Who says sports don’t matter… the LBJ fallout

The following was an open letter released to the people of Cleveland from Cleveland Cavaliers majority owner Dan Gilbert, after his franchise’s marquee player, LeBron James, agreed to leave the team to pursue a contract with rival club the Miami Heat:

Dear Cleveland, All Of Northeast Ohio and Cleveland Cavaliers Supporters Wherever You May Be Tonight;

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.

Clearly, this is bitterly disappointing to all of us.

The good news is that the ownership team and the rest of the hard-working, loyal, and driven staff over here at your hometown Cavaliers have not betrayed you nor NEVER will betray you.

There is so much more to tell you about the events of the recent past and our more than exciting future. Over the next several days and weeks, we will be communicating much of that to you.

You simply don’t deserve this kind of cowardly betrayal.

You have given so much and deserve so much more.

In the meantime, I want to make one statement to you tonight:

“I PERSONALLY GUARANTEE THAT THE CLEVELAND CAVALIERS WILL WIN AN NBA CHAMPIONSHIP BEFORE THE SELF-TITLED FORMER ‘KING’ WINS ONE”

You can take it to the bank.

If you thought we were motivated before tonight to bring the hardware to Cleveland, 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.

Some people think they should go to heaven but NOT have to die to get there.

Sorry, but that’s simply not how it works.

This shocking act of disloyalty from our home grown “chosen one” sends the exact opposite lesson of what we would want our children to learn. And “who” we would want them to grow-up to become.

But the good news is that this heartless and callous action can only serve as the antidote to the so-called “curse” on Cleveland, Ohio.

The self-declared former “King” will be taking the “curse” with him down south. And until he does “right” by Cleveland and Ohio, James (and the town where he plays) will unfortunately own this dreaded spell and bad karma.

Just watch.

Sleep well, Cleveland.

Tomorrow is a new and much brighter day….

I PROMISE you that our energy, focus, capital, knowledge and experience will be directed at one thing and one thing only:

DELIVERING YOU the championship you have long deserved and is long overdue….

Dan Gilbert
Majority Owner
Cleveland Cavaliers

Wow. He said a mouthful… plus the words ‘shameful’ and ‘betrayal’ lots and lots of times. It’s a pretty childish and petulant reaction which does neither Gilbert nor his team any favours. Thing is, it’s hard not to let your emotions dictate your behaviour when you’re talking about perhaps the biggest free agent signing in professional sporting history, especially when you consider the ramifications that the decision has for an entire city, and perhaps an entire sport.

If you’ve never even heard of LeBron James, he’s a once-in-a-generation professional basketballer, arguably the best in the world right now. 6 foot 8 tall, 260 pounds of muscle, and just 25 years old.This is what LeBron James can do:

Born and raised in Ohio, experts are predicting the horrific economic fallout to James’ home state could be as high as several hundred million dollars. Unemployment (especially in a variety of service based industries) is expected to spike, and the franchise itself, purchased by Gilbert in 2005 for $375 million, could fold within just a few years.

His was a decision which ultimately effects the lives of millions of people in Cleveland, in an almost entirely negative way.

Yup… in the moment I might have written a nasty ‘open letter’ too.

So the next time your wife/girlfriend/puggle walks past as you’re sprawled in front of the TV on a weekend, and says “I don’t get what’s so important, it’s just a couple of grown men chasing a little ball around. That’s stupid!”…

You smack her/her/it. You tell her it’s not stupid! You tell her sport does matter! You do it for the good people of Cleveland, Ohio!

And you tell her Dan Gilbert sent you.

BPM

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