Dan Gilbert, Shut Up: My Open Letter to a Very Angry Man

Sam FogelgarenCorrespondent IJuly 10, 2010

MIAMI - JULY 09:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat is introduced during a welcome party at American Airlines Arena on July 9, 2010 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
Marc Serota/Getty Images

Dear Mr.Gilbert,

These last few days have been crazy. Free agency is practically over, Miami has created a new basketball dynasty, and LeBron has moved on from Cleveland.

That's right Dan. I said moved on. 

Not deserted, not betrayed, but just moved on.

Since the chances of you reading this article on some amateur sports website are about the same odds of Mark Mangino going on a diet, I will freely express my opinions on your recent comments.

And if someone at the Cavs PR department happens to find this, I would be more than happy if they pass this along to you.

Let's start off with the facts.

The NBA is in the private sector, correct?


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Which means the Cleveland Cavaliers are not owned by the government, and in this case it is a franchise of a larger organization, the NBA. Correct? 


This means that Gilbert ultimately owns a business, and everyone working for the team is an employee. Everyone from janitors to food vendors to the players, they work for the team. Correct?


So these people can get fired, can quit, and in the case of the players, get traded, acquired, drafted, or in a few cases, decide to leave the team. Correct?


LeBron said it, and it is said constantly in sports to remind us that this is not six-year old little league baseball; professional sports is a business. 

Dan, LeBron left because Miami was the best decision in the interest of LeBron. 

Also consider that THE CAVALIERS drafted LeBron. LeBron didn't decide to come to the Cavs, so right from the get go, he was "stuck" with them for quite a few years, whether he liked them or not. 

Let's dig a little deeper. Let's see what LeBron did for you.

First off, he made the team better. He produced more wins from his sheer talent, and hard work. Good results puts more fans in the seats, gets more people buying concessions, more people buying jerseys and other paraphernalia, etc. 

He made your team better. He made that city better. He increased your team's worth by well over $100 million.  

Enough of the business aspect, lets go to the court. 

One man can only do so much. LeBron needed players around him, and by players, I mean dynamic players, not just bodies. 

The best players in basketball ALWAYS had other great players around them when they won. There was Magic and Kareem, Kobe and Shaq, Jordan and Pippen, etc. 

Lets think about a few guys who you got for LeBron: Larry Hughes, Ben Wallace, Mo Williams, Antwan Jamison, and a much older Shaq. These are decent players, guys that contributed somewhat, but were not GREAT. 

I don't fault LeBron AT ALL for leaving Cleveland. LeBron, as a basketball player and business man alike, wanted to win. He saw that over the last seven years, the Cavaliers could not put together a winning roster, so he left for a place where there is a much better chance at winning. 

Dan, what you have to realize is that the reason LeBron signed that contract a few years ago with the opt out clause is because he saw that you weren't getting him any big name counterparts, and that he didn't want to be locked into some long-term contract if you weren't going to sign another great player to play along with him. 

Dan Gilbert, I know how much LeBron meant to your franchise, and just how much you'll miss him (though at this point you will never admit it), but you have to realize that just because he decided to sign with another team, it does not mean that you have to totally trash him and totally undo all the ties you have forged with him over the last seven years. 

Sometimes, you just have to take responsibility for making bad decisions. And know when to stop talking, or in this case, know when to keep your mouth shut. 

Good luck to your teams endeavors in the future.


Sam Fogelgaren