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Cavaliers in mourning: Who was Nick Gilbert, son of franchise owner Dan Gilbert?

The Cleveland Cavaliers have been dealt a major blow, with news confirming the death of franchise owner Dan Gilbert’s son, 26-year-old Nick Gilbert.

The Cleveland Cavaliers have been dealt a major blow, with news confirming the death of franchise owner Dan Gilbert’s son, 26-year-old Nick Gilbert.

Known to staff, players and fans alike, Nick Gilbert was a well-loved member of the Cavs organization and one whom many fans viewed as an embodiment of what the franchise itself was all about. A sad day indeed.

Nick Gilbert, son of Cavs owner Dan Gilbert passes away

According to reports, Nick Gilbert, the son of Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, died on Saturday at the age of 26-years-old. Gilbert suffered from neurofibromatosis, a rare genetic disorder with no known cure. Best known as the Cavaliers’ good luck charm during the NBA Draft Lottery, Gilbert held a special place in the hearts of Cavs fans.

Those who’ve followed will remember Gilbert representing the Cavaliers at the 2011 NBA Draft Lottery, which was a major moment for the team as it was in fact the first season following the departure of LeBron James. At the time Cleveland had two picks in the lottery. There was their very own selection which had the best possible odds of clinching the top spot, however, eventually fell to No. 4. Then there was the selection that the snagged off of the Los Angeles Clippers, which as fans will recall had a 2.8% chance of going at No. 1, but in the end did exactly that and as such, Kyrie Irving was what they got.

Nick Gilbert’s role as a good luck charm

Following the success of 2011, it came as no surprise when Gilbert was once again present for the 2012 lottery. It wasn’t as great a year for Cleveland as the one before, with the franchise finally falling to No. 4 with Dion Waiters, who would eventually be traded during the 2014-15 season. Yet, 2013 would prove to be special with Gilbert once again representing the team and the Cavs once again jumping to the No. 1 spot. To be fair, the player they got, Anthony Bennett, proved to be less than desirable but who could have known at the time. At any rate, Bennett was a key part of the deal that saw Kevin Love join the team.

It wouldn’t be until 2018, before Gilbert would represent the Cavs once again and in that year’s lottery they managed to claim the No. 8 overall pick which saw them acquire Collin Sexton. Sadly, Gilbert would not take part in another Lottery, but his presence would be felt as we saw in 2021′s edition, when he sent Cavs GM, Koby Altman two of his bowties - his iconic fashion choice - to be worn that night. The Cavs landed Evan Mobley at No. 3 and though Gilbert wasn’t there, it was widely accepted that it was his effect that got them their pick. To that end, it’s fitting to note that the Cavs wore bowtie emblems on their warmup jackets during this past season in tribute to Nick Gilbert. May he rest in peace, and may his family have the time they need to heal.


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