Reaction to Zach Lowe’s piece on the Cavs Lottery Crew

While all of us Cleveland sports bloggers were so obsessed on Wednesday debating what the Cavs should do with their newly won no. 1 pick, the national media was enjoying discussing the rather odd behavior of Dan Gilbert’s crew at the lottery.

The NBA Draft Lottery appears to be a naturally uncomfortable experience for everyone in attendance. The room is filled with stuffy individuals and no fans. The individuals who are selected by their teams as the utterly pointless representatives are forced to sit upon the platform for the full half hour while essentially nothing happens. It is an atmosphere where people are expected to act like they’re at a funeral it appears. In this very stiff room the Cavs contingent really stood out with their red bow ties and rappers.

Zach Lowe from Grantland.com wrote this piece about the lottery and especially focused on the Cleveland crew. He found them to be “very weird.” Lowe was especially intrigued by ESPN Cleveland’s Tony Rizzo who was the loudest of the bunch when the announcement was made that the Cavaliers were getting the no. 1 pick. Rizzo jumped out of his seat with a shout, clapping and yelling “YES! YES! YES! Atta boy, Nicky!” which came through loud and clear in that dead silent room. Lowe, who for my money is the best NBA writer out there, didn’t necessarily condemn the Cleveland crew; he just didn’t understand throwing a party to essentially celebrate the fact that you had an awful season.[1] Evidently he received a bit of backlash from Cleveland fans for the piece which lead to him sending out this peace-making tweet:

What Lowe, and probably everyone outside of Cleveland, doesn’t understand is that the swagger and attitude of the Cavs group is just what Cleveland is. For starters, you’ve gotta be a little weird/crazy to root for teams that never win. In my first column on Cleveland the GOAT I wrote that what makes Cleveland the greatest sports city of all time is our unflinching faith that someday we will win a championship despite not much evidence to support that belief. In Cleveland we’re constantly looking for something—anything that will bring us closer to a championship. Anything that will give us hope.

Everyone realizes that the reason that you’re at the lottery is being you stink; and that’s not exactly something to be celebrated. But the fact that they call it “winning the lottery” seems like it should be something to be celebrated. It’s good for the Cavs that they got the no. 1 pick. And if it’s good for the Cavs, I for one am going to celebrate it…because it gives me hope.

In Cleveland we’re always trying to make the best out of a bad situation. Been doing it for almost 50 years now. It sucks that we’ve gone to the lottery for three straight years. But if we’ve got to be there, why not have fun with it? And despite all the losing, it’s still fun to celebrate that you’re from Cleveland. That’s why you see everyone dressing in bow ties. That’s why you see Machine Gun Kelly there. That’s why you see Iron Chef Michael Simon there. And that’s why you see a media member like Rizzo standing and cheering. It’s because we’re from Cleveland, the city that we love. And THAT is always something to celebrate.[2]


[1] If you’re a basketball fan you should be reading Zach Lowe on Grantland. He’s a fantastic analyst and writer. I’ll probably reference his works a lot in my writing. And you should love him because he might be the only guy outside of Cleveland who’s paid attention to Tristan Thompson’s strong maturation as a player over his first two seasons in the league. I got your back, Zach.

[2] And just for the record, I’m done with this lottery crap but I’m done with losing. I’m sick of it. I’m glad that we’ve had good luck and all and that the process appears to be working. But I want to win now. Let’s get it done, Grant.

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