April 16, 2014

Building Cleveland’s Eleven

Clevelands11The great heist. You’ve seen the movies. An all-star cast gets together to pull off one big job. Along the way there are hi-jinx and laughs. Plot twists force our gang to change plans or everyone gets caught. It’s a great concept.

So I was thinking what if we made a team with Cleveland athletes?

I proposed the question twitter and took in some responses.

I asked for five on twitter due to the brevity of the medium. For our heist, we will employ the full compliment. Cleveland’s Eleven.

The Target

Even for an fantasy heist, we have to have a target. What would be worth stealing? What would be worth laying lives on the line for? A title of course. So I settled on a pair of items. Baltimore’s two Vince Lombardi trophies. I don’t even think we need to discuss why.

The Team

I didn’t go all crazy and lay out a bunch of rules. I wanted to see what suggestions came in. The athletes could be past or present. Doesn’t matter to me, but you can’t say Jim Brown in his prime. We’re pulling this job this year, so if you want Brown, you get 77 year old Jim Brown.

So without further adieu, here are the individuals I’m recruiting for my team. My Cleveland’s Eleven-

Chris Grant: The Mastermind. Every heist team needs someone with his skill set. Grant turned Mo Williams and Jamario Moon into Baron Davis and eventually Kyrie Irving. He flipped Jon Leuer for Speights, Ellington AND a first found pick. If that isn’t a master thief, I don’t know what is. Not everything he has touched has turned to championship gold though, and that gives him the drive to make this mission happen.

Dan Gilbert: The Bank. Every job needs bankrolled. Gilbert has been bankrolling Grant’s thefts for a while. He has some business savvy of his own. Plus he owns the Cleveland casino. Let’s face it, that’s where the team meetings are going to be held. Casinos make heist movies better.

Kenny Lofton: The Grease Man. Lofton was a master of stealing bases, and home runs. While he may not have the same speed as in his prime, I’m sure he can get the job done. The under-valued part of his game was how he studied pitchers and knew their moves. He can apply the same skill-set to our team.

Jason Grimsley: The Lackey. Because, well isn’t it obvious? Can you image how that conversation went down? “Jason, we need you to climb through the ceiling and go get Albert’s bat back.” That’s a guy you need on a mission like this. Doesn’t question, just goes and gets it done.

Brian Brennan: The Dual Threat. Brennan was the ultimate team guy, dependable and clutch. Plus he’s a pretty smart cookie. We see time and time again athletes that end their careers and squander everything. Not this guy. He’s an all star in business. He’s in.

Jason Kipnis: The Dirtbag. Kipnis was suggested several times on twitter. Mostly because of his ‘dirtbag’ reputation. By that we mean he isn’t afraid to get dirty to get the job done. Not that he’s a jerk or anything.

Omar Vizquel: The Glove. A magician with his hands. And he speaks Spanish. I don’t know why that’s valuable exactly in Baltimore, but who knows. Omar is a guy that will keep the gang loose as well.

Manny Ramirez: The Wild Card. As twitter user Brandon Ennett put it- “Every heist team has a guy you just know is going to mess up something simple.” Fantastic point. Manny gets in for upside and comedic potential. Plus, you can have one guy who may just jump ship for more money somewhere else. But only one.

Andy Varejao: The Brazilian. I like the addition of the Wild Thing. Guys that are willing to get completely run over on purpose to exploit a rule seem like the kind you need on a team like this. Give him a role and forget it. He’ll get the job done.

Phil Taylor: The Beast. Suggested by several as ‘The Muscle’ for the group. Taylor is a big guy. He is an intimidating guy. He tore a muscle lifting weights, and came back to play that season. I like. You’re in.

Nick Swisher: The Newbie. I was hesitant to include Swish, mostly because he’s new. Too many people had him on their list though. As our own Kirk pointed out, he’s a charmer. He’s a great clubhouse guy. He’s a cheerleader. He’ll pick the group up in the dark moments of the heist. Ok. You sold me. You’re in Swish. (Plus, that’s a great nickname for a thief isn’t it? Swish.)

For a little clarity, Boozer and LeBron not included. Initially I thought Boozer was a shoe-in because he was willing to dupe a blind guy. LeBron stole the heart of the city and then slit it open on national television. Both would seem like perfect choices to be on a heist team. Then I remembered- you don’t break rule number one.

That’s my team. My Cleveland’s Eleven. How about you? Let us know your changes or completely new squad in the comments.

  • JNeids

    The real reason you can’t have Boozer or Lebron is because as soon as the mission is over, they’ll stab you in the front and take the trophies.

    Only other person I could think of in the last thirty seconds is Brady Quinn – he’s the distraction because he’s so dreamy.

  • mgbode

    extremely well done, bravo.

    add-in that Omar is the ladies man. at some point in every heist, a girl will need to be unknowningly utilized (access to the stadium perhaps?). Omar would get that done.

    other guys I would consider:

    Mike Hargrove – your list above is missing the bitter, grizzly old guy that used to be important. Grover would take care of that angle.

    Hot Rod Williams – the nickname, the hair, the blocks.

    Earnest Byner – for full Redemption! he’d want to take those trophies back more than anyone on the list above. also acceptable: Steve Everitt

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

    Eric Metcalf. Just run him up the middle. They’ll never be able to catch him.

  • mgbode

    now I want Boozer on the list to setup the sequel.

  • ytownpete

    Joe hadden!? He can take everyone to dinner to build moral around the mission

  • Garry_Owen

    The only team guaranteed to steal that title:

    Art Modell. The Owner. (Yeah, yeah, I know he’s dead.)

    CC Sabathia: The Heavy.

    Cliff Lee: The Attitude.

    Jim Thome: The Hayseed.

    Ozzie Newsome: The Wizard.

    LeBron James: The Narcissist.

    Eric Wedge: The Grinder (aka “Twitchy McGee”) (I know he’s never won anything, but he’s got that “heist look” about him.)

    Bernie Kosar: The Cowboy. (Because, well, he did get a ring, though it’s probably hocked by now.)

    Jim Tressel: The Vest (aka “Transition Lens,” aka “No See’um”)

    George Steinbrenner: The Financier. (Yes, also dead, I know. Rules are stupid.)

    Kai Haaskivi: The Jedi.

  • JNeids


  • http://twitter.com/RickWFNY rick grayshock

    Thanks mgbode.

  • http://twitter.com/RickWFNY rick grayshock

    Ha. “Rules are stupid.” Sorry for imposing the one rule that the guys all have to be alive. Didn’t mean to limit you so severely.

  • Garry_Owen

    Yeah, sorry. It was meant as an ironic support to your disdain for imposing rules, seeing as how I can’t even abide by the one that you established. I contemplated saying “rule is stupid.” I should have done so.

  • Garry_Owen

    And didn’t one of those “Oceans” movies feature an actor that had died by the time the film went into theaters?
    I’m invoking that counter rule.

  • ThatAlex

    I’m only going to use current Cleveland individuals. No use picking people who have loyalty to other teams.

    Dan Gilbert – Bankroller
    Chris Grant – Head of Operations
    Terry Francona – Manager/Morale Man
    Nick Swisher – Jack of all Trades
    Joe Thomas – The Specialist
    Anderson Varejao – Mr. Energy
    Phil Taylor – The Enforcer
    Chris Perez – The Attitude
    Ubaldo Jimenez – The guy you think is screwing up the plan, but turns out to be part of the plan all along.
    Kyrie Irving – The Kid
    Alie Clifton – The Distraction

  • NeedsFoodBadly

    Brad Daugherty: The Driver -with all those years of watching NASCAR, something has to have rubbed off on him. He’ll need a custom driver seat to accommodate his long legs though.

    Mark Price: The Shooter – obvious.

    With those two on the team, you can shoehorn in a couple classic NBA Jam winks as well.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Larry Nance owns a drag racing team I do believe I’d give him the job over Daugherty plus Daugherty doesn’t exactly like Cleveland. Or maybe it’s just the Cavaliers.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    People forget about Boozer in this town what he did was much more egregious IMO then LBJ.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I can’t bring myself to call Grant a mastermind sorry still way to much work left for him to do.

  • mgbode

    are all members of the late 80′s Cavs now associated with racing?

  • Jaker

    I love some of your choices, but some of mine are slightly different…

    Jimmy Haslam- The Leader- It’s his mission, and he rounded up the gang. Also has a George Clooneyness to him.
    Dan Gilbert- The Bank- Every mission needs one, and he’s got the biggest piggy.
    Chris Grant- The Braniac- Lacks the smoothness of a leader, but he’s great at pulling off a heist (see Irving, Speights, Ellington).
    Jim Brown- The Wiley Vet- Yes he’s older and wont be outrunning grenades, but he’s done it before, and the team needs his experience.
    Nick Swisher- The Wildcard- He’s new in town, but he’s a guy you get behind pretty quickly. He’s got the “IT factor” and we need that.
    Vinnie Pestano- The Chameleon- Naturally blends in & doesn’t look that dangerous. But that’s when he gets you (Also looks like Matt Damon).
    Kyrie Irving- The Prodigy- One day, this kid will be the leader of the pack. And even though he’s shown signs of it, he’s only 21!!!
    Andy Varejao- The Do-it-all- I don’t think I need to explain this one, Andy does it all on the floor, and in the vault.
    Trent Richardson- The Driver- When behind the wheel and being chased, he simply can’t be stopped. Period.
    Phil Taylor- The Muscle- Rick said it best. Dude is a beast.
    Michael Bourn- The Grease-man- He’s a professional base STEALER. Once he gets his hands on the prize, you’ll never see it again.

    Even though there’s only supposed to be 11, the gang always gets some outside help, and I have some free time.

    Joe Haden- The Guard- Nothing gets past him. He’s security to the max. Used to be in the field, but a drug suspension will keep him at bay.
    Carlos Santana/Asdrubal Cabrera- The International Hookups- The gang always needs something from a shady Latin community.
    Paul Kruger- The Cleaner- It cost a lot to get this guy, but the gang needs him, even if they overpaid for his “services”
    Boobie Gibson- The long range shooter- Yes he’s not as depended on anymore, but he’s done it so much they trust him.
    Jason Kipnis/Lonnie Chiz- The Brothers that always fight- When the gang gets a few guys pinched, they call Kip&Chiz for backup
    Chris Perez- The Explosives Guy- He’s dangerous, and they don’t want him in the gang, but he’s got the Heat, and they need it.

    Wow. I think I’m done here.

  • dwhit110

    Not John “Hot Rod” Willia… oh, wait.

  • JNeids

    That’s like comparing apples to backstabbing oranges.

  • http://twitter.com/RickWFNY rick grayshock

    After this published I thought of adding Kyrie Irving as ‘Master of Disguise’. Maybe the sequel…

  • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

    here’s mine. the clooney role was toughest, but i have to give it gilbert.

    1 clooney (brains, leader) /gilbert
    2 pitt (lost soul) /lebron
    3 damon (up and comer) /kyrie
    4 bernie mac (grifter) /braylon
    5 casey affleck (black ops1) /manny
    6 scott caan (black ops2) /haden
    7 eddie jemison (the gadget maker) /dawson
    8 shaobo qin (burglar) /lofton
    9 don cheadle (execution guy) / belle
    10 carl reiner (sage) /francona
    11 elliott gould (mentor) /jim brown
    12 julia roberts (eye candy) /halle berry
    andy garcia (nemesis) /pat riley

    the french guy in the sequel /boozer

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

    Kai Hasskivi (rubbing white beard)…now that’s a name I haven’t heard in a long time…

  • Garry_Owen

    I think my uncle knows him. He said he was dead.

  • dan

    Given that Jim Brown was actually in one of the greatest heist movies of all time (The Dirty Dozen), he’s got to be included in some role here. Don’t care that he’s older.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    If Boozer is the orange I agree.

  • NeedsFoodBadly

    Daugherty is part-owner of a NASCAR team and once owned a NASCAR truck team. He gets the advantage over drag racers because he knows how to make a turn (albeit over and over and over again).

    What’s this about him not liking Cleveland/the Cavs though?

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I always liked Nance’s “Catch-22″ team not sure if he still does it.

    Daugherty supposedly won’t come back to Cleveland for any Cavaliers events because he is unhappy for the way Wayne Embry was treated when he was in the front office. Even after the change in ownership. Not exactly sure what the specific grievance is but I’ve heard it talked about on numerous Cleveland sports shows.

  • hutch058

    i like your list!

  • Alan

    Vizquel is a must, if only to have the kids in Baltimore yelling “Omar coming yo!”

  • LaundroMat

    “So without further adieu,”


    Aside from that, your thinking with Lofton is sound, but he’s too obviously suspected as a thief: I’d go with Alex Cole instead — a fleeting stealing phenom.

  • saggy

    I can’t believe this comment doesn’t have a hundred “likes”

  • Kildawg

    Bernie Mac. He had a funny show too.

  • Kildawg

    I thought Jim Brown was the bitter, grizzly old guy that used to be important…

  • mgbode

    he was mentioned by Rick but not listed, so I decided to try to go a different route. he certainly works there too.

  • matt underwood

    cannot believe phil dawson wasnt picked