Remember when Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert ripped into LeBron James (in Comic Sans MS, no less) on the team's website, following the announcement that he'd be leaving Ohio to join the Miami Heat? Well, that open letter has opened up a whole other set of storylines to follow in these, the dog days of summer.
Since posting "The Letter," Gilbert has been fined by the league, he's faced criticism from Jesse Jackson, and somehow he's gained some street cred with Cavaliers fans. Not to mention the whole "Fatheads" thing...
Starting with the fine, NBA commissioner David Stern says Gilbert's response was "a little bit extreme," which is why he is making him pay $100,000 for it. Stern said he wasn't totally happy with how James presented his final decision though, since he told the Cavs he was leaving just minutes before the one-hour ESPN special began. In fact, Stern called it "ill-conceived, badly produced, and poorly executed," but that's no excuse for what Gilbert said.
Gilbert's comments also led to Jesse Jackson saying he spoke like a man with a "slave master mentality," saying the Cavs owner treated the situation as if he sees LeBron as a "runaway slave." In response, Gilbert said he strongly disagreed with the reverend's comments, but that's all he was going to say. Stern chimed in on this one too, saying Jackson may have been well-meaning, but he was mistaken this time around.
As for the 'street cred' - a group of Cavaliers fans have offered to pitch in to help Gilbert pay the NBA-imposed fine. While most of us were left scratching our heads after reading "The Letter," a team spokesman says they've received "thousands" of emails and phone calls since the fine was dished out by the league. Weird eh?
Gilbert says he'll pay the fine on his own, but he appreciates the gesture from the fans.
Now, onto the most bizarre storyline I've seen since King James vanquished his throne: Dan Gilbert is apparently getting historical on LeBron through one of the companies he owns, called "Fathead."
If you're unfamiliar with that company, they make life sized wall stickers of professional athletes for you to decorate your room with. Well, not surprisingly, the LeBron James "fathead" (which is funny on its own) has gone from retailing at about $100 to $17.41. What's significant about that, you ask? According to Bloomberg, that's the year that colonial army officer Benedict Arnold offered to surrender West Point to the British for money during the Revolutionary War ("you simply don't deserve this kind of cowardly betrayal").
The other LBJ sticker goes for $17.76, which I've determined (from a list of things that happened in that year I found on Wikipedia) to be the year that the Liberty Bell rings for the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence.
Is that supposed to represent Cleveland moving on from the King James era?
It's all pretty strange if you ask me. However, there is one more thing - and it may be the worst thing of all: TSN is apparently planning a hockey-themed "The Decision" featuring Ilya Kovalchuk...
God help us.