In 2010, Dan Gilbert excoriated basketball player LeBron James’s decision to sign with the Miami Heat, calling it “cowardly,” “narcissistic,” and a “shameful display of selfishness and betrayal.” Gilbert was not merely an aggrieved fan, however. He was the owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers, the team James was leaving.
Four years later Gilbert is still the owner, and James is now back. The two profess the past is behind them but still, those are thoughts Gilbert has made clear he wishes he’d never expressed. If Gilbert can take any solace in his boneheadedness, though, it’s that he’s not alone. People who should know better — people of power, wealth, and fame — say the stupidest things. They’re helping to give new life to an old cottage industry: the art of the apology. But better, however, would be never to say these things in the first place.