LeBron James came back to the Cleveland Cavaliers on no uncertain terms. The four-time MVP is largely believed to have forced a trade for Kevin Love before returning to his hometown team, and it was no mystery why the front office signed his good buddies James Jones and Mike Miller, too, in the summer of 2015.
In a recent column by ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, we learn of James’ frustration with his franchise’s culture in his first Cleveland stint. Windhorst explains the ways in which LeBron has tried to make the Cavs more like Pat Riley’s deadly serious Miami Heat, with one of the characters who stands most in his way being team owner Dan Gilbert — he of Comic Sans fame.
A lover of practical jokes, Gilbert once wanted to dummy up a fake news release that the Cavs were signing Dennis Rodman to a 10-day contract and put it out on April Fools’ Day; he was talked out of that one. After a playoff victory over the Washington Wizards 10 years ago, Gilbert had a remote-controlled fart machine installed under coach Mike Brown’s seat. When Brown went up to the dais for the postgame news conference, Gilbert stood in the back and worked the controls. Brown was flummoxed — although the microphones didn’t pick up the sounds.
Flatulence jokes notwithstanding, James is known league-wide to have more influence over his team’s decisions than just about any NBA player has, ever. We’ll see if his winds of change make a big enough difference to topple the Golden State Warriors in the Finals.