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Dan Gilbert sounds more reasonable now, but he can't get the high ground back

Jul 12, 2010, 2:07 PM EDT

dgilbert.jpgDan Gilbert flew off the handle Thursday night and said some things he’d like to take back. We’ve all been there.

We also know you can’t take them back. You live with it. Gilbert got personal in calling out LeBron James, gave up the high moral ground and lost any chance to be the sympathetic figure in all this.

Gilbert spoke with Ian Thompson of Sports Illustrated after sleeping on it for a few days, and if he sounded like this the night of the incident, he might have garnered that sympathy.

“We really believed until the end that he was staying,” Gilbert said. “We were pretty shocked, to be honest with you.

“When [LeBron and his advisers] announced they were going to do [the team presentations] in Cleveland and not go on their tour, for us that was another sign that this guy and these guys can’t muster enough energy to go on the road — how is he going to move? Going through the process, we felt really good. We felt our meeting went good, and we had another meeting at his house 10 days or two weeks before that.

“The last few days when it got set up in Connecticut [to broadcast his announcement], we couldn’t figure it out. It was just very bizarre. Why is he going to the Boys & Girls Club in Greenwich, Conn.? We started thinking to ourselves, it doesn’t make sense. We can’t think he’s going to go on national TV and build it up and humiliate and disgrace Cleveland, Ohio, by saying he’s leaving. The only way he comes out of this positive is if he announces he’s staying, because otherwise he’s going to destroy himself. That was our thought process. We knew it was more than a 50-70 percent chance he was going to stay.”

They were wrong. Then Gilbert was wrong calling LeBron narcissistic and cowardly. LeBron made his choice, and while you can question how he went about the announcement, the choice was his.

Gilbert even said Cleveland would win a title before Miami.

“I know I made that crazy promise,” the Cavaliers’ owner said of his response to the departure of LeBron James, “but it was more of a rallying cry to get people to rally around that message.”

That doesn’t mean he is backing off that promise, though.

“I don’t think their experiment is going to work,” he said. “But that’s just me. I just don’t see Dwyane Wade and LeBron James gelling together on the court.”

Seems reasonable. Now. But it’s too late.

  1. Texodus - Jul 12, 2010 at 4:29 PM

    You buggin’… They surrounded Lebron with half ass bums, you guys in Cleveland think Varejao or Mo are superstars when their not, Clevelands biggest move was getting a washed up Shaq… As for that Boston series, the rest of the Cav’s sucked worse than Lebron, no ball movement, no one stepping up to help win. He carried that team from limbo to the NBA finals alone. Jordan had Pippen, Kobe had Shaq, & so on… Now it’s King James,D.Wade, & Bosh, eat that….

  2. Data13 - Jul 12, 2010 at 4:43 PM

    Burn Bridges Burn!! Never to Return!!
    Learn a lesson Gilbert…

  3. YouveGotToBeKiddingMe - Jul 12, 2010 at 4:45 PM

    Lebron James gave himself the moniker “King James” when he was drafted out of St. Vincent-St. Mary high school. So there 😛
    The Cavs gave LeButt carte blanche. He practically hand picked the other players, so I’m sick of hearing that the Cavs management didn’t try to put a winning team around the quitter.

  4. chi-mb - Jul 12, 2010 at 4:46 PM

    First, Im not from Cleveland. And second, if you read my post you would understand that I said they COULDNT provide James with free agent superstars because James would not commit to an extended contract. I said that James and Cavs wanted a championship immediately, and their only option was to pay heavily in trades for people to win the championship NOW which caused them to give up their draft picks. And just so you know, Lebron had like 18 turnovers alone in the final 3 games against the Celtics. An elbow injury which trainers could find nothing wrong with.

  5. Fred Flintstone - Jul 12, 2010 at 4:52 PM

    It is very sad that all of you think that Lebron is the “king”. At the end of the day America needs to wake up and smell the roses. We spend more time and energy on idiots like this than we do with the economy, the poor, and the hopeless. If we spend that energy spent on this and reality TV, think of where America would be. Maybe Lebron will be heading to China soon since they basiclly own America anyway.

  6. LakersFan - Jul 12, 2010 at 4:54 PM

    As the guy from Boston might say, we were thinking it, but Dan Gilbert had the b____ to say it.

  7. Chris Tifer - Jul 12, 2010 at 4:54 PM

    “I just don’t see Dwyane Wade and LeBron James gelling together on the court.”
    Dan Gilbert is an unpatriotic S.O.B. then because if he watched the Olympics, he saw them get together just fine.
    That’s when this seed was planted of them playing together for god’s sake, Mr. Gilbert. They didn’t ‘concoct this plan’ because they didn’t enjoy playing together.

  8. jim - Jul 12, 2010 at 4:56 PM

    liz, he is human. a human that tried to do right by lebron as did the whole city of cleveland.
    gilbert is not an idiot, so let’s role play here. you have for 7 yrs given your all to your man. the next thing comes along is he gets the itch and decides the babe he met was going to rock his world more than you can. he calls everyone together across town to make his announcement. you wouldn’t be pissed and get into the idiot mode. my guess you’d want to kill him.
    please understand that i hope this nevere ever happens to you. it has to me and it wasn’t fun.

  9. TR - Jul 12, 2010 at 5:18 PM

    Dan Gilbert is not the complete idiot everyone makes him out to be. Although he probably went a little farther than he should have with his comments, I think he basically took a bullet for the Cleveland fans. Gilbert is more popular around Cleveland then he has ever been, by simply highlighting what many in his fan base already thought.
    And for those of you talking about LeBron’s business decision, you are missing the point. Cleveland fans (at least the rational ones) aren’t made BECAUSE he left, they are made at the WAY he chose to do it. LeBron tried to help his brand by throwing his hometown under the bus, which left a bad taste in a lot on non-Cleveland fans as well.

  10. Mike - Jul 12, 2010 at 5:22 PM

    You’re comparing an athlete at the end of free agency leaving his team to go to another to infidelity in a marriage?
    No wonder you guys are so angry. You need some perspective.
    Should LeBron have come clean with the owner? Sure.
    Announcing it on T.V. did lack some class, but the media was already whipped into a frenzy about this. But let’s not get it too confused. He’s no “traitor” or anything else, he served his contract, and he’s a free agent, and he signed with another team. That’s something athletes do. In Dallas when Emmitt Smith left, we didn’t burn #22 jerseys in the streets. We didn’t have to scrub pictues of Emmitt off of buildings. We didn’t do any of that.
    Then again, he didn’t announce his decision on national T.V. either.

  11. lexafan - Jul 12, 2010 at 5:24 PM

    Thanks for a least one person outside of Ohio who agrees that Lebron torched his Cavs fans. We all know he had the right to go and Gilbert knew it too. It was the way he left that upset everyone. We’ll get over it. Lebron will feel like a stranger in his birthplace, Akron. His family struggled there big-time until he got a paycheck. If Akron turns on him I think that’ll hurt him more than he hurt Cleveland, in the long run.

  12. Rita - Jul 12, 2010 at 6:18 PM

    I am a Lebron fan as well as other NBA players. David Stern certainly does need to fine Gilbert. I guess I dont understand what the issue is with how Lebron went about marketing his product, himself. Why wouldnt he go all out people are crazy as that Gilbert.
    On July 1st Gilbert knew he didnt work their anymore and Lebron told him that if he wanted to stay with that company he would be notified, simple as that. What loyalty does Lebron have other than to his family??? People take this ish to seriously he is not curing cancer or saving babies he plays basketball!!!!!
    I am in support of him and anywhere he goes he has never embarassed the NBA by getting a DUI, shooting someone or his freinds for that matter, hitting his kids mother etc.. Support this young brother dont tear him down lift him up, if you dont agree with his marketing ploy so be it but dont hate him because he has it like that.
    Keep up the great work LJ.

  13. travis - Jul 12, 2010 at 8:16 PM

    Gilbert is GOD…His response to LBJ leaving and his whole process was the right thing to say and do! it was how he felt along with 98percent of clevelanders.and by NO means does he need to be fined.He,along with every other team and fan were duped by LBJ’s whole process..thats all im going to say on that but Jesse Jackson you my friend are a SCUMBAG and scum of the earth.Race does not and did not play a card in ANY, i repeat ANY of this.its people like you you keep racism alive with idiotic things like this

  14. Jill - Jul 12, 2010 at 8:35 PM

    I was just going to comment that I’m continuously amazed at how many Cavs fans are acting like they and Dan Gilbert are jilted lovers, but I didn’t expect to see people actually *admitting* they view it that way. It’s a contract, kids. THEY END! Gilbert and a whole lot of Ohioans are making complete fools of themselves; Lebron doesn’t owe anybody anything, and no amount of crying or immaturity will change that. I was a Cavs fan- I wanted thim to stay, but after all this, I think he made the right decision. I expected to continue following the Cavs even if he left, but I’m starting to doubt my other favs will be around when the smoke clears.

  15. steve - Jul 13, 2010 at 8:55 PM

    Dan Gilbert should be commended for calling out Lebron, for the phony that he is…he had this planned for a long time and made 6 teams/cities go through this ridiculous process for one reason and one reason only…his own selfish ego.

  16. steve - Jul 13, 2010 at 8:56 PM

    Dan Gilbert should be commended for calling out Lebron, for the phony that he is…he had this planned for a long time and made 6 teams/cities go through this ridiculous process for one reason and one reason only…his own selfish ego.

  17. michael - Jul 25, 2010 at 10:40 AM

    Shut the hell up steve!!!!!!!

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