Somewhere, Joe Namath Is Saying "Dayum!!"
In the history of professional sports, has there ever been a guarantee like the one Cleveland Cavaliers Dan Gilbert issued last night in the wake of LeBron James' departure for the Miami Heat?
When Namath guaranteed a Jets victory over the Baltimore Colts in Superbowl III, he was talking about winning one game, where anything can happen, and he did it with a smile on his face while reclining poolside in Miami.
He was also the quarterback of one of the teams and would therefor have a direct impact on the outcome of that game.
Gilbert's open letter promises not only a championship from the Cavaliers in the immediate future but years of heartache and misery for James and the city of Miami.
It reads less like a guarantee than a blood oath.
You can almost visualize him screaming it from the top of the Quicken Loans Arena while thunderbolts crashed around him (although the use of the Comic Sans font does dampen the dramatic tone slightly).
If you're a Cavaliers fan, you're thinking at least one of three things:
- Yeah! You tell 'em, Dan!
- ..but, um, how?
- This has been a possibility for more than two years; NOW you're motivated "to previously unknown and previously never experienced levels" to win a championship?
This open letter is also unique in that it deviates so far from the standard boilerplate a team puts out when a player leaves. Words like "narcissistic", "cowardly", "heartless" and "betrayal" are in the place where you would normally see some insincere-but-politically-safe platitudes about a "new direction", "thanks for the memories", "best of luck in the future" and maybe something about always being "a part of the (insert team name here) family".
To top it all off, Gilbert goes all Lord Voldemort and puts a "dreaded spell" on James and the (unmentioned) city of Miami, invoking generations of bad karma. The finished product makes you wonder what the rough drafts must have looked like.
I don't know how Gilbert plans to back up all these promises, but if nothing else, he has increased the NBA's lead over the NFL as the league with the loosest cannons for owners.