The Dan Gilbert letter to Cleveland and LeBron is off the charts wrong. The Cleveland Cavs owner fired off a public letter to Cleveland and LeBron by releasing it to the media. In the open letter from Dan Gilbert, which can be read here, the Cavaliers owner blasts LeBron for his choice to leave for Miami.
In the process, Dan Gilbert may have sent a message to every free agent from now on that Cleveland doesn’t take kindly to someone who wants to “weigh their options”. Gilbert says LeBron made a “cowardly decision” to go to the Heat. He called LeBron James a deserter. He even made an analogy to getting to heaven the hard way instead of taking the easy route. What Gilbert said in that letter is so wrong on so many levels.
LeBron made his own decision. That was his right. Whether it was good or bad for Cleveland is irrelevant. LeBron doesn’t owe anyone anything at the end of the day. Sure, it would have been nice to see the guy stay in Cleveland and try to tough it out. But he had other plans. So Dan Gilbert fires off a letter to the city of Cleveland believing they will buy it.
The Dan Gilbert letter to Cleveland was immature and completely unprofessional. It also hinged strictly on emotion. In essence, Dan Gilbert just sounded like a colossal sore loser in the LeBron sweepstakes. That letter to Cleveland probably just sealed the Cavs fates for years to come.
Which other NBA free agent is going to want to sign to play for an owner that publicly bashes a free agent who has every right to leave? It’s just not good business.
LeBron James took the high road last night and talked glowingly of Cleveland and the state of Ohio. The next morning we have to read a Dan Gilbert letter to Cleveland that speaks anything but the high road. Gilbert fired shot after shot in the public eye. He didn’t criticize LeBron directly but through an emotional letter that will make forgiveness next to impossible on down the line. LeBron is gone-so I guess in the mind of Dan Gilbert the damage has already been done. What Dan Gilbert did with that letter could even prompt more damages for years to come. That horrible thing is Dan Gilbert actually had time to write, compose and think about it first. He still made a calculated decision to send the letter. That’s what gets me.
NBA players will take note of what Dan Gilbert did when he casted the stone. I can’t imagine if two NBA cities were of equal value to a prospective free agent-that the NBA player would choose Cleveland now after seeing the public scrutiny Dan Gilbert is trying to put LeBron through. LeBron did take the easy route. He did take the opportunity to win a championship by jumping on board a team loaded with two other stars. He wants to win.
He wasn’t really afforded that opportunity in Cleveland. I think most of us get that. Dan Gilbert showed how much he was emotionally and financially vested in LeBron James by pouring out the first words that came out of his mouth into an open letter to Cleveland.
In most situations, adults have learned not to speak the first thing they think. Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert should have learned that lesson a long time ago. An apology is owed to LeBron James. Even if LeBron James is selfish and left for the lure of winning titles. Even LeBron didn’t deserve to be scolded publicly by a person that is expected to be professional. Dan Gilbert made a horrific call by sending that letter out. A horrific call that could have repercussions on the franchise for years to come. Dan Gilbert achieved what many might have seen as impossible. He just made the LeBron James situation worse.