Dan Gilbert: Post-Decision letter ‘not the most brilliant thing I’ve ever done’

Prior to the Cavaliers’ Opening Night tip-off on Tuesday night, team majority owner Dan Gilbert addressed the media to discuss the upcoming season. Given Gilbert’s notoriety, however, not every question revolved around the future as the fiery business man was asked to address the letter he penned following “The Decision,” wherein he guaranteed that his Cavaliers would win a championship before LeBron James.

“Looking back now, ” said Gilbert, “that probably was not the most brilliant thing I’ve ever done in my life. If you’re going to predict something that doesn’t happen and you’re going to do it publicly, you’d for sure take it back.”

Following James’ nationally televised announcement surrounding his decision to leave in free agency and join the Miami Heat, Gilbert released a letter in which — not aided by his font choice of Comic Sans — he stated that he “personally guaranteed” that the Cavaliers would win an NBA championship before the “self-titled former ‘king.” The Heat, along with James, won the 2011-12 NBA Championship in five games, topping the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Alas, Gilbert was wrong. He and the Cavaliers, in the meantime, can now focus solely on themselves, ignoring the (admittedly self-induced) noise which accompanied them every step of the way following the mid-June ESPN telecast.

“We want to win as much as the fans do,” Gilbert said. “No matter how long it takes, and no matter what it takes, we’re just going to keep going until we get there.”

[Related: As the curtains are raised, the new-look Cavaliers win one for Cleveland]

  • Steve

    So he only regrets it because he ended up being wrong. What about not just giving a voice to those who want to act like petulant children, but making it the most well known? Yeah, it sucked that the hometown kid turned us down, but whining about it didn’t help. The sooner we got (get?) over Lebron, the better.

  • Dave

    I actually don’t think it was a dumb move. By making it clear that Gilbert was determined to win, it kept the fans from losing faith in the franchise, the way that they’ve definitely done to the Indians and had previously done to the Browns.

  • matt underwood

    the anti-dolan

  • Grif_E

    It sucks to be wrong when you make a statement like that, but it was what was necessary at the time. The Cavs needed someone to step up and be a rallying point until someone like Kyrie came into the fold. I think Dan showed too much deference to the national media in this statement.

  • typo

    I know I’m in the minority but I love him for that letter. It showed that he cares as much as the fans. That letter kept me, a casual sports fan, interested in the cavs last year. As opposed to the Indians, who I don’t anticipate being interested in again till 3048. Also excited about Haslem, who seems to have similar Passion.

  • Steve

    So if Dolan came out and blustered about how, despite CC and Lee wanting to test the FA market (meaning we wouldn’t be able to re-sign them), the Indians were going to win a championship before the Yankees or Phillies, things would be better for the Indians?

  • Chuck Steak

    I agree completely with that second sentence of yours……or…i MIGHT if it made any sense.

  • Steve

    The Cavs needed (and still need to) acquire good players. Grandiose statements that amount to nothing don’t do diddly poo. Is everything better now that he took a couple potshots at Lebron? No? You mean we still picked at the top of the lottery and are a few years away from even contending? Oh. Well at least a hastily constructed rant left us feeling all warm and fuzzy.

    Outside of Cleveland, the perception is that it’s a backwater town filled with petulant whiners. As long as we continue to think of the letter as a rallying cry, that’s not going to change.

  • Dave

    Yes, it would be better: CC and Lee would have been more willing to stay to play for a contender, fans would have trusted that the Dolans were trying their best to win and were doing badly because they were dealt a bad hand, and players and coaches who stayed would be excited about the support they were getting from their owner and their city.

  • Steve

    Fine, I’ll fix it. Gilbert shouldn’t regret being wrong about who will win a championship first. He should regret that he acted like a spoiled child who got his toy taken away. Not only did he lend credence to the that behavior among fans in town, he made it a national story.

  • Steve

    CC and Lee wouldn’t have stayed. I’m not sure why that thought has any traction at all. They were out for the biggest deals they could get and made no attempts to hide that. They would have been willing to stay if and only if the Indians made them each the highest paid AAV pitcher in baseball (at the time of each deal).

    If the Indians tried and subsequently failed to re-sign either of those two, and gotten next to nothing in return (quick: name the players drafted with each’s comp pick), people in this town would really believe we were trying our best? I know, the packages we got in return have not lived up to our expectations, but those deals were the best available returns for the two pitchers.

    This city didn’t show up to watch Sabathia and Lee pitch when they were in uniform here. Our attendance was awful even with those two, even during the 2007 run. You really think there would have been support the last couple years for this team if they had kept even both of them?

  • Garry_Owen

    Slowly laying down the framework for “The Return” . . .
    First step, verbal mea culpa. Check.
    Second step, full page ad, in Helvetica this time, congratulating LeBron and Heat on last year’s championship. Pending.
    Third step . . .

  • The_Matt_Of_Akron

    So seriously, are you Steve Lubratich, Director of Player Personnel?

  • BuckeyeDawg

    It’s his team, he got caught up in the emotion of the whole thing, and he said what he really felt. We’ve all been there, and I think we’ve all had that email we wish we could “un-send”. It made him more “real”, and it showed how much he cared and empathized with the fans. In a world where everything is sanitized, endlessly edited, and politically correct, I thought it was refreshing at the time, and I still think so today.

    He has nothing to apologize for or feel bad about in my mind.

  • BuckeyeDawg

    In my opinion, the sooner we stop caring what those “outside of Cleveland” think , the better off we will be. I’ve never understood why people in other cities seem to think that they should get to tell us how we are allowed to feel about our sports teams.

  • Steve

    That was no mea culpa. All he did was say that his prediction was wrong.

  • Steve

    Keep snooping. Maybe you’ll get lucky one day.

  • Steve

    Alright, as long we continue to think of that letter as a rallying cry, that perception will be, sadly, quite accurate. This is not the Cleveland that we pretend it is, where people pick themselves up by their bootstraps.

  • Garry_Owen

    I think you must have left your sense of humor in one of the conflicts you initiated above. It. Was. A. Joke.

  • Steve

    I initiated no conflicts. I’m not sure why people are so bothered by discussion and debate. Will people have more fun if we just all agreed with each other?

    And sarcasm is hard to pick up over the internet. From now on, every time you post incorrect information, I will just assume you were joking. Better?

  • Garry_Owen

    Wow. Why don’t you just avoid whatever I say. That would be better on your ulcer.

  • Garry_Owen

    Wow. Why don’t you just avoid whatever I say. That would be better on your ulcer.

  • mgbode

    the first hint that it was a joke was the Helvetica font. everyone knows that you can only print serious apologies in Corsica

  • ChiCavsfan

    The reason the LeBron betrayed hurts the most is it was the first time we could actually pay our best player and they still left.

  • http://www.facebook.com/cb.everett.9 CB Everett

    Got into it with this Steve character yesterday on an Indians thread (or rather he seemed intent on ball busting me). Glad to know it wasn’t just me. Hope he doesn’t have a dog to kick