Chat Transcript: Gordon Gund, May 22
They got the pick, now what are they going to do with it?
Gordon Gund, the owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers, chatted with NBA.com moments after winning the top pick in NBA Draft 2003. Here's what he had to say in response to your questions about all things LeBron James.
South Dakotan: Will you take LeBron?
Gordon Gund: We've thought long and hard about it, but we will. We will. (Laughter.)
New York: Are you happy???
Gordon Gund: I'm very excited, particularly for the fans in Northeast Ohio. Fans in that part of the state have been tremendous supporters of ours and it's a great thing for them.
Seattle: Since you will draft LeBron, what will his number be? I'm trying to pre-arrange the purchase of his jersey.
Gordon Gund: His number, if it's the one that he wants, will be 23, which is what he wore as a high-school player.
Rick (Cleveland): Will you have extra season ticket reps available tomorrow morning?
Gordon Gund: Not only will we have them tomorrow morning, they are available right now! And the number is 216-420-2287.
Akron: Mr. Gund, what steps will you take to ensure LeBron has the right people around him? That much fame and money is a lot for an 18 year old to handle on his own! Not to mention the added pressure of being a hometown hero.
Gordon Gund: We haven't had a lot of time to think about it, but all of our player should have the right people around them. We would like quality veteran leadership to have that kind of impact -- and help guide -- the younger players. I should add that we are in the process of hiring a new coach, and one of the criteria is that this coach is someone who can develop a young player's skills on the court and his character off the court.
jcizzle (cleveland): First of all, congratulations Mr. Gund. Secondly, can you comment on what kind of an effect this lottery will have, not only the Cavs organization, but more generally, the entire city?
Gordon Gund: Thank you, J. The biggest effect it will have is that they know LeBron James so well, and over the years this will give him time to develop realistic expectations. This will make them very proud of him over the years to come.
ELMSFORD: Hey what are your highest hopes for LeBron and Cleveland in the next five years?
Gordon Gund: That he realizes his potential as part of the team, and that he can get his teammates together so that they will be able to compete for a championship.
Patricio (Mexico): Congrats, Mr. Gund! Do you think LeBron will take the Cavs to the playoffs?
Gordon Gund: Thank you! We are very hopeful that we can compete for a playoff position this year. It won't be just Lebron. We have great young players like Carlos Boozer, Ricky Davis. Dajuan Wagner and an All-Star center in Zydrunas Ilgauskas. We also hope to add some veteran players to improve the point-guard position.
Ohio: What impresses you the most about LeBron?
Gordon Gund: Well, his unselfishness. He has great court vision and a tremendous ability to make his teammates better and that's the kind of thing that makes a team successful. He has those strengths already.
Eric (Great Falls, VA): Congratulations Mr. Gund! Assuming the Cavs will draft LeBron, where do you think he fits in with the team? Do you think that he can co-exist with Ricky Davis and Darius Miles, especially when they have similar position demands?
Gordon Gund: I have been told by his basketball people that he has the ability to play a number of positions. We're determined to get a coach who can meld the players, and get them to work and play together as a team.
norfolk: When is the party?
Gordon Gund: (Laughter.) The party's already started. At Champs in Valley View, if you want to stop by there may still be room. Also, stop by our draft party on June 26 at our arena.
Gordon Gund: Thanks to all the fans for their support over the years and come out and enjoy the fun.