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Nothing But Net: Instant Gratification


Thursday is an interesting day. It’s post-hump day, but still dozens of hours away from the sweet release of weekend. Some people treat Thursday like Weekend Eve’s Eve, engaging in various forms of debauchery and stumbling through Friday until 5 p.m.

For me, Thursday is extremely laid back: Go home, eat, watch TV, vegetate.

Last Thursday was a special evening: the LeBron James “Decision” on ESPN, where the basketball phenom revealed where he’d play ball next year. Oh, you didn’t tune in? I don’t know what you could possibly have done that is more important than an hour of LeBron highlight reels, mock-ups of what LeBron would look like in another team’s jersey (he didn’t pick the Knicks because blue and orange make him look fat) and commercials for a new drink at McDonald’s that looks like Silly Putty.


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LeBron made his announcement—he will head to Florida and play for the Miami Heat—and there was another 30 minutes or so of garbage post-decision discussion. When the clock ticked 10 p.m., the banter on ESPN ended, but the fallout on the Internet was just reaching category three. Message boards, blogs, news outlets—they all weighed in on the decision.

Then Dan Gilbert, the majority owner of LeBron’s former team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, chimed in. His response was, well, to make good use of the asterisk, f**king bat s**t crazy.

Dan posted an open letter on the Cavs’ website to the fans offering his thoughts on LeBron’s decision. Here are some excerpts (reproduced in Dan’s choice Comic Sans font, a favorite among fifth graders writing book reports):

“As you now know, our former hero, who grew up in the very region that he deserted this evening, is no longer a Cleveland Cavalier.”

“This was announced with a several day, narcissistic, self-promotional build-up culminating with a national TV special of his ‘decision’ unlike anything ever ‘witnessed’ in the history of sports and probably the history of entertainment.”

The actual letter from Dan Gilbert isn't on the Cavs' website anymore, so you get this instead.

“The good news is that the ownership team and the rest of the hard-working, loyal, and driven staff over here at your hometown Cavaliers have not betrayed you nor NEVER will betray you.”

“Some people think they should go to heaven but NOT have to die to get there.”

“The self-declared former ‘King’ will be taking the ‘curse’ with him down south. And until he does “right” by Cleveland and Ohio, James (and the town where he plays) will unfortunately own this dreaded spell and bad karma.”

And, of course, the money quote (cue CAPS LOCK):

“I PERSONALLY GUARANTEE THAT THE CLEVELAND CAVALIERS WILL WIN AN NBA CHAMPIONSHIP BEFORE THE SELF-TITLED FORMER ‘KING’ WINS ONE”

Which was followed by,

“You can take it to the bank.”

People are having a field day with Dan and his letter. And why shouldn’t they? This guy is the majority owner of a basketball team. He founded a loan service that employs more than 3,000 people. He’s an adult. And within three hours of hearing LeBron’s announcement—only enough people to count on one hand knew his decision, and Dan was not on that hand—he published a hilarious, disjointed rant that will undoubtedly be the most-read thing his name is ever attached to.

Snafus of this variety, on a smaller scale, happen daily, and we can thank the good ol’ Internet for it. Whether it’s a rapid-fire e-mail reply after an insulting message, a hasty, anger-fueled tweet or a Facebook wall post because, what the hell, I poked her and she didn’t poke back, having the World Wide Web at our fingertips has made burning bridges much easier.

There are ways to silence the little devil in your ear telling you to hit the “Send” button. Gmail has a great feature called Mail Goggles. You set the days and times Mail Goggles goes active, and if you try to send an e-mail during that period, you’re hit with a bunch of simple math problems and a timer to solve them. I’m quite good at mental math, but there are many times I’ve been too drunk to even see the keyboard yet managed to bang out some regrettable messages. Mail Goggles is a great way to prevent that.

A better way? Chill the hell out; it’s not worth it.

Follow me on Twitter! | Twitter.com/BradPareso
A day or so before “The Decision,” LeBron joined Twitter. I found this to be more strange than anything else: Why now?—he’s late to the party. Why bother?—Ron Artest and Shaq are more interesting/funny. And this guy wasn’t already on Twitter? Dude, you’re 25!

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