In a press release for Citizen Kane, Orson Welles described the film as an examination of one man’s character. That “six or more people could have as many widely divergent opinions concerning the nature of a single personality. Clearly such a notion could not be worked out if it would apply to an ordinary American citizen.” Dan Gilbert is everything but ordinary, and few owners in sports create such divergent opinions.
As a litmus test for this article, I posted a question on my Facebook asking for opinions on Gilbert. Good and bad. The anti-Gilbert responses ranged from “he’s a classless cry-baby,” and “a giant tool,” to him being the primary reason that former commissioner David Stern vetoed the Chris Paul deal to the Lakers, as if he were the Illuminati puppet master who secretly pulls the strings behind the leagues moves. The pro-Gilbert side defended his investments in the Rust Belt, the open pocket book he runs his franchise with and his commitment to charity. Either way, people knew who Gilbert was. If I would have asked a similar question about Peter Holt or Wyc Grousbeck, there probably wouldn’t have been a single response.
“Really Charles, people will think-” – Emily Monroe Norton
“-What I tell them to think.” – Charles Foster Kane