One year ago, the NBA got to know the precocious young teenage son of Cavaliers owner Nick Gilbert. Known as the team’s good luck charm, Nick was on hand for the lottery and the team cashed in, getting the number one pick in the draft.
On that night, Gilbert coined the phrase, “What’s not to Like” and the saying applies, big time, to young Mr. Gilbert. His signature bow tie, and thick glasses were somewhat of a fashion statement, but his personality won over many.
Along with his personality, millions came to understand the physical situation Nick has been dealing with his whole life. It’s called neurofibromatosis, a nerve disorder that causes tumors to grow in the body. Nick has been an ambassador for the Children’s Tumor Foundation. This year, Nick hopes to raise funds not only for CTF, but also for families and children who are battling hard to beat the odds at the Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital for Rehabilitation. Through the Cavaliers Youth Fund, a donation will be made to build a new “family room” space for children and families to enjoy time together outside of their hospital rooms. This continues the Cavaliers’ Legacy Project at the Children’s Hospital for Rehabilitation, where the team built an outdoor basketball court last summer.
This year, young Mr. Gilbert and fellow good luck charms, Joe Haden and Josh Cribbs of the Browns, flew to New York.
Both Haden and Cribbs rushed away from Browns practice on Wednesday afternoon to make the flight on Gilbert’s private plane. “It’s going to be fun,” Haden told reporters. “Last year, right after they got the number one pick, (Dan Gilbert) said, ‘From now on, if we’re ever in the lottery, hopefully we’re not, but if we are, you and (Josh) Cribbs are coming.’ “
They were joined in New York by former Browns great Bernie Kosar and the Irvings: Rookie of the Year Kyrie, and his dad, Dred. However, one item was missing. Nick Gilbert’s bowtie was misplaced. A replacement would have to do. To try to spread the good luck, everyone in the Cavalier travel party was wearing a bowtie and thick glasses.
Another item had changed as well. The site of last year’s lottery was in New Jersey. This year, the ping-pong balls bounced at the Disney Studios in Times Square.
Dan Gilbert joked that Nick would be grounded for the summer if he did not get the number-one pick again.
Wednesday night, it was officially confirmed the Cavs had the fourth pick in the draft. Not a big night like a year ago, but none the less, the fourth pick will yield a very good young player to team up with Kyrie Irving. The Cavs contingent was no doubt disappointed, but this year’s talent pool will yield a very strong young player. No, Nick will not get grounded.
Shortly after the team found out they would pick number four, Cavs general manager Chris Grant told reporters, “Tonight was a very positive step in the process, and we are going to add more good players to our foundation.” He went on to say, “One thing we have to talk about a lot with our ownership, is they like being aggressive. We will look at a lot of different options once we get everyone in here and do our research, but I presume we will pretty active.”