Cavs owner Gilbert to finally win crown ... as 'court jester'

So the King is back, huh? Unless we’re talking burgers, or you spotted Elvis on Lolly the Trolley, I’m not all that interested. Really.

The news that LeBron James is returning to play basketball for the Cleveland Cavs doesn’t have me terribly excited. No question it’s a strange dynamic, because if we had lured LeBron here from Miami – and he had no prior connection or history in Cleveland – I’d probably be leading the “Welcome LeBron” parade down East 9th, and be the first to plant a big sloppy kiss on his cheek. As we all know, though, that’s not the case. And, for your own edification, I don’t generally kiss basketball players.

The manner in which he dumped on Cleveland four years ago is never going to sit well with me. Maybe if LeBron does lead the Cavs to a championship, I’ll have a change of heart. After all, it is rather difficult to visualize me sitting and sulking all alone in a corner, while the rest of the city goes bananas over an NBA title.

But for all the venom I harbor toward the best basketball player in the world, there’s one guy who’s catapulted himself past LeBron (no easy task) on my seemingly ever-growing list of Cleveland no-goodniks.

If I gave you a hint and said it was the owner of a Cleveland pro sports franchise, you might still have trouble thinning the herd, based upon the track records of Jimmy (“I’ll run the Browns like I run my other businesses”) Haslam and Larry or Paul (“We’ll spend money to improve the team only when the contracts of other foolish choices run out”) Dolan.

If nothing else, the departure of LeBron James to greener pastures in Miami four years ago revealed the competence level of Dan Gilbert as owner of the Cavs. Gilbert, by virtue of inheriting LeBron when he bought the Cavs from Gordon Gund, rode the wave of good fortune which accompanied having the best player in the NBA. Gilbert was hailed by many as just the kind of owner the city needed (ironically, the same was said about Haslam, prior to the Flying J mess).

Unfortunately, when LeBron left, the true state of the franchise revealed its ugly head in the form of multiple coaching and personnel changes, and a flurry of poor draft picks, all of which have left the Cavs in the same sorry state of affairs it was before it drafted LeBron nearly a decade ago.

Gilbert is no idiot. Over the last four years, he has watched the Cavs return to a level of futility rivaled only by the teams of the Ted Stepien era, which is incredible unto itself. So, Gilbert wisely claims he patched up his relationship with LeBron simply for the benefit of the people of Cleveland.  

Don’t believe it for a second. Dan Gilbert is doing this so Cleveland and the rest of the sports world will finally stop laughing at him. Without question, the return of LeBron will make the Cavs a contender and they will once again be a dominant force in the NBA, and Gilbert will be able to shed the label of "Court Jester."

Just remember, Gilbert earned that title. This time around, let’s not be too hasty in removing it.

Jeff Bing

Lifelong Westlake resident who dabbles in writing whenever the real world permits. My forte is humor and horror...What a combo!

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Volume 6, Issue 15, Posted 9:42 AM, 07.22.2014