Friday , Jul , 09 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Dan Gilbert: LeBron ‘quit’ during playoffs

He has gotten a free pass," Gilbert said in a phone interview with The AP. "People have covered up for [James] for way too long. Tonight we saw who he really is."

"He quit," Gilbert said. "Not just in Game 5, but in Games 2, 4 and 6. Watch the tape. The Boston series was unlike anything in the history of sports for a superstar."

"It’s not about him leaving," Gilbert said. "It’s the disrespect. It’s time for people to hold these athletes accountable for their actions. Is this the way you raise your children? I’ve been holding this all in for a long time."

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HoopsVibe`s Very Quick Call: I’m certain Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert will be receiving a phone call from Commissioner David Stern telling him to cool it.

Sure, LeBron James showed zero class by announcing he was leaving Cleveland for Miami on national television, embarrassing an owner, organization, city, and, state that has showered him with adulation and love for seven years.

And sure, James mailed it in against the Boston Celtics in the 2010 playoffs and was pretty mediocre against the Orlando Magic in the 2009 Eastern Conference Finals.

So Gilbert has a point, a very good one, in fact.

However, owners don’t do this. Owners don’t act like jilted lovers when things don’t go their way. Owners don’t write nasty letters to fans, essentially hexing the face of the league –even if it’s totally justified.

Owners are supposed to model professionalism for fans, players, front office staff and, heck, even the guy pouring pints at Quicken Loans Arena.

By doing this, by stooping to James and Maverick Carter’s level of nonsense, Gilbert has made it harder to attract a star(s) to replace The King.

After all, players talk. And James and his posse will put out the word to the fraternity of ballers that Gilbert is a micromanager, tyrant, and jerk.

This may or may not be true. The NBA is like life, though. Perception is reality. And the gossip will overshadow Gilbert’s desire to win championships and his willingness to write multi-million dollar luxury tax cheques to achieve this end.

Right now, Gilbert, an Alpha Male billionaire, must do something out of character. He must turn the other cheek. He must take the high road.

If he can’t stay somewhat silent, if he can’t stay mum, then the businessman must immediately tone down the rhetoric and describe his frustration in a more appropriate and reasonable manner.

Gilbert is right: the people of Cleveland and Ohio deserved far better from James. Those same people also deserve far better from Gilbert, too.

– Oly Sandor.

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