Thursday Free Throws - Why the Cavaliers are 'different'


Ask and you shall receive.  Yesterday, I proposed that you, the reader, come up with a name for my daily bantering during the off-season.  I used 'Quick Thoughts', but felt it wasn't very creative.  Thanks to a reader who emailed me, we now have a name, at least until someone sends me a better name, and that's a BIG IF!

So, now I bring you 'Free Throws', a daily look into what I am thinking about in regards to the Cavaliers and the NBA in general.

Jumping right in, I saw alot of 'Here we go again' comments after the Cavaliers lost to the Magic last Saturday.  The OIC Complex(Only In Cleveland) was in full swing.  Who can blame you?  With the Browns and Indians a mess and 40+ years of anguish, it might seem like the stars, planets, heavens, etc are all aligned against the city of Cleveland from ever winning anything.  Many of you are counting down the days until LeBron leaves, resigned to the fact the it WILL happen.

Let me be the one to ease your tattered nerves.  The Cavaliers are different, from the top-down.

Unlike the Browns, whose part-time owner, who lives in the Hamptons and refuses to allow cameras in the room when he is interviewed, and the Indians, owned by the Dolan Family, way over their heads from the beginning, the Cavaliers are owned by a young, confident entrepreneur who knows how to win, in everything he does.  Dan Gilbert understands what it takes to success in business - the people - and he knows when to get involved and when to sit on the sidelines.

During his press conference yesterday, Gilbert let it be known that his one and only goal is to win a championship with the Cavaliers.

"We will win a championship in Cleveland, Ohio, it will happen."

Gilbert also talked about the financial aspect, when it comes to getting the players the Cavaliers need to get over the top.

"Financially, we will spend what we feel gives us the best risk/return opportunity to win a championship,"

Those are big words, especially in Cleveland, where the city has seen most of it's prized talent leave for 'greener' pastures.  How refreshing, and comforting, it is to hear the owner of a team HERE, in Cleveland, commit to doing whatever it takes.

Gilbert thinks outside the box.  It is a tough market for everyone, but instead of sitting back and allowing the economy to dictate to him, he is out there doing what he does best - selling his product.

The Cavaliers announced last week that Gilbert had agreed to seel a percentage of the team to Chinese investors.  While the deal still needs approval from the NBA Board of Governors, a virtual lock knowing David Stern's global desires, when completed it will infuse a n entire stream of revenue into the team, as well as open up our tiny city to the booming markets of China. 

Think of it this way.  A couple years ago, 300 million people in China watched a regular season game between Yao Ming and Yi Jianlian.  That is nearly 80% of the population, of the ENTIRE United States.  It is still a country that sells more Kobe Bryant jerseys than Yao jerseys as well.  The 2008 Olympics has done even more to boom the NBA in the Chinese market, and with LeBron James, the NBA's most marketable player, Gilbert is a step ahead.

Along with the revenue potential of such a deal, this is a huge coup for the Cavs in their attempts to persuade LeBron into staying next summer.  When compared to 1 billion Chinese, New York just doesn't seem so big anymore.  This deal will undoubtedly open the borders of China to LeBron and the Cavaliers unlike any other team really has access.  While Yao and Yi are Chinese players, you know David Stern wants an American-born player representing the NBA in Asia and LeBron is the perfect match.

The possibilities are endless!

I know it is tough to get so close only to fall short.  But Dan Gilbert is not Randy Lerner, and he is certainly not Larry or Paul Dolan.  These Cavaliers are not the Brows or Indians.  To win big in any sport, you need a little luck.  Sometimes you have to make your own luck, and Dan Gilbert has a penchant for getting lucky.

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