Finally a Cavs game worth talking about

by Cleveland Frowns on January 24, 2012

Could there be anything more petty and dumb than the idea that a major professional sports franchise shouldn’t retire the jersey of by far the greatest player in its history just because that player exercised his lawful free agency rights as a 25-year-old? Technically, probably just the owner of that franchise and the legions of insanely entitled fanboys that cheer him on.

Anyway, it’s what we have to hear about again on Cleveland talk radio today with the Cavs set to play the Heat tonight in Miami, so it’s as good a time as any to remember: Even if you hadn’t rocketed to impossible fame and fortune from the back seat of your homeless crack-addicted single-mother’s car by the age of 18 to find yourself in the employ of a gilded loan shark who, along with everyone else around you, could do nothing but bend over for you at every turn for seven-plus years out of fear of running a gravy train off the tracks … even if that wasn’t you, and as much as you might have or should have understood how much you were going to hurt the people of Northeast Ohio if you left … you might still have had really good reasons to decide you didn’t want to work for a guy like Dan Gilbert anymore.

A number of which might have nothing to do with his organization’s inability over seven years to give you a teammate who was any better than Mo Williams D Block! Anderson Varejao, that are strongly suggested by certain especially useful pages on the internet.

Like this Crain’s Detroit report on a lawsuit brought by loan officers who worked for Gilbert’s Quicken Loans who alleged that Quicken unlawfully withheld overtime pay despite having created “a [work] environment where they are forced to sell at all times and are chastised for working less than 60- to 70-hour weeks”:

[An attorney for plaintiffs] pointed to a Gilbert e-mail telling employees to have a nice Thanksgiving, but adding: “How many mortgages will you sell at your Thanksgiving dinner?

Gilbert said friends and family of employees are given a discount on loans and are encouraged to promote the products.

“That was kind of tongue-in-cheek,” Gilbert said. “The rates had come down, and we had some great products, so there was some truth to it.”

Gilbert also responded to an e-mail Lukas displayed in which Gilbert equated the time people spend at Quicken as being a time in their life that “passes in a moment but leaves a memory that lasts forever,” similar to the birth of a child or hitting a home run in the bottom of the ninth inning in a big game.

I send e-mails like this from time to time,” Gilbert said. “I’ve had fun with them. They’re meant to motivate people.

And this, from the Center for Public Integrity, on Quicken’s “high-pressure salesmanship to target elderly and vulnerable homeowners, as well as misleading borrowers about their loans, and falsifying property appraisals and other information to push through bad deals”:

Last February, a state court judge in West Virginia found that Detroit-based Quicken had committed fraud against a homeowner by misleading her about the details of her loan, charging excessive fees, and using an appraisal that exaggerated the value of her home by nearly 300 percent. The judge called the lender’s conduct “unconscionable.”

. . .

In court papers, some former employees say Quicken targeted vulnerable borrowers for deals that they didn’t want or need.

Nicole Abate, a loan consultant for Quicken in 2004 and 2005, said managers told her to push adjustable rate mortgages, known as ARMs in industry parlance. She recalled selling a loan to a customer who had cancer and needed cash to pay medical bills: “I could have offered him a home equity line of credit to pay these bills but, instead, I sold him an interest-only ARM that re-financed his entire mortgage. This was not the best Quicken loan product for him, but this was the one that made the company the most money.

One way that Quicken hustled borrowers, several former employees said, was a sales stratagem known as “bruising.” As one former employee described the technique, the goal was to “find some bad piece of information on their credit report and use it against them, even things as insignificant as a late credit card payment from several years ago. Quicken’s theory behind this was that if the customers can be scared into thinking that they cannot get a loan, then they will be more likely to do business with Quicken.

Several former workers said the company also trained them to hide many details of the company’s loan packages from borrowers.

According to papers filed by the ex-employees’ attorneys, the stream of emails and memos that management sent to salespeople included this admonition:

We must use Controlled Release of Information. This consists of giving only small nuggets of information if the client is PUSHING for answers.. . . The controlled release of information should be used when the client asks specific questions.

The company did not answer questions about the ex-employees’ accounts of questionable sales tactics.

. . .

The company distances itself from many of its counterparts by insisting that it never peddled the brand of risky loans that helped create the mortgage meltdown. “We never did these kinds of loans that really started this mess, the subprime loans,” Gilbert told The Cleveland Plain Dealer. “We just never got into that business.”

Borrower lawsuits and statements from ex-employees, however, indicate that Quicken sold some classes of risky loans during the mortgage boom.

These included “interest-only” loans and “negative amortization” loans, which have been criticized by consumer advocates because they provided the illusion of low initial payments but were dangerous in the long run because they didn’t pay down borrowers’ mortgage debt. In the case of negative amortization loans, borrowers’ debt grows even as they make on-time payments.

In the West Virginia fraud case decided last year, the judge found that Quicken had landed 45-year-old Lourie Jefferson, a licensed practical nurse, into a complex mortgage product that would have required her to come up with a $107,000 “balloon payment” at the end of 30 years to finish paying off a loan of just under $145,000.

The Ohio County, W.Va., judge also found that Quicken used a “misleading and distorted” appraisal that puffed up the value of Jefferson’s home, which was worth less than $50,000, to $181,700. Quicken “ignored obvious flaws” in the appraisal report, the judge said.

And don’t forget about the casinos, per Dave Zirin writing in the Nation:

As foreclosures reached record highs in Cleveland, Quicken Loans reported that 2009-2010 has been their most profitable period in the company’s history. Now as people throughout the state of Ohio have lost their homes and livelihoods at the altar of Quicken Loans, Gilbert has announced that he will be opening four casinos throughout the state. He also funded the state referendums that secured his right to legalize gambling in the state. Anyone who has been to a casino in Detroit can predict what their Ohio variant will look like: working class families—black, brown, and white—dragging their kids to the bingo parlor and the penny slots hoping against hope they can raise enough to keep the bank from taking their home—perhaps even thanks to a subprime mortgage courtesy of Quicken Loans.

As much as one might like to like to think that LeBron could have overcome this force of darkness had he stayed in town, or at least have helped the city overcome it, it’s really a lot for one 25-year-old to bite off, especially after having lived a full seven-plus years of nothing but undiluted obsequiousness on the part of everyone around him.

Yet still LeBron has apologized for the Decision about seven times now. He’s also said that he’d be open to returning to Cleveland, and it’s actually extremely easy to see him wanting to make things right back home in a few years. But the consensus is that this would never be allowed to happen as long as Dan Gilbert owns the Cavaliers, and Gilbert has never said a word to suggest anything to the contrary.

“A shocking stance of regressive short-sighted self-interestedness from our carpetbagging sloganeering loan shark/slot machine profiteer that sends the exact opposite lesson of what we want fathers of our prodigal children to learn.”

Cleveland’s favorite owner; the only place where retiring the jersey of an NBA franchise’s all time greatest player would ever be a question absent a felony conviction; just a complete embarrassment.

The Heat should win by 60 tonight.

  • http://twitter.com/lilOUmikey Michael Tricarichi

    I used to go to the gym in Tower City, Rezults, that was right next door to the Cleveland Quicken Loans office, and often shared elevators with their employees. There were two types of employees, the ones racing to their next smoke break just to add some sanity to their 12 hour work day, and ones who were the greasiest, slimiest scum on the face of the earth. In no way am I surprised by the reports posted above.

    • Anonymous

      Likewise, I am in no way surprised by your report. Thank you.

    • Anonymous

      Sounds like the elevators at the hospital. (We nurses were the first type, of course.)

      • actovegin1armstrong

        CLTIL,
        And the second type? (You have doctors. Or am I mistaken?)

        • Anonymous

          Type 2 would be a smattering of everyone who is not a nurse. And no, you are not mistaken.

    • http://brian23.com Brian

      Because smoking = sanity? lol

  • Anonymous

    No Wade County tonight either.. (6-1 without him) Heat -12.5, so far 98% on Heat, but that should change as we get closer to gametime. i’ll take Cavs +59 please!

    • Anonymous

      Gilbert vs. the 98-percenters is just about exactly right.

      • Anonymous

        You are on fire today!

  • Anonymous

    Wow. Words fale me……Our Own Noble Polemicist. Li’l FrOrange…..he used to be so cute…chasing a stick ball from sewer to sewer…..

    Wonder if he ever considered a larger venue….like Der Deutschelandhalle

  • Coachie Ballgames

    kyrie irving has had his struggles, but looks like he could be dope in the years to come. And the jerseys are among the sharpest-looking in the league, so there’s all that going for em.

    • Anonymous

      Yup, an Eastern Conference six seed is a distinct possibility one of these years soon. Or maybe he could look really good in four years taking over throwing alley-oops to Blake Griffin in L.A. Or maybe he keeps playing defense like LaMond Murray.

      • Anonymous

        Frownie, you’re a self-admitted non-nba fan, especially before the Super Bowl.. stick to pro-mangini talk and leave the the Kyrie and Cavs hate to Old Man Carl..

        • Anonymous

          What about LaMond?

          • Anonymous

            not really a good comparison for various reasons:

            1. Lamond played for the Clippers for his first 5 years, enough said.. but i’ll go on..
            2. Different position
            3. Kyrie doesn’t have an older cuz named Tracy showin him the ropes of how to get paid by not playin no defense
            4. Kyrie’s older cuz is named Lebron, who gradually improved his defense each and every year, it takes time. kyrie does have those long arms that has helped with steals and blocks, but with experience he’ll get better defensively..

  • Humboldt

    @Pete – Much as I disagree with your intransigent stance on Mangini, I applaud you for continuing to advance your balanced argument about Lebron. Most of the discussion about The Decision has generated far more heat than light while revealing a troubling dearth of empathy for LBJ, so thanks for your insightful handling of it.

    I think it’s inevitable that the franchise will retire Lebron’s number, but there’s still healing to do, and these things take time.

    Also, implausible though it may seem, I have an intuitive sense that Lebron could well return to Cleveland at some point later in his career. What a story of redemption and forgiveness it would be…

    • Anonymous

      Wait, what are you trying to say about Mangini?

      • Humboldt

        It just sometimes feels like your Waterloo

        • Anonymous

          I swear I was only kidding when I asked.

          • Humboldt

            I know, I appreciate your irony. Was just trying to contrast the dogma of the anti-Lebron crowd with your unyielding stance on Mangini ;).

          • actovegin1armstrong

            Frownie,
            What is the problem with Waterloo?

            Waterloo has a very good porter and a suitable IPA as well.
            I will buy the first few rounds if you help me get to my bicycle and unlock it.

  • Vari

    Again with the help crap. They had the best record in the NBA! Excuses, excuses. I hope he blows out both knees.

    • Anonymous

      LOL @ “regular season champs.”

      This reminds me of a certain 1995 football team that didn’t make the playoffs, and a 1996 version of the same that did, fwiw.

      • Vari

        That 1996 team did a fair LBJ choke impression if I remember correctly. Did you guys just decide to shoot it lefty?

        • Anonymous

          If a certain starting quarterback and starting inside linebacker would have been smart like me and not given their car keys to a certain “Mrs. A.” on a certain fateful night it would be a completely different story and you know it.

          • Anonymous

            Weren’t there pictures of a certain qb and lb drinking underage that were brought to the yearbook advisers attention?

          • Anonymous

            NO COMMENT. Other than to say that a certain (stud) TE was not in any such pictures, and was perfectly eligible, healthy, and routinely wide open to catch a number of passes that bounced in the mud at least 10 feet in front of him in that game.

            PLUS the other team had three guys in their front seven go D-1. Our game plan was to take advantage of our speed but there was a three hour downpour before the game and we played in a foot of mud (NO FANCY TURF BACK THEN GET OFF MY LAWN).

            THAT IS ALL.

          • actovegin1armstrong

            Frownie,
            Were you doing speed?

          • actovegin1armstrong

            Frownie,
            Really?
            “routinely wide open”
            Every receiver comes back to the huddle after every play saying they were wide open.
            The defense had their Nose Guard drop back and out run you.
            (Nothing personal, I just have an aversion to receivers who are always open.)
            Also, I do not know anything about football, but….
            I have heard that a sloppy field favors the offense, because the defense does not know where they are going and the receivers just run their silly patterns.

          • Anonymous

            In one way you are right about the sloppy field because I was wide open the whole game.

            But we also had to block these guys who were twice our size and the sloppy field really didn’t help there at all.

          • J Vari

            Excuses, excuses. I believe you said ours was because it was too cold? I guess yours is because it was too sloppy.

  • Anonymous

    Give me a break. You come across like someone who’s trying to impress the rest of the sporting world by acting “above” regular Cleveland fans and their reaction to “the Decision.”

    Sure, there are reasons LeBron is the way he is. But having an excuse for being a dick doesn’t mean he’s not a dick.

    And why would Cleveland fans want to hang a reminder of something so painful in the rafters, especially while he’s still playing? It’s their arena. There’s no amount of “fairness” that should force them to hang a banner/jersey that will make them feel awkward/uncomfortable.

    Fans have every right to still be mad at LeBron, as long as they keep it in the proper perspective of sports. He dissed his own home/state, which was already the poster child of dissed regions in the nation. It lacked class, and naming it “The Decision” was even worse. We can forgive without forgetting.

    • kjn

      He’s not “acting above regular Cleveland fans”. He’s actually there.

      • Anonymous

        DON’T encourage him.

    • Anonymous

      Exactly. If Cleveland fans feel too “awkward/uncomfortable” retiring the jersey of the best player in franchise history just because that player didn’t want to play for Dan Gilbert anymore, it is exactly like I am saying about “a complete embarrassment.”

      So, what’s *your* excuse for being a dick? It seems that LeBron might be one up on you there.

      I’d tell you mine but I assume it’s obvious.

      • Anonymous

        These are my reasons: http://ow.ly/8ELlf

        And I wouldn’t call it “being a dick” so much as the requisite level of spite for someone who took such a despicable approach to a decision everyone agrees he had the right to make.

        LeBron has no “one up” on me in the “being a dick” category. I’m just some guy who wrote an article last summer and roots against him in my free time when I’m not rooting FOR Cleveland. LeBron, on the other hand, is a guy who feigned a commitment to the fans and franchise, and instead of leaving respectfully and/or acting respectfully towards the “butt-hurt” fans, he has taken almost every opportunity to act cruel (either intentionally or just by being out of touch).

        None of this excuses Dan Gilbert being Dan Gilbert. And there are ways to not “hate on LeBron” that don’t involve making his apologies for him. See: John Krolik. (You read more like Henry Abbott.) But I don’t see what you add to the discussion other than being the one Cleveland blog that most resembles the ESPN LeBron Apology network.

        I don’t think it makes you come across as a smarter basketball analyst as compared to the other, “butt-hurt” fans of Cleveland. It makes you look like someone who’s pandering to the in-crowd because you think Clevelanders look pathetic to outsiders and you don’t want to be lumped in. Rather than embrace the different perspective, you belittle your fellow fans in order to distance yourself from them.

        Regardless of your opinions integrity/point-of-origin, I simply disagree.

        There’s nothing “embarrassing” about a group of fans electing not to hang the jersey of the city’s most reviled player from its rafters, regardless of his talent and performance for the franchise. (On a related note, does LeBron need more accolades? What he really needs is a ring.)

        What would be embarrassing, in my opinion, would be to kowtow to the desires of this petulant manchild who wants the city he treated with no respect to treat him with the ultimate respect of retiring his number forever.

        Or, say, being that one Clevelander who write the column about how LeBron’s not all that bad and how most Clevelanders are just “butt-hurt.”

        I also hope the Cavs don’t lose by 60.

        • Anonymous

          You nailed it. On that last part, I mean, with respect to my position on the kind of Clevelander you’re talking about.

          Re: the edits, I put too much into this website to turn it into a conduit for reductive inflammatory garbage.

          • Anonymous

            . . . . I don’t think it was “inflammatory garbage,” but it’s your site.

          • Anonymous

            Right. Thx.

          • actovegin1armstrong

            “I put too much into this website to turn it into a conduit for reductive inflammatory garbage.”
            Frownie,
            One of the most powerful parts of your creation is the “reductive inflammatory garbage”.
            Please embrace it and hit it out of the ball park.

          • Anonymous

            If I spent all my time on that there wouldn’t be any ivory tower for the tide of shit to beat against. At some point you just have to stop worrying about it.

          • Anonymous

            Now I am stuck with the image of “the tide of shit beating against the an ivory tower”…. It feels very Middle Earth, thanks a bunch for that.

            By the way, best comments forum in quite some time.

          • Anonymous

            It’s actually much better than Middle Earth, it’s late 19th century France, and one of the greatest letters ever written:

            http://www.rjgeib.com/about-me/faq/gustave-flaubert.html

            Spencer Hall quoted it awhile back at EDSBS so I went to find the letter. When I told him how much I enjoyed it he recommended “Flaubert’s Parrot” by Julian Barnes which is excellent.

          • actovegin1armstrong

            Well put Frownie,
            I like Gustave too, but I had to look up “Middle Earth”.
            I always confuse Tolkien with the Star Wars saga. It makes no sense, but it is difficult for me to separate them sometimes.

            Keep up the good fight and be sure to rush down the elevator of your Ivory tower for a relaxing smoke break.
            Or come up out of the mines, whichever the case may be.

            I paid off her mortgage to help out one of my sisters in the late 80′s.
            Now her house is in danger of foreclosure again.
            The perfect storm of a fast talking “lending expert” and a very stupid sister.

  • kjn

    As usual, awesome….

    I will never understand the Gilbert love.

    His legacy to me will always be mismanaging the one guaranteed thing Cleveland sports ever had. Oh, and parlaying that into a sweetheart casino deal that I’m sure will in no way enrich the uber-wealthy at the expense of the rest of us. Oh, and how could I forget the comics sans debacle which did not reinforce the national perception that Cleveland is a punchline.

    • Jim

      Part of this is semantics, but an “owner” does not manage day-to-day decisions like player personnel. That would be the GM”s duties and by all accounts, Gilbert allowed Ferry free reign in that department until the end.

      I believe much of the “love” for Gilbert is a result of his willingness to support the team financially as much as possible. Under his tenure, a Cleveland team actually has the financial ability to “out-spend” competitors (note – this is not a slight to the Indians. The financial situations in the NBA and MLB are night and day). For all his faults, his effort in putting forth a successful franchise is not one of them (as compared to say Lerner, who Frowns has written ad nauseum about concerning his “approach” to running a professional sports franchise).

      • kjn

        Semantics aside, allowing Ferry free reign is a management decision in my book.

        Who couldn’t run a successful franchise with the best, most famous player in the league?

        Which is kind of my point: if you have a guy like Lebron and you end up running the guy off after never winning a championship, isn’t that by definition failure? Who calls that a successful franchise?

        • Anonymous

          Not just “the best, most famous player in the league,” but one of the best to ever play.

      • kjn

        To illustrate: I know NBA != NFL or MLB, but to compare… if the Indians had a guy like Pujols (and zero championships), I’d have to hear about how cheap the Dolans are once he left for FA. If the Browns had Peyton Manning (and zero championships), I’d have to hear what an idiot Lerner is for having a dysfunctional organization that can’t put together a team to help him win.

        Yet for some reason that I don’t get, Gilbert gets a pass on Lebron leaving (and zero championships). He actually is the victim and hero in it all. And I just don’t get why.

        • Anonymous

          It is mind-blowing and mind-blowingly depressing.

        • Jim

          While on the topic of MLB disparities, Yahoo! is reporting that Detroit just signed Prince Fielder to a Nine year deal worth $214 million.

          So the whole V-Mart’s injury helps the Tribe’s chances just went out the window.

          • kjn

            I actually love that signing for the Tribe in the mid-to-long run. I don’t see Fielder aging all that well.

          • Jim

            I agree long term. In five years they will regret paying him that money. But in the short term, i.e. the small window the Tribe has opened to contend, having Fielder certainly doesn’t help the Trib’es chances.

          • Anonymous

            exactamundo. can’t see how you can love this at all.. wow, i mean they were 4th in scoring last year, upgrading VMart to Fielder certainly helps them generate more runs..

            not to mention their young hitters that don’t get much props but they are solid: Avila, Boesch, Jackson, and also that late season trade for Delmon..

            now all we can do is hope for Casey Kotchman.. ugh

          • kjn

            I have to love it. I have to believe it is a bad move for the Tigers and a win for us. There is no other option. It is all I have.

          • Anonymous

            reverse jinx.. i love it!

          • actovegin1armstrong

            Is it possible that Biki is actually Henry Winkler?

          • Anonymous

            Son, you just opened up a whole case of whoop-ass

          • actovegin1armstrong

            Biki, Should you let your fingers write checks that your body can not cash?
            My old gym is long since closed, but we could meet at CBC on Superior.

            I am just an old guy, you can have a crushing victory and celebrate at The Map Room.

    • Anonymous

      Yes, not only mismanaging the one guaranteed thing Cleveland sports ever had, but having done so in a blind rush to make tons of cash off of the thing.

      • Jim

        Gilbert’s status as a “loan shark” and/or “casino profiteer” has no bearing on his status as Cleveland’s “favorite” owner or his (mis)management of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Those are of course subjective adjectives used to further your point and narrative that Gilbert = bad, Lebron =victim.

        I believe there is ample evidence to lay fault on both sides. Lebron put the organization in “win now” mode from day one which resulted in utilizing free agency and then the trade market to try and build a stable core of talent around the guy rather than building a team through the draft. His noncommital attitude also made it difficult to attract players to the Cleve (we all remember the Metta World Peace fiasco).

        I would also argue that the one individual who played a major part in the mismanagement of the franchise during the Lebron era was fired by Gilbert upon his purchase of the team; GM Jim Paxson.

        Not only was he in charge when Gordon Gund made his ill-fated handshake deal with Boozer, he was also the guy behind the Luke Jackson pick, and the drafting of Jason Kapono to get a shooter to spread the floor. He then inexplicably made him available to Charlotte in the expansion draft (who of course picked him up), and then he tried to remedy that mistake by trading a first round pick for Jiri Welsh (a pick the Celtics then used in a trade to get Rajon Rondo).

        • Anonymous

          Gilbert’s status as described here actually does impact everything he does and everyone with whom he interacts. These things are inseparable.

          Anyway, “Gilbert = bad, Lebron =victim” is a complete misrepresentation of what I’m trying to say here. I agree there’s fault on both sides and I’ve repeatedly gone out of my way to make clear that my real problem is with the “Gilbert=hero/LeBron=demon” dichotomy that’s so disturbingly and disgustingly prevalent here.

          And yes, of course, Paxson was terrible.

    • UnclePens

      The casino is creating jobs and that is a good thing, isn’t it? I bet if KJN owned the Cavs we would have won multiple championships and LBJ would still be here.

      • Anonymous

        Gas chambers created jobs too, Pens. Cripes.

      • kjn

        Ah! Two of my favorite canards: 1.) job creation makes even the worst public policy acceptable, 2.) you couldn’t do better therefore your criticism is not valid.

        Truth be told, if I was owner the Cavs (or any other Cleveland franchise) Lebron would have stayed with the team simply because I would have relocated them asap just to get away from all you cretins.

        Browns to LA
        Indians to Brooklyn
        Cavs to Las Vegas

        The King and I would be at CityCenter right now, sipping bubbly with Chris Paul and Dwight Howard while showgirls lavished us with their costly attention.

  • http://twitter.com/cpmack Chris

    So if I’m reading this right, Lebron was upset with subprime mortgages so he decided to teach the city a lesson? And if he says that he wants to return, I should welcome him back with open arms?

    • Anonymous

      You’re not reading it right. Maybe try again.

      • http://twitter.com/cpmack Chris

        Unless Gilbert allegedly “unlawfully withheld overtime pay” from Lebron, I fail to see the relevance between working at Quicken Loans and being paid millions of dollars to play the game that you love in front of the hometown fans that adore you, and then deciding to take the easy way out to win “not 7 rings”.

        In fact, it could be persuasively argued that Lebron had the complete opposite working environment that the aforementioned disgruntled individuals described while working for Quicken Loans.

        So all I’m left with is that Lebron wants to punish Dan Gilbert (or the fans, or both) for subprime loans and poor working conditions for his Quicken Loans brethren.

        If anything, you should appreciate that your argument “because [so and so] exercised his lawful… rights” isn’t valid, because technically most shitty loans aren’t against the law, but that doesn’t make them right either.

        • http://twitter.com/cpmack Chris

          Let’s also be honest here for a moment – Lebron leaving has almost nothing to do with Dan Gilbert, and everything to do with wanting to win championships the “easy way”, as if such a way exists.

          • Anonymous

            If you want to be honest I won’t let anyone stop you here. Anyway, the point in discussing Dan Gilbert’s other businesses as above is just that the way a person runs one of his businesses is probably reflective of the way he runs his others, and probably also reflective of his worldview, etc. It’s not a controversial point, or one that should be hard at all to understand.

          • http://twitter.com/cpmack Chris

            “the way a person runs one of his businesses is probably reflective of the way he runs his others

            I agree 100% with this sentiment. However, in this situation Gilbert’s typical position was inverted because Lebron held all the cards. I doubt that that is the norm at QL, and it’s the only reason that I dispute this comparison.

  • Anonymous

    Really interesting forum today. Really good. Everybody gets a like.

    Biki, I’ll give you your odds. Who’s holding book? Please advise.

  • http://twitter.com/musicman06 Chris Music

    Thanks ESPN for dragging Joe Tait into this…

    I think it would be beneficial if Henry sat down at the Harry Buffalo and pounded a burger and cup of coffee with Joe, and had a chat with the legend.

    http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/36047/young-wisdom

    • Anonymous

      That’s some good work by Abbott there.

  • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

    no one is for predatory lending. but two things.*

    1. that ‘non-traditional’ mortgagees are able to qualify for a mortgage at all is the result of an attempt to legislate utopia: CRA. if you don’t like gilbert’s business model, take a step back and also call out the law that enabled it and whose mutant progeny started the sub-prime mortgage crisis.
    2. people have free will. sometimes there are consequences in the exercise of it. using gilbert as bogeyman for individuals’ poor decisions creates this illusion of risk-free free-will. again, that’s utopia, and while it’d be nice to have, it doesn’t exist on earth and our civilization is poorer for the vain pursuit of it.

    *obligatory dan aykroyd clip.

    • Anonymous

      You can take legislation out of it completely. Yes, people have free will (it makes no sense not to at least pretend this is the case). Yet still, there are strong people and there are weak people. The former shouldn’t prey on the latter, and they ruin the world when they do. It really couldn’t be more simple.

      • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

        absent the legislation, the preying doesn’t occur since the targeted individuals would not qualify and/or a proper government oversight against predatory mortgage lending could be enacted.

        (acknowledged: high pressure selling of ‘easy mortgages’ is a suspect business to be in.)

        (as you know but for the greater audience: personally, i favor repeal of the mortgage interest deduction and find the mortgage amortization schedule as big a scam as there is.)

        • kjn

          In the cases illustrated and described above, it seemed to have gone beyond high pressure selling and into fraud.

        • Anonymous

          >>>absent the legislation, the preying doesn’t occur since the targeted individuals would not qualify and/or a proper government oversight against predatory mortgage lending could be enacted.

          >>>>>>basketball buzzer sound>>>>>

          If you think the banks were forced to overvalue and overwrite homes because of the CRA, I’ve got an Alaskan bridge to sell you. Actually, just a book to recommend: “The Big Short” by Michael Lewis. For a groudlevel view of the psychology that allowed the whole thing to work, “Behind the Housing Crash: Confessions from an Insider.”

          What happened has so little to do with CRA and “mandating utopia” that it’s an embarrassment when version 23b of the blame-the-poor/lazy/brown/stupid people-excuse gets trotted out. The fact is the banks do what they want, did what they wanted, and simply created an overheated and wildly profitable industry based on fraud. The bank/security houses are bigger, smarter, and faster than any regulation. The CRA is meaninless to them. Glass-Stegal is the only thing that kept this from happening much sooner by keeping interests separated. The minute it was repealed (under Clinton) this was inevitable.

          What folks who claim that banks were forced to write bad mortgages gloss over is that banks WANTED to write bad mortgages, because they could reap billions by subsequently hiding the ball and selling them into the market. If that fraud happened to help with CRA compliance, bonus, if not, who cared? But it’s a joke to think they were forced to write technically bad mortgages. THEY WANTED TO. Why do you think quicken boosted the appraisal X3 on that lady’s house? Why were they pushing home equity loans on existing conforming residences harder and faster than ever before throughout the aughts? Because of the CRA? No. It’s 94.3% because of the armies of Dan Gilbert and his ilk, profiled nicely in the second rec.

          • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

            i will check out the book. i loved liar’s poker.

            you cannot persuade me that CRA did not cause the subprime mortgage issue. painting it in class struggle language does not alter this fact: not everyone meets a basic standard for having a mortgage. CRA lowered the bar, catastrophically. it did so in pursuit of a utopian ideal of homeowner for all/more.*

            youre a smart guy. i hope you get smarter. our country is $15,000,000,000,000 in debt. addressing it will be painful. getting the rich to ‘pay their fair share’ wont cut it. cutting military spending wont cut it. raising taxes wont cut it.

            if youre an average taxpayer, your portion of the debt is $130,000. if youre like me, you dont carry revolving credit, your car load is paid off or it’s a priority, you save into a 401k or IRA or just save, your mortgage payment is too high, but its manageable. youre responsible with your household debt. you dont have $50,000 out on discover card. and if you did, you wouldn’t be pay the monthly minimum and you wouldnt try to bump your limit to $60,000. but that’s what our government just did with its debt limit increase.

            shit is going to hit the fan and soon if something is not done. but… nothing will be done until it’s a crisis. that’s because our congressmen are able to be re-elected so long as raising the debt limit papers over the problem every two years. and as long as our smartest citizens remain doctrinaire in their thinking, politicians with courage enough to confront this problem will never hold a majority.

            *homeownership for all/more is totally utopian jive spun as a means to ‘narrow the gap’ between rich and poor through home ownership. i know i dont have to tell you what’s happened to that gap after the geniuses of washington started to get busy telling wall street what to do.

          • Anonymous

            “$15,000,000,000,000 in debt.”

            Entirely theoretical.

            Ask the Greeks.

          • Anonymous

            >>>you cannot persuade me that CRA did not cause the subprime mortgage issue>>>

            Honestly, I won’t need to if you read either of those books, or just check out a few actual studies for yourself. You can consider it a bad/utopian idea if you want, but it had nothing like the kind of power that generated the bubble and pop. In an ironic twist, the right gives WAY too much credit to the power of government and regulation, at precisely the time when internationalization is making government and regulation nearly irrelevant. No, two trillion dollars didn’t pour into the mortgage market because of the CRA. The companies powering the bubble and pop overwhelmingly weren’t even subject to the CRA. And CRA entities as well as GSE loans had HIGHER conformance than industry average. Repeat. HIGHER.
            http://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/feds/2011/201136/index.html

            http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1924831

            So why is that not persuasive? I know it doesn’t provide the emotional flattery of that stuff they spout on the radio before they try to sell you gold coins, life insurance, emergency preparedness kits, or a sleep-number bed. But it does have the virtue of being well researched, peer reviewed and, well, true. You guys on the right need to learn to respect the power of markets.

          • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

            come on bup!!!!

            here’s a site that says there are 15,585 potential jobs in the oil/gas industry in ohio!! i havent downloaded the ‘energy one-pager’ but i’m pretty sure it’ll tell me the jobs are good and safe for the environment.

            i won’t send you data from chesapeake energy on the safety of slurry*; you dont send me data from the Fed telling me government policies had little/no impact on the mortgage meltdown. deal?

            you guys on the left need to question authority more.

            *(clarifying: im 1,000,000 percent with you on the fracking disgrace.)

            **and i should say that i have seen the fed and fed-like reports saying the rate of toxicity on CRA was the same as other subprime loans. not the point. the subprimes were borne out of this law and none of those reports touch on the effect ACORN et al have on changing lending practices from time tested measures like individual income/debt for creditworthiness and moving it to that darn-elusive utopian fuzzy-creditworthiness metric.

          • Anonymous

            >>>from the Fed telling me government policies had little/no impact on the mortgage meltdown. deal?>>>

            OK deal Mr. Paul. The peer-reviewed Fed study is corrupt, just like the marketing department of Cheasapeake Energy. Total equivalents. But let that pass. Do you want to address the other one? Or is the Olin foundation** corrupt. And Harvard. And anyone with any kind of economics degree.

            You want to address the fact that CRA subject entities had higher rates of compliance than non-CRA? Data? Sources?

            >>>the subprimes were borne out of this law>>>

            JK, that is simply, flatly, and egregiously not true.

            The history of deregulated mortgage markets goes back to pre 1600. Lack of an authority establishing capital requirements backing loans always results in a race to the bottom. It’s a market thing. It’s not a government thing.

          • Anonymous

            Although I have no idea what you two meatheads are talking about, I gotta say boys are great. No way girls would openly attack each other’s POV and remain friends. I think that’s what I appreciate most here.

          • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

            ay yi yi.

            HUD directed fannie/freddie to lend 42% to below-median income in 96, upped to 50% in 2000, upped to 52% in 2002. their mortgage originations magically and unprecedentedly grew from historical 8% to 20% subprime in/around 2004/2005/bubble.
            ^^there is a connection. i dont need a research paper to tell me this.

            you still have not addressed the core issue: do you acknowledge that CRA forced lenders to lower their lending criteria?

            if you dont see the correlation between nationally lowered lending criteria leading to leading to artificially easy credit leading increased housing prices leading to speculation (both by greedy lenders and greedy homebuyers–at all income levels).. i dont know what i can tell you.

            ron paul? you bet. absolutely. i’m not saying obama’s fight against incandescent lighting isnt important but… oh wait, that’s exactly what i’m saying.

          • Anonymous

            I’ll respond at the top so that we don’t have 1 character lines

      • kjn

        And since I have to live in that world that they ruin, I reserve the right to demand that people behave in a minimally responsible manner.

        Seriously – how hilarious (not the ha-ha sort) is it that Cleveland has taken up a sub-prime mortgage broker as it’s hero?

        • Anonymous

          Mind-blowingly hilarious.

  • Anonymous

    Are we talking about Big Z?

    If not, can anyone name me a player who is still in the league that had his jersey retired by his former team? I don’t think Jordan counts since he “retired” before going to the Wiz.

  • Anonymous

    LeBron never won a championship for us, traditionally choked (as he still does) in the fourth quarter of big games, choked (or gave up, or whatever you want to call it) in his last two playoff runs in Cleveland, and left in a manner that sickened Cavs fans. Jerseys are retired for great players your team and its fans are proud of. LeBron does not fit this description. I don’t want his jersey in Cleveland’s rafters… unless, maybe, he humbly returns to play here again. I would reconsider my stance at that point whether or not he won a trophy/trophies for the team.

    I worked for National City (now PNC), Huntington, and Fifth Third. This kind of stuff happens at all the big banks. They exist to make money on sales of bank products. Not many salesmen at any bank try hard to warn clients about every potential negative about the loan they are discussing. That would make the loans harder to sell. The other big banks might not state these things the way Quicken has, but the methods are rampant in most big banks. I’m not defending Gilbert or his company for these ways. Just pointing out that you might be unjustly singling them out for something that is more of an industry standard. Banks are shitty, if you ask me.

    • Anonymous

      “.. unless, maybe, he humbly returns to play here again.”

      The problem is that we can’t even entertain that possibility as long as Gilbert owns the team.

      Agreed that banks are shitty.

      #TEAMUNDERTHEMATTRESS

      • kjn

        The only banks I like?
        Well, I like Ernie Banks alright.
        And I like the banks of the Mississippi River.
        – Mojo Nixon

        • actovegin1armstrong

          A Mojo quote?
          Nice job kjn!
          Had conversations with Gibby Haynes and Mojo, completely unrelated and only days apart.
          I will never be the same.
          By the way, Gibby is absolutely brilliant. I never would have suspected it but he almost held his own straying far past culture into history,(he knew his s&^% and physics, just a few hundred years behind.
          Mojo is terrific and Gibby is even better.
          Do you know or follow Mojo.
          Mojo is yet another kid from Ohio living in Tejas.

          • kjn

            Can’t say I’m a big fan. Don’t really follow him, but used to listen to a lot of his early stuff a few years back. I’m only slightly familiar with Gibby Haynes.

            Will give them both a listen.

  • Alexb

    why the hell should cleveland even remotely contemplate retiring lebrons number if he never comes back? if he comes back and plays well, than maybe we can have that discussion. But if he comes back he’s gonna have to accept that for a year or two it’s not gonna be like it was before. He could do no wrong before….that will not be the case if/when he comes back. As much a cocksucker as Gilbert is i “highly” doubt that was the reason Lebron left. Lebron left because he didn’t see a championship in that teams future…..and i get that, i really do. But the way he left made him a bum and an asshole of legendary status….and in the american sports world that’s saying “alot”.

  • FoolMeOnce

    There were some good times to be sure, however I really can’t see why anyone thinks James deserves any current or future honor for past deeds from this organization or fans. Retiring a jersey isn’t a requirement based strictly on stats. First and foremost it is for the fans and i’m guessing most won’t want the constant reminder of a dark episode in our city’s history.

    • Anonymous

      That dark episode in our city’s history when we had the most exciting basketball arena in the world for almost a whole decade even though our second best player was Flip Murray…

      • FoolMeOnce

        No that part was largely fine. I’m referring the needlessly painful fallout that in one fell swoop took a big chunk of civic pride while allowing the media to carve their knives on the city and reinforce lazy and largely incorrect narrative.

        You could argue in hindsight and with a long view that we (as a city) would have been better off drafting Darko…

        • Anonymous

          What kind of idiot lets his civic pride be taken away because of this? Dan Gilbert’s stooges. Send them all to Detroit.

          • FoolMeOnce

            Not questioning your pride naturally. But its not exactly a stretch to say that locals took pride in the local kid making good (the “pride of Akron”). It stands to reason that his departure left a hole there for some.

            And of course it wasn’t a positive reflection on our city nationally.

  • Anonymous

    lerner is so much worse.

  • Thomas Pestak

    After reading first sentence: yes, this post meets both criterion. LeBron apologized for airing the decision? 7 times? That easy for you to just make stuff up? Flip Murray 2 best Cav? Bad premise, but you are entitled to it. But all the lies and hugely distorted exaggerations show bad character, not just bad judgement.

    • Anonymous

      LOL. If you don’t realize that Flip Murray is the second-best Cavalier of the LeBron Era, I really don’t know what to tell you.

      • Thomas Pestak

        Is this a joke? Flip Murry had a PER under 12 and less than 2 win shares for the Cavs. Last season Tyson Chandler was the second most important Mav. He posted 9.4 win shares. Mo Williams posted 9.8 in 2009. The Cavs never had a dominant “second banana” – and neither did the Mavericks last season. This is just terrible analysis man.

        • Anonymous

          Well I guess we’ll never see eye-t0-eye on Flip Murray but are you telling me that Mo Williams was a more useful teammate than Chandler, Marion and Terry?

          “Win shares!”

          • Thomas Pestak

            alright well thanks for being up front about your NBA acumen. I’ve already invested too much time into this. Keep “fighting the good fight” footsoldier.

          • Anonymous

            Thank you for all of your time and best wishes with your future investments.

  • Thomas Pestak

    Who was the Maverick’s second most valuable player last season?

    • Anonymous

      Terry? Marion? Chandler? Any of the three better than any teammate LeBron ever had.

      • Thomas Pestak

        “Despite the championship banner hanging in Los Angeles, I’ll always believe the Cavaliers were the best team in basketball last season. (…) And, of course, it employs the best player in the league. James may not register the superhuman PER he posted a year ago, but he may not need to, either, given all the talent around him. (…) The Cavs were incredible a year ago until things crumbled in the conference finals, and they look stronger this time around.” John Hollinger – 2010 Preseason

      • Thomas Pestak

        “LeBron will find that less is more now that Shaq can handle the inside buckets for him. No matter where LeBron ends up next year, he may never have a better team than this one.” – JA Adande – 2010 Postseason Prediction

        • Anonymous

          Yeah, I’ll never stop wondering why the Celtics didn’t ride Shaq straight to the title last year.

      • Thomas Pestak

        “I think Cleveland will win the 2010 title. Best team, best player, best season.” – Bill Simmons [April 2010]

        • Anonymous

          If you want to make a list of all the bad predictions and otherwise dumb shit that’s ever been printed at ESPN.com, we really do have all the time in the world here so keep firing away.

  • Anonymous

    >>>Finally a Cavs game worth talking about>>>

    >>>The Heat should win by 60 tonight.>>>

    !

    Gross.

  • Thomas Pestak

    Here’s why Cavs fans like Dan Gilbert as a sports owner: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/writers/michael_rosenberg/05/17/dan.gilbert/index.html

    Pretty straightforward. Makes sense that Cavs fans would overlook that and concentrate instead on Quicken Loans emails – no wait, that’s just you!

    • Anonymous

      A billionaire a-hole will spend some millions so he can win at something that’s infinitely less consequential than the economic crisis that he helped bring about at a massive personal profit. What a hero.

  • Anonymous

    So, I have a question. Since we all pretty much would concur that greed, power, and deceit are slowly but surely taking over, what can the ever-dwindling decent masses do to turn things around?

    God knows, there are still many of us in the middle who comprise neither predator nor prey. But those two ends of the spectrum will always exist.

    That would be the million dollar question, no? Or at least the $40.00 Red Lobster gift card question, Frowns, for this crowd anyway.

    • Believelander

      Actually, you definitely comprise the prey. The ‘what to do about it’ is revolution. As is the endless cycle with governments (not nations, which survive governments), the power has polarized into the hands of the few and unscrupulous. Now that which remains is for the everyone else (read: prey) to press the reset button aa has been done a thousand times before and will be done many more times going forward. History 101, repeating itself. Again.

      • Anonymous

        So, what? Get a sleeping bag and sleep in a park? Or keep doing what I’m doing – work hard, follow the rules, raise a couple of kids that will not prey or be preyed upon?

        I don’t necessarily consider myself to be prey, except where taxes are concerned, since there is no free will there whatsoever.

        • Anonymous

          “Since we all pretty much would concur that greed, power, and deceit are slowly but surely taking over, what can the ever-dwindling decent masses do to turn things around?”

          Hasn’t it always been the case that greed, power and deceit have reigned over the masses? At least since agriculture, I mean.

          Just keep being decent. There’s lots of decent people out there. Some are rich, some are poor, some are in the middle, but they exist and they’ll always exist – and you could argue more exist now than ever.

          If you do decide to advocate a revolution as Believelander seemingly does, be warned that a then lot of decent people won’t be decent anymore – they’ll be dead, or worse.

          • Anonymous

            This guy is an archaeologist, too, which means I trust him double w/r/t these things.

          • Anonymous

            Oh, you. I’m just wanting the finger-pointing to stop and something concrete to hold onto and inspire me.

  • http://brian23.com Brian

    forget it – edited -

  • Anonymous

    >>>
    HUD directed fannie/freddie to lend 42% to below-median income in 96, upped to 50% in 2000, upped to 52% in 2002. their mortgage originations magically and unprecedentedly grew from historical 8% to 20% subprime in/around 2004/2005/bubble.
    ^^there is a connection. i dont need a research paper to tell me this. >>>>

    Yeah? How did their default rates compare? Hint…

    Nah, no snide “hints.” Read the book. Please. I would have made many of the same assumptions because what actually happened is almost inexplicable until you see what we’re talking about think about herd psychology and greed. Fannie and Freddie were followers, not leaders, and the CRA is almost completely irrelevant to this discussion.

    The numbers with which you are trying to scandalize actually indicate that Fannie and Freddie were among the more conservative lenders in the marketplace of failure. Do you know how those numbers compare to Lehman owned or backed stuff? Who the banks were lending to was not the problem. Strange as it may sound, income is not the problem. The ratio of income to asset was the problem, and most specifically, fraudulent asset inflation and lending beyond the underlying asset value (even the bubble value) was the problem.

    It was market driven and it was a kind of deliberate, fraudulent optimism– that if these things weren’t worth what they wrote, they soon would be, or in any even who cares because the commission gets banked now. The majority of the value was not in lower income housing. The vast majority was not subject to CRA nor originated or backed by fannie or freddie. Real estate investors, developers, businesses, and corporations defaulted on loans at a higher rate than the group you are assuming must be the problem. Fannie and Freddie at their worst (and they trailed the megabanks all the way) still required at least 10% down, and can’t be accused of f’ing with appraisals like independent originators (eg. quicken). The mandated adjustments you are talking about bear little relation to defaults. Fannie and Freddie’s problem was that as GSE’s they operated practically without capital requirements. But as it turned out the fully private banks were essentially backing their mortgages with other mortgages (or reverse-insurance on those other mortgages) (!!!) and were in no better position when the game turned.

    Please take one second to ask yourself why quicken valued that lady’s house at 3x. It has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with Fannie or Freddie or the CRA or poor people or honest mistakes, and everything to do with a greed stampede in a fraudulent industry. Yes Fannie and Freddie were a large part of that industry, but by no means were they leaders of it. The private banks engineered it, and folks like Lehman did the exact same things and would have been happy to take whatever business they legally could… and in fact took a lot that was probably technically illegal but is nearly untraceable.

    >>>you still have not addressed the core issue: do you acknowledge that CRA forced lenders to lower their lending criteria? >>>

    No way Jose. CRA theoretically enticed lenders THAT WERE SUBJECT TO THE CRA (which isn’t a big slice) to lower standards in order to fill out portfolios, IF they wanted to make more housing loans.

    Do you know what % of defaulting loans were subject to CRA? Are you aware that CRA only applies to banks that take the preponderance of their deposits within lower income communities? Are you aware that this does not apply in a meaningful way to ANY of the big name bank that we are talking about in the crisis? Are you aware that CRA subject loans have higher compliance than industry average and WAY higher compliance than the completely unregulated, completely CRA- and GRE-independent commercial real estate market (55% underwater)? Are you aware that 80% of subprime loans were completely unaffected by CRA, Fannie, or Freddie? Are any of these facts wrong, and do any of them have any bearing on your settled opinion that utopian government attempts to help poor people are pretty much the whole enchilada here? The story is way more interesting than the old one that gets told in emotive installments between sleep number bed commercials.

    Again, I know it’s from people employed by the Fed (BTW who else is supposed to employ these people???!) but…

    >>>Only 6 percent of all the higher-priced loans were extended by CRA-covered lenders to lower-income borrowers or neighborhoods….this result undermines the assertion by critics of the potential for a substantial role for the CRA in the subprime crisis. In other words, the very small share of all higher-priced loan originations that can reasonably be attributed to the CRA makes it hard to imagine how this law could have contributed in any meaningful way to the current subprime crisis.>>>

    If you want to refute that with actual words, or numbers, or references or anything other than vague feelings, I’m all ears, happy to correct myself, and eminently easy to convince.

    • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

      [shit]
      [thought the 'no more white space' gambit would work.]

      will read, see attached.
      enjoyed our chat, worthy adversary.

  • Anonymous

    >>>Although I have no idea what you two meatheads are talking about, I gotta say boys are great. No way girls would openly attack each other’s POV and remain friends.>>>

    For purposes of this argument, Kanick is clearly a no good lying sack of shit pedatory fuck-face automaton dupe of the Limbaughized right. But who knows, maybe he’s got a point somewhere in there, it’s worth checking. And anyway, everyone has their warts, and for any and all other purposes, he frankly seems to be about as good as they come.

  • Believelander

    “Could there be anything more insanely petty and dumb than the idea that a major professional sports franchise shouldn’t retire the jersey of by far the greatest player in its history just because that player exercised his lawful free agency rights as a 25-year-old?”

    Technically probably just endless blame-shifting and reductionism trying to make him look less culpable for one of the most horrendous backstabbing jobs an athlete has ever committed on a city.

    Edit: Heat win by 60, or maybe 7, in a game where certain athletes who suck at everything not called the game of basketball weren’t nearly their best at the game of basketball, either.

  • Martin Jacobs

    I don’t doubt that the employees at Quicken Loans are treated horribly, I just don’t feel that has any true bearing on LeBron and his decision to leave. To think otherwise would mean LeBron actually cared about the workers and “little guys” around him. Even if Gilbert is a cruel, horrible boss, I doubt that would have come across when dealing with The Pampered Star.

    I’ve always been one to say LeBron’s jersey should never be in the rafters, just for the simple reason that it’s not just stats but what you do for the organization that should define your greatness. I would argue that even with all the victories and points and chase down blocks, that didn’t really help the franchise or make a difference. It was a wild goose chase, a tease, and then a breakup that was planned and even named to sting in the worst way possible. All this goes back to what kind of person I truly feel he is, and for that he shouldn’t have a place next to our greats.

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