Superstar LeBron James, not Dan Gilbert, majority owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers, is getting grief from Israelis ever since the team fired coach David Blatt on Friday. Reports point to James wanting to oust Blatt, who was hired by Gilbert in 2014.
Blatt is married to an Israeli woman, lived in Israel, played for Princeton, served in the Israeli Defense Forces, played professional basketball in Israel and became a successful coach, guiding the Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball team to the Euroleague title in 2013/14. Needless to say, when Dan Gilbert hired him on June 20, 2014, Israelis had great affection for Blatt and the Cavs.
In a story titled “LeBron James becomes Israeli public’s newest enemy after Blatt firing, ” The Jerusalem Post writes:
Will you offer us a hand? Every gift, regardless of size, fuels our future.
Your critical contribution enables us to maintain our independence from shareholders or wealthy owners, allowing us to keep up reporting without bias. It means we can continue to make Jewish Business News available to everyone.
You can support us for as little as $1 via PayPal at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The surprise sacking of Blatt despite leading the Cavs to the NBA Finals last year and to the best record in the East so far this season, saw millions of Israelis turn from fans to haters.
News of the firing topped all Israeli newscasts on Saturday, with Middle East violence and the stormy weather taking a back seat to the fate of Israel’s first NBA coach.
The story reports that one Israeli wrote of LeBron on the Internet:
“Such a great player. Such a small, lame, pathetic personality. So drunk from all the fame and completely blind to see how fortunate you were to play under Blatt’s guidance.”