Regardless of how you feel about Lebron James or what you think about how his decision to sign with the Miami Heat, one thing is clear: Dan Gilbert, owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers, is not Lebron’s slave master. Just for those who are still unclear about this, the institution of slavery in America no longer exists. Unfortunately, some people still are hanging on to a slave master mentality. Dan Gilbert’s open letter (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=5365704) in response to the decision of Lebron James to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat evinced his feeling that he “owned” this Black man. I have to admit that I was not particularly fond of how Lebron James made such a spectacle out of his free agent status, but it is important for us to undertand that this 25 year old NBA superstar does not owe anyone anything. Lebron is his own man and is entitled to make his own decisions.
Dan Gilbert is trying to act like he is so concerned about the people of Cleveland. Be real Mr. Gilbert—you are only concerned with how Lebron’s departure from your team is going to dramatically impact your organization’s bottom line. Your team is going to go from the best team in the Eastern Conference to the worst team in the entire league because Lebron decided not to re-sign with the Cavaliers. I want Dan Gilbert to be more honest about why he is angry with Lebron: He is so angry because he does not have a team now—Lebron was the team.
For Gilbert to try to say that Lebron is tremendously arrogant (and I would agree with him on that), he has to assess his own arrogance and cowardice in sending out an open letter on the internet trying to embarrass and lambast Lebron. You should have talked to him face-to-face like a man insteading of pulling this cheap move reserved for cowards. Lebron never made you any promises about re-signing with the Cavaliers. He always said that he was exploring all of his options because this is a business at the end of the day. In the end, Lebron made the decision that he felt would be the best business move for him and he went through with it. It is inexcusable to pen an open letter on the internet trying to suggest that he did your organization wrong simply because he did not re-sign with it. Mr. Gilbert, when did free agents become obligated to re-sign with any team? Never!
Dan Gilbert, you are a coward! If I had access to you, I would tell you in your face how I feel about your letter, but I do not have direct access to you. You, however, have direct access to Lebron but you elected not to directly contact him. Lebron did not betray the Cavaliers and the city of Cleveland. This man is a businessman who made a business decision that was in his best interest. Dan Gilbert should understand that—he made a buisness decision when he employed Lebron. Remember that partner? Again, Mr. Dan Gilbert, you don’t own Lebron—lose your slave master mentality today!
Antonio Maurice Daniels
University of Wisconsin-Madison