Ever since Nick Gilbert sat on stage two years ago in Seacaucas, NJ, rocked a swagged out bow tie/glasses combo that would make Urkel proud, and brought home the much needed first pick in the draft the NBA lottery has had new meaning in Cleveland.
Before the ping pong balls fell Cleveland’s way in 2011 it was a lowly time to be a Cavalier fan. The team had just finished a historically bad season and now we had to sit back and watch the one we made king try to win a title for that all white wearing, Backstreet Boy looking fan base in Miami.
Desperate times called for desperate measures and Dan Gilbert delivered. Along with his son Nick, Gilbert flew to the lottery with an entourage that was best described by the Machine Gun Kelly lyric “so Clevleand it’s a god damn shame”. Gilbert flew with the ultimate cleveland hero, Bernie Kosar, who represents all of us Clevelanders longing for the glory days even if we were never alive to see them. He flew with Josh Cribbs, whose loyalty and rare talents allowed us Clevelanders to anoint a kick returner the new king. And to complete Gilbert’s entourage was Browns’ cornerback Joe Haden who exemplified Cleveland’s need for a new star to cling to after the losing the sun a year earlier.
Gilbert’s crew, most notably Nick, succeeded in their task. They went to New Jersey with nothing but confidence and brought home hope. The formula worked so well in 2011 that they ran it back in 2012. Once again Bernie, Cribbs, and Haden joined the Gilbert gang in Jersey, along with the Irvings who were attending their second straight lottery as well, but their first as a part of team Gilbert. The results this time around failed in comparison to 2011 but the Lottery was now a date circled on the Cleveland sports calendar.
When I asked my buddy if we were having a watch party for the lottery, “I mean, why wouldn’t we” he replied.
Which brings us to Tuesday’s lottery. Gilbert once again brought an entourage with him. This time there were no Irving’s, Cribbs, Haden, or even Bernie. Instead, Gilbert’s crew consisted of the aforementioned Machine Gun Kelly, ESPNCleveland’s Tony Rizzo, Iron Chef Michael Symon, a lucky fan, and of course the Cavs’ lucky charm, Nick Gilbert (bowtie and all).
8:30 – The great Jay Bilas gives us a quick breakdown of Ben McLemore’s game, but refutes from uttering the words “wingspan” which keeps fans of the NBA draft drinking game at bay for another month.
8:33 – Heather Cox begins her interview with Anthony Bennett. My living room has already turned into a panic room. “Would we seriously take the guy in the sling that no one has ever heard of!?”
8:36 – Bilas continues to touch on some of the top prospects in the draft. My buddy’s girlfriend asks the obligatory question for the only girl in the room to ask, “Wait is this Cody Zeller related to Tyler?” We all give her props that she knew who Tyler Zeller was in the first place and begin dreaming of the Zellers vs. Hansbroughs rivalry that could develop between Cleveland and Indiana.
8:40 – Bill Simmons and the NBA Countdown crew give us their “Karma Lottery Power Rankings”. The Cavs are nowhere to be found, with Detroit taking the top spot. As much I have disdain for Detroit sports after living with a Detroit fan in college, it’s hard not to agree the Motor City deserves a break after watching Detropia.
8:43 – The whole room starts grilling me on why Scott hates the lottery. This is the most excited this room has been for Cavaliers basketball since Kyrie took down the Thunder a couple months back.
8:45 – Heather Cox begins to announce the representatives on stage for each team. Damian Lillard, Bradley Beal, Andre Drummond, and Kevin Love are all on stage. The first three make sense coming off strong rookie seasons, but it appears Love was there only to sell Ricky Rubio action figures. Not a bad gig may I add.
Nick Gilbert proclaims to the world that the Cavs are making a playoff run next year which brings cheers and the clinging of beer bottles to my antsy living room.
8:48 – Here we go. Deputy Commissioner Adam silver wastes no time and starts unveiling the envelopes. Detroit gets revealed as the 8th pick which means Washington moves in the top 3. Phoenix is shown at 5 meaning the Cavs still have a chance for the top three. Charlotte gets shown as picking fourth and my roommate begins an Irish jig that only the son of a woman named Patty McFadden could pull off. The Cavs have moved into the top 3 and the room has already proclaimed the night a success!
8:55 The Wizards are shown as the third pick…my family room goes silent as we all shoot each other looks as if to say “can we really do this again!?”
Pick number two…The Orlando Magic!!! And our Cleveland Cavaliers have the number one pick in the draft for the second time in three years, giving them the most number one picks of any franchise since the lottery’s inception.
8:57 – The room is too busy chest bumping, doing the “McLemore dance“, and flocking to iPhones to marvel over the dapper looking wine colored bow tie and blazer sported by Señor Gilbert.
8:59 – ESPN begins interviewing potential number one pick Nerlens Noel but this room has already begun dreaming scenarios of Noel, Irving, LeBron or packages to trade Minnesota for the Rubio action figure salesman Kevin Love.
9:00 – As the hypothetical situations and medical analysis of Noel’s knee begin to dominate conversation, I realize that for the first time in a long time a big time Cleveland sporting event has left me with a smile upon my face.
I love the lottery.