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Regrets? Dan Gilbert has a few, but too few to mention

Sep 20, 2010, 9:17 AM EDT

Thumbnail image for dgilbert.jpgWhen LeBron James announced his decision, Dan Gilbert lashed out.

It was an emotional response, a public letter that called James decision a “cowardly betrayal” and insulted James. It earned Gilbert a $100,000 fine and a rebuke from David Stern.

Gilbert now says he has moved on. So the Detroit Free Press asked him if he had any regrets.

“No, not really,” Gilbert said. “I just expressed what the Cleveland people were feeling. Unless you’re from Cleveland and experienced what they have experienced since 1964, it’s hard for the rest of the country to grasp.”

This echoes what we’ve said about the letter from the start — it played well with the Cavaliers core fans. Clevelanders loved it, and the good will generated was well worth the fines. Gilbert spoke for a fan base.

So now it’s on from the big words to see if Gilbert can help rebuild his team. No angry letters can do that.

  1. Jay - Sep 20, 2010 at 3:21 PM

    Thank you, Mr. Gilbert, because you DID express the disapppointment, hurt, and, downright betrayal many – if not all – loyal Cavalier fans felt when we were “dissed” on national television.
    To this day, I now only watch ESPN once a week and if Jim Gray is on, I immediately change the channel.
    To this day, I no longer have anything of / form NIKE in my home.
    But, life goes on and I look forward to an exciting season of Cleveland Cavalier basketball.
    Jay Dzurilla

  2. Dawn - Sep 20, 2010 at 4:08 PM

    GO CAVS!

  3. Chris - Sep 20, 2010 at 5:51 PM

    You GO Dan! We LOVE YOU in Cleveland. That letter was just what was needed the day you wrote it. This franchise was devastated by LeQuit but we’ll bounce back. Let’s get this project started!
    GO CAVS!

  4. rt44904 - Sep 20, 2010 at 6:21 PM

    I lived in Beaverton, OR when NIKE was just starting out and have never owned nor worn any of their products…and I still don’t believe their hype of “cheap stuff for big money” approach.
    I feel what Gilbert did was warranted and I would contribute to any future fine for the following:
    Have a jersey retirement at halftime of the first Heat game @ home:
    1st) Number #11 for Z.
    2nd) Number #23 for…………..M. Jordan!!!!
    Can you imagine the reaction from Mr. Loyalty when the fans turn the moment into a five minute laugh fest………we don’t need no stinkin’ overdue apology.
    Plus this would tell the rest of the world that Cavalier fans are tired of all the “MJ jumper over Ehlo” reminders ESPN is so good at bringing back around at every opportunity.
    While I’m on the subject, let’s put a “burning river” picture up in the rafters, too.
    Who knows, if the event is a hit we could move on to the Browns and Indians stuff…Mesa, the Drive…et al.
    BTW: Where does the $100,000 fine go/end up??????

  5. sactownmack - Sep 20, 2010 at 6:31 PM

    Jay … a real “Fan” doesn’t act like your acting.
    I’m a kings fan and when a player who has left his blood sweat and tears on our Court for Our team I respect that player and feel grateful for what he brought to our team.
    I don’t see that from Cav’s fans and maybe that’s one of the reasons Mr. James decided to go elsewhere.
    He was booed in his home arena during a playoff year where he averaged
    28 point
    9+ rebounds
    7+ assists
    2 steals
    2 blocks
    If that’s “tanking it” I’ll be darned …
    But sure enough there were the Cav’s fans booing
    would you want to play for fans like that?
    Frankly Cleveland disgraced Itself by booing a player who could choose to leave
    NOT SMART .. Now Deal with it

  6. Dee - Sep 20, 2010 at 7:04 PM

    Inintially, I thought Gilbert’s letter was childish and idiotic. This actually gave me new perpective. He just lost his cash cow in James, but that letter incited fan loyalty to another degree. That letter ensures buts in the seats next year to watch a team that is in a transitional phase, and that porbably won’t make the playoffs. Good move indeed…

  7. bull's fan inMA - Sep 21, 2010 at 7:46 AM

    Gilbert, like the rest of Cleveland fans, was deluding himself into thinking Lebron would stay there and acted unprofessionally with his statement when reality set in. If your premier player does not respect you enough to return your calls or text messages, why would you think he was going to keep working for you?

  8. billh - Sep 21, 2010 at 11:08 AM

    Dan Gilbert’s letter was an abomination then and will continue to be for the rest of the time he owns the Cavaliers.
    As a former D-1 basketball player, I wouldn’t step on the same floor with someone that has kissed my tail for seven years and then turns on me. Lebron was childish in how he broke the news and I believe some day he will realize it, but he had every right to leave a team that he felt couldn’t give him his lifetime ambition of winning an NBA title.
    If fans booed me to the extent that Cleveland’s fans booed Lebron, I would leave as soon as my contract was up. Lebron gave them seven years of his best basketball, he needed a new venue to play in.
    If the Cleveland fans can’t understand this, then they aren’t true fans of the game.
    I’m not a fan of Lebron’s, but I believe there are very few basketball players now or in the past with his ability to takeover a game. He is truly a magnificent basketball player who could have used a few years of college ball to refine his game.
    Give the guy a break; he’s still only twenty-five years old and has a lot of growing up to do.

  9. Josh - Sep 22, 2010 at 6:40 PM

    Cleveland = FAIL
    Yeah, the league has to do some kind of damage control, paste a smiley on that angry owner face, because they are part of the league and can drag everybody’s revenues down. By having Lebron they were dragging down the league because he’s worth more elsewhere.

  10. PatrickD - Sep 27, 2010 at 4:09 PM

    Dear Dan,
    Too bad you and your staff never understood ?!@# about playoff basketball and doomed the situation with the type of players you placed around LeBron. You built an Awesome Regular Season Team that had none of the grit or determination needed to win in the Spring. You sound like a scorned 12 year old and if you’re saying -that’s- the voice of your city, then I guess we both know- how far Cleveland still has to go….

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