July 14, 2010
While Dan Gilbert's rage in Comic Sans didn't do him any favors with David Stern, Jesse Jackson or Miami Heat superstars, it did win over some pretty important people — Cleveland Cavaliers fans. Distraught by the loss of their marquee player, Cavs fans embraced Gilbert's guarantees and disgust with LeBron James(notes). Now they're taking things a step further than just agreeing with him — they're helping him.
After being hit with a $100,000 fine for his ode to anger, Gilbert received an offer of his own from some Clevelanders who totally agree with everything he said, if not his font choice. From the Associated Press:
Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert has more fans and friends than he ever knew.
His emotional, controversial letter criticizing LeBron James for leaving to join Miami spawned an outpouring of fan support for Gilbert. A team spokesman said the team has received thousands of e-mails and phone calls, including some from fans offering to help Gilbert pay a $100,000 NBA-imposed fine.
Well, that's nice. Very nice. Probably not allowed by the NBA in any way, shape or form, but it's the thought that counts.
And while Gilbert is more than happy to take people's money in the form of high-interest loans, he has opted not to accept these fans' offers to 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 would 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."
Even though it's gotten him in some trouble with the league, Gilbert's pretty much nailed the PR part of losing LeBron James, at least in Cleveland. He showed the fans he was upset just like them, and that's sure to help them want to stay attached to the team. Now, he's trying to turn his fine into something good for the area. Good thinking, really.
Maybe all it will take for Dan Gilbert to become a beloved figure in Ohio is the loss of the best player in Cavaliers history. Every owner should try it.
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