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Connelly: An open letter to Dan Gilbert



Originally Published: 12:00 a.m., July 8, 2014 and  Updated 09:59 a.m., July 8, 2014

Dear Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert:

As you now know, your former franchise savior, who grew up in the very region that he deserted on that unforgettable evening four years ago today, is no longer under contract with the better-looking woman he dumped you for in Miami.

In fact, rumors are swirling that he’s considering taking you back — despite your childish actions after his immature “decision” to leave you on national television.

Was “The Decision” a several-day, narcissistic, self-promotional build-up culminating in an announcement to leave Cleveland the wrong way to go about things? Sure.

Cleveland’s former hero even admitted so later on. But for the past four years that hasn’t mattered to you, or most Cavaliers fans, since the damage was already done and is still being talked about.

Your bitterness was clear in the open letter you wrote, name-calling and making promises that at the time probably felt gratifying and deserved. It was difficult for the non-Cleveland sports fan to lack sympathy for the franchise and its fan base that night, but you managed to do the impossible.

If Cavaliers fans believed you when you told them you were more motivated than ever to bring hardware to Cleveland, I can tell you that your shameful display of ownership in the years since then should have shifted their belief to previously unknown and previously never experienced levels — and most of them are Browns fans.

Some people think they should be gifted a once-in-a-generational player, fail to put championship pieces around him, and expect his unwavering loyalty.

Sorry, but that’s simply not how it works.

Despite the shocking lack of competence, and continuing self-pity with the so-called “curse” on Cleveland, the franchise has been awarded three of the last four top overall picks in the NBA draft lottery. And no, the self-proclaimed current King did not take the curse with him down south.

Instead he’s played in four consecutive NBA finals and has two rings to show for it.

He does not have to do right by Cleveland, or the Cavaliers, or most-especially you, Dan Gilbert.

But your actions and words over the next 48 hours could go a long way in bringing his return to fruition.

Where’s the public lobbying? Where’s the begging for forgiveness?

Do right by the past and correct your mistakes. Get down on your hands and knees and beg — or continue to watch his greatness from afar.

It’s not as much his choice as it is yours.

The fans simply don’t deserve this kind of foolishness from an owner. You have given so little and they deserve so much more.

In the meantime, I want to make one statement to you today, on the four-year anniversary of yours:

I personally guarantee that the Cleveland Cavaliers will not win an NBA Championship with you as an owner without the help of the self-titled King.

You can take it to the bank.

Do the right thing for once. Put your franchise in front of your ego and find a way to get LeBron James back to the city that once worshiped him and deliver them the championship they have long deserved and is long overdue....

Kevin Connelly is a sportswriter for The Vindicator. Write him at kconnelly@vindy.com and follow him on Twitter, @Connelly_Vindy.


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