Dan Gilbert sending son to lottery

Updated: May 13, 2011, 10:33 AM ET
Associated Press

CLEVELAND -- Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert is sending his hero to the NBA lottery next week for good luck.

Like always, Nick Gilbert wants to come through for his dad.

The 14-year-old Gilbert, who was born with Neurofibromatosis (NF), a nerve disorder that causes tumors to grow anywhere in the body, will be on stage in New Jersey next Tuesday, when the Cavaliers hope to land the No. 1 overall pick in June's draft.

Dan Gilbert, the Cavs' energetic owner, feels there's no one better suited to represent his team for the big occasion than his son.

"Despite enduring brain surgery, the loss of vision in one of his eyes, four long rounds of chemotherapy and countless visits and time in doctor's offices and hospitals, he has emerged as the happiest and most optimistic person I know," Gilbert said.

Gilbert said his son has never complained about "the bad card he was dealt."

"He is an example of perseverance, determination and life the way it should be lived," Gilbert said. "Nick is my personal hero."

Dan Gilbert will also be on hand to watch the stage production. Cavs co-owner Jeff Cohen will observe the league's pingpong ball "lottery" to determine the order of the draft.

The Cavs, who finished with the league's second-worst record in their first season since the departure of LeBron James, currently have two lottery picks and the second-most pingpong ball combinations to land No. 1 overall. In 2003, the Cavs won the lottery and drafted James, who won two MVP awards with Cleveland before leaving as a free agent last summer.

Nick Gilbert is hoping his appearance will bring awareness and help raise money to fight NF, which affects 1 in 3,000 children.

He also wants to bring the Cavs some luck.

"I am pumped up to rep the Cavs," he said. "I will do everything I can to help bring the highest picks to Cleveland as well as raising additional funds for the foundation."


Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press