CLEVELAND – In times of uncertainty, Dan Gilbert can count on the support of the fans – at least for now!
Cleveland sports fan haven’t exactly had much to cheer for in the last couple of decades. They have given their hearts to their teams, bled the colors of their franchises and have been repaid with mediocrity. LeBron James was supposed to be the savior of a city and for a time it seemed like he was the answer to their prayers. Now he’s gone, off to the white beaches of Miami, and Cleveland fans are left picking up the pieces.
Perhaps no one felt the sting of James’s decision more than Cleveland Cavaliers’ owner Dan Gilbert. He expressed his emotions in an intense letter to the fans, which was received with mixed reviews. NBA commissioner David Stern agreed with Gilbert’s intentions, but felt as though his choice of words were ill-advised and a little too strong. The commish handed Gilbert a $100,000 fine – mere pocket change compared to the financial toll that the LeBron James departure will have on his franchise.
Unlike LeBron James, the Cleveland Cavaliers fans aren’t going to jump ship. They have come out in numbers and given Dan Gilbert a pleasant surprise – to say the least. Cavs fans have not only embraced Gilbert’s GUARANTEE for a championship but they are also pledging to help the owner with his $100,000 fine.
His emotional, controversial letter criticizing James for leaving to join Miami spawned an outpouring of fan support. A team spokesman said the team has received thousands of e-mails and phone calls, including some from fans offering to help Gilbert pay his fine.
“The humbling offer by so many is another reflection of the strength of Cavs fans and the people who live and work in this region and are always the first to step up and have each other’s back,” Gilbert said. “I will pay this fine myself, but wool be grateful and highly appreciative for any fan who redirects the dollars they kindly offered to contribute towards this fine to the Cavaliers Youth fund, which will positively impact our region’s kids through the numerous local charitable groups the Cavaliers Youth Fund supports.”