NBA Draft Lottery: What’s Not To Like about Nick Gilbert and the Cleveland Cavaliers?
Welcome to week two of the Bleacher Retort, a.k.a. Ryan’s first foray into the world of architecture and banner design, a.a.k.a., unprecedented streak of employment.
It’s all very exciting.
Also exciting? What happened Tuesday night to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
As you may or may not have heard, three days ago now, the Cavaliers won the NBA draft lottery in a big way by scoring the numbers one and four picks, which is a pretty good haul.
Even better was that they did this on the back of one of the more likeable draft day representatives in recent memory—14-year-old Nick Gilbert—the Cavs owner’s son, the Ambassador for the Children’s Tumor Foundation, and the sole reason I chose to wear a bowtie while typing this entry.
So, “what’s not to like?”
Not much, Nick Gilbert. Not much.
Thanks to you, Kyrie Irving is heading to Cleveland, and someone else of note will not be far behind.
Probably should have asked this first, but…aside from my brief and bowtie heavy introduction, do you have any idea who Nick Gilbert is?
(Take the poll! --->)
It has recently come to my attention that the semi-well-chronicled Ryan Braun Cleveland bias may have again trickled its way into my work, in part contributing to the assumption that the Cavaliers winning the draft lottery was the seminal event of the week, and thus, the event most worthy of chronicling via cartoon.
Should you be one of the hopefully few/probably many who aren’t up to date on all things Cleveland, well, let me fill you in more extensively.
Every year, each NBA team is required to send a figurehead to represent them at the draft lottery by speaking/listening/anguishing on their behalf. The representatives are usually players or front office execs, and they're basically there so ESPN has someone to cut away to as each pick is revealed.
Nothing much to see.
At least until Dan Gilbert sent his son.
You can recognize him in the picture slightly below and to the right as the one three feet shorter than everybody else.
As it turns out, Dan Gilbert's son is a pretty cool kid. Pretty resilient too.
I mentioned earlier that he is the Ambassador for the Children's Tumor Foundation, but I didn't mention that he is so because he was born with a genetic nerve disorder (neurofibromatosis) that causes tumors to grow in his body anywhere and at anytime.In his 14 years, Nick has undergone brain surgery, four rounds of chemo, and lost the vision in one eye.
None of this would you be able to guess by looking at him, hearing him speak, or apparently, by spending any length of time with him at all.
Here's Dan Gilbert on his son, via the Washington Post:
“Nick has never complained a single time about the bad card he was dealt, and instead, chooses to focus on all that is good and exciting around him,” his dad said at the time Nick’s role Tuesday night was announced. “He is an example of perseverance, determination and life the way it should be lived. Nick is my personal hero.”
And he's growing quickly on me.
First off, his basketball contributions are trivial compared to what he's doing with the Tumor Foundation, and I linked that stuff below.
Secondarily, with the above mentioned, I happen to like basketball and Nick's timing—both comedically and athletically—for a city that was needing a swig of good news...
It couldn't have been better.
In one incredible night, Nick Gilbert gave Cleveland three things it needed badly on a cold, rainy night: Good luck, an inspiring story and a new city slogan.
The son of Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert was born with neurofibromatosis and is a spokesperson for the Children’s Tumor Foundation. He represented the team at the NBA Draft Lottery as his dad's good luck charm. Before the results were announced, Nick was asked by ESPN reporter Heather Cox about being at the lottery as the "personal hero" of his father.
"What's not to like?" he said with perfect comedic timing.
Check them all out when you have a second.
He's a cool freaking kid.
We'll be back next week with another edition of Bleacher Retort. Until then...
Thanks for reading everyone!
And again, thanks to the inimitable colorist AJS, who did some pretty great work on this picture and made it look about 1,000x better.
Ryan “Kyrie Irving + Enes Kanter = Championship” Braun
PS -The actual picture is a bit larger then it appears on screen. I think you can drag it onto your desktop and it becomes bigger.
PPS - This (now above and to the right) is a picture of my brother and me watching the lottery unfold, and I think it captures the feeling of the room quite nicely.
We were nervous.
(Photo credit: My brother’s girlfriend, Stefanie “Annie Leibovitz with an iPhone” Weisenburger, snapped it when we weren't looking.)
PPPS – I actually sold one copy of last week’s cartoon. This is officially an enterprise.
PPPPS - It was my mom who bought the picture, and in case you were wondering, she bought the discounted autographed version.