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Stern fines Dan Gilbert $100,000 for LeBron letter

Jul 12, 2010, 8:08 PM EDT

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David Stern has just announced that he will fine Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert $100,000 for his open letter to Cleveland fans, which Gilbert wrote shortly after LeBron James announced on ESPN that he would sign with the Miami Heat. When explaining the fine, Stern called Gilbert’s letter both “ill-advised” and “imprudent.” 
Stern was not a fan of the way LeBron’s decision was produced, but he did say that players are “within their rights to sign with any team,” which likely explains why he fined Gilbert for his letter. The money won’t mean much to Gilbert, but Stern’s condemnation of his actions must feel like a dash of salt in what was clearly a very deep wound for him. 
349 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Phil - Jul 13, 2010 at 12:17 PM

    What’s with all the unnecessary capitalization?

  2. Knisone - Jul 13, 2010 at 12:31 PM

    Okay, it is really funny how everyone is downing Lebron. Um, this is proffessional sports with free agency. If Lebron were say Derek Fisher would we be having this conversation? If it were any of the other 500 players in the NBA would we be saying anything? Where was this anger when Kevin Garnet went to Boston? Where was this anger when Shaq went to Miami? Owners let players go all the time. Finally a player gets to do what owners ahve been doing since the dawn of free agency. They ahve been able to trade a player, neglect to resign a player for any number of reasons and now you dim witted people are going to get made at him. If you want to be angry be angry at the owner. He didn’t bring anyone on board to help Lebron. If they he is having an off night who picks up the slack? For that matter who has ever picked up the slack since the man has been in the league. He has been a star on a team of also-rans. I take nothing from the players on The CAvs right now they are above average players or else they would not be int he league. However as championships time and time again tell us you need a team to win. Not one person. The Magic beat them because the Magic had more than Dwight Howard. You should be mad at the owner for not bringing in additional talent to help out his star. Even Jordan had Scottie.

  3. e. crumbly - Jul 13, 2010 at 1:00 PM

    A win is still a win, & a loss is still a loss. Ask Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Gary Payton, Shaquille O’Neal, & Moses Malone that same question (we all know the answer)…

  4. - Jul 13, 2010 at 1:18 PM

    Welcome to the business of pro sports, full of talented players who mostly are flawed human beings (just like the rest of us). Bottom line, owners & players go where they can get the best deals for themselves, period. LBJ carried (yes, carried) the Cavaliers the entire time he was there. Dan Gilbert ought to be arrested for inpersonating an owner & Mike Brown should have been arrested for impersonating an NBA coach (a little hint Mr. Brown: if you’re so interested in defense, try being an assistant coach next time). The Cavs would never have made it to their 1 (& only Finals appearance w/o LBJ). Gilbert should spend less time writing letters to the fans trashing a former player & more time building a legitimate NBA championship contender. Cavs fans, please move on & stop cryin’ in your beer. I will say to you what the U.S. said to Japan & Germany following the end of WWII: It’s over & you lost…

  5. q. omowale - Jul 13, 2010 at 1:45 PM

    I bet you believe in the tooth fairy, saccharine doesn’t cause cancer, there were WMD’s in Iraq, & ANS married for love lol! Racism started in this country when the first european settlers came into contact w/the native americans. Vote for whomever you, want, none of them will do you any good! And if you forgot the lessons from high school civics class, U.S. presidents aren’t elected by the popular vote, but by the electoral college (do you know who’s in the electoral college)? When (or if) you find out, answer back. When our fellow americans wake up & discover that we have the power to change the way our country is run, then real change will be made. Sports is a diversion & a business, by the way;it only has power as long as people continue to financially support it. It’s beyond race & politics;it’s all about control. Wake up & stop looking for scapegoats. People like you make me laugh w/your “fake-a** patriotism.” Do you even personally visit vets on Memorial Day or Veterans Day to thank them for the sacrifices they made for the USA? I bet you just get drunk, stuff your face w/barbecue, & fornicate on those holidays. Stop lying to yourself & others. Man/Woman up & get to work! The country deserves no less. Peace!

  6. e. crumbly - Jul 13, 2010 at 1:57 PM

    Get over it & move on. LBJ didn’t choose my Bulls either, but I don’t hate the man. He’s a player & that’s what players (& owners) do. Good luck in 2010-11!

  7. e. crumbly - Jul 13, 2010 at 2:03 PM

    You probably believe in the Easter Bunny too? Almost everybody who follows sports & ESPN had a clue he would leave Cleveland. For anyone who says they didn’t, they’re living in denial (which is not the river in Egypt). Get over it & move on…

  8. SoFla Ken - Jul 13, 2010 at 2:08 PM

    Good for Stern! That jerk Gilbert got everything he deserves. If Cleveland fans think it’s cool to represented by an unhinged lunatic like Gilbert, then you can have him. All that moron did was incite a mob mentality instead of doing what he should have done, and that is express disappointment and move on. Do you Clevelanders realize what his rant really did? It essentially scared away other key free-agents from signing with the Cavs. No one in their right mind is going to want to play for a guy that apparently will cut them down when they leave and he doesn’t get his way. (Don’t you think it’s possible LeBron saw this coming, and that’s why he got out?)
    Good luck in basketball purgatory, Cleveland. At least you have Dan Gilbert and all his manly bravado to keep you entertained through a long, cold basketball season!

  9. e. crumbly - Jul 13, 2010 at 2:09 PM

    If you really believe what you’re saying, I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn I can sell you. Racism isn’t new, & hypocrisy in sports (& life) is a fact of life. If you don’t like the way things are in the USA, change it or vote w/your feet…

  10. Anonymous - Jul 13, 2010 at 3:55 PM

    dont hold your breath, lebron is never going to jail…stop being a hater.

  11. mike - Jul 13, 2010 at 4:39 PM

    I am from Cleveland. I don’t follow basketball . My interest is in the Browns,
    But i think that Cleveland created this monster called Lebron James. To put up that huge banner of him and call him a king before he ever won the championship was in error.He has choked in all the games that mattered.That is why he left he knows he cant do it like all of the greats did( Jordan,Bryant,Johnson,Bryd)just to name a few.He is not a go to guy in the crunch. But besides that Dan Gilbert has every right to write that letter ,he bent over backwards to keep him here. David Stern needs would have done the same thing had he been in the same place Gilbert was.

  12. Another teacher - Jul 13, 2010 at 5:00 PM

    I really think you are wrong about this. Freedom of speech is for everyone at anytime, not just when talking to or about the government. Mr. Gilbert had every right to speak to his fans from his own computer. LeBron should have had the decency and respect for Cavelier fans to at least let them and the team for which he played for seven years, which made him a superstar, know what his decision before The Decision, an ill-conceived announcement which no matter what team he chose would have been an anti-climax to a week that cruelly tantalized basketball fans in six cities. There are no winners here. Cleveland lost its superstar, David Stern acted heavy-handed, even LeBron himself is despised. It will be interesting to see what happens the first time James plays in Cleveland this season.

  13. john - Jul 13, 2010 at 5:00 PM

    i’m a black man from cleveland, ohio so it’s not about race here this city is upset it’s about how he went about this if he would told us ealier he was leaving the fans would of understood it would of forgive him but all you siding with lebron dont really know the whole story here i dont blame dan gilbert for the comments he made i hate he got fined lebum knew he was leaving he waited and had one of his goons call gilbert 7minutes before the circus i know people who know lebron he knew he was leaving all along that’s why he sign the 3 year extension back 3years ago for this moment gilbert had a new practice complex built for the cavs and he spent alot of money to make him happy faked the elbow injury and quite on his team in the play off for his excuse out of here

  14. john - Jul 13, 2010 at 5:27 PM

    That’s cool lebum could leave us im from cleveland, ohio we have some ruthless fans you remember that browns game when the officials made a bad call against the browns and they paid for it with bottles and everything else i want be surprise when the heat comes to town le jackass , bosh, and wade get went across the head with bud light bottles it’s in the works

  15. Kath Stevenson - Jul 13, 2010 at 5:35 PM

    I believe that this fine totally violates the “Freedom of Speech” right that we have all been given.
    After all, Le Bron certainly made HIS feelings known in a not so subtle manner!!

  16. Debi - Jul 13, 2010 at 5:58 PM

    If you don’t agree with Stern’s fine and comments – boycott the NBA. If you don’t agree with Gilbert’s words, boycott the Cavs. If you don’t like the way LeBron left for Miami, boycott the Heat. If you don’t like any of this boycott them all.
    If you want to watch some decent BBall, watch college BBall. In my opinion, the NBA is starting to slide in the same direction as the Wrestling – right into the dumpster.
    Gilbert has the right to his freedom of speech as long as he doesn’t libel or slander LeBron or the NBA. From what I saw, he did neither so what is Stern b*tching about?

  17. roland - Jul 13, 2010 at 5:59 PM

    The NBA is a proud organization that keeps their level of professionalism seriously. Sure Gilbert didn’t agree with LBJ’s decision to move, but as a franchise owner a little bit of restraint and poise could’ve gone a long way. Instead of acting like a child, Gilbert could’ve focused his energy into something more important, like reformulating a plan for Cleveland’s success instead of blatantly claiming that they’re going to win next season. I think Gilbert just sealed the fate for the Cav’s. Good luck winning next season without LeBron!

  18. RJ - Jul 13, 2010 at 6:07 PM

    To me Lebron, didn’t need to answer his texts. As a matter of fact, what do you think it means when someone doesn’t answer you back. At the very least Gilbert should have known that Cleveland was out of the running if the guy doesn’t answer him back. The second part is Gilbert should have SIGNED AMARE, before the trade deadline. Lebron knew what was about to happen, gilbert lock Lebron up for 6 years give him 130 mill, and never sign another player, sighting Lebron and his big contract as the reason. Lebron was to smart an beat him to the punch. The last thing is how many times is it we hear of players finding out they had been traded by watching sportcenter, or they fly to another arena but can’t suit out becuase they have been traded while in the air. Lebron got over one the get overs. The owners sign one good player keep him for his good years and then trade that player after that player has made him a boat load of cash. Lebron saw it and said I will not be Barry Sanders number 2…

  19. NBA Fan - Jul 13, 2010 at 6:26 PM

    What RACE card? You people are SO arrogant!! I guess you think that whites can’t be slaves too?
    GROW UP Dan Gilbert!
    Go LeBron, go HEAT! Long live the NBA

  20. MGibbs - Jul 13, 2010 at 6:57 PM

    What people fail to realize, the mans feelings was hurt was he wrong in anything that he said absolutely not because he has his first amendment right. Also he was shelling out all this money just to keep that man in Cleveland the least that the self proclaimed “KING” could of and should of done was give his fans and that man the respect to let them know that Cleveland was not an option. He knew what he was doing from the day after they got eliminated in the playoffs. When they say the quote on quote “KING” gave up that’s what he did he gave up. You can tell look at the difference between last year when they got eliminated by Orlando and this year when they got eliminated by Boston. I understand he wants a ring but that’s not the way to go about doing it. I don’t want to hear anyone ever compare him to a Kobe Bryant or a Michael Jordan. If anything compare that man to Judas and if you don’t know who Judas is “Step Your Game Up And Read The Bible!” I can go on for days about the sucker move that he did. No disrespect to Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh but if they don’t get a championship it’s because of that man and his Karma.

  21. M.Gibbs - Jul 13, 2010 at 7:09 PM

    Teacher you are sounding very foolish right now let me know what school you teach at so I definitely won’t send my kids there. Freedom of Speech is Freedom of Speech there’s no wrong or right way to use it. How can David Stern fine that man for making those comments and then turn around and say Lebron was wrong for making a primetime announcement about his decision are you kidding me? You are a teacher so I’m going to need you not to teach your students that..

  22. M.Gibbs - Jul 13, 2010 at 7:16 PM

    Preach on Brother!!!!

  23. Blacksheep70 - Jul 13, 2010 at 7:19 PM

    Really!!! Lebron doesn’t owe anyone an explanation. To his fans, face it s*** happens! If the Cavs had let him go and he ripped them as they have him, he would be called a crybaby. And surely he would have been fined. The problem everyone is having with Lebron is that he has a mind of his own and used it. NBA fans finally got a player who plays for the love of the game and can’t handle it. Just because money couldn’t make him stay he’s a traitor. WOW!!!
    Now carefully read my next statement… “He Plays Basketball”,note (PLAYS). At 25 maybe he didn’t know how to let his fans down easy. In reality there is never and easy way to let someone down, especially those you do care somewhat for. I wish him the best, and to all his haters get back to work. Hating is a low paying profession!LMAO

  24. ynw - Jul 13, 2010 at 7:23 PM

    Well Another teacher;
    I guess you don’t teach or even understand contract law…Dan Gilbert voilated his contract and he has to pay the price. Perhaps he’s happy now that the world has seen him behave like a rude, willful child with no “home training”, but it doesn’t seem so, since he still can’t shut-up.
    Would your school board allow you to smear one of your students and possibly even the whole school district just because you didn’t like his decision, or the WAY he said it?
    I don’t think so.

  25. M.Gibbs - Jul 13, 2010 at 7:42 PM

    Yo RSWADS and JJ absolutely the truth. I felt everything that yall said.

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