anger felt around Northeast Ohio and around NBA fans who are now bitter, resentful and simply disliking LeBron James at this moment.