Nick Gilbert, the son of Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, has passed away at the age of 26. The Cavs owner’s oldest child became an icon among fans for his appearances at the NBA Draft Lottery.
Gilbert was the Cavs’ representative during the reveal of the draft order on four separate occasions. First, he was the representative in 2011 when he was just 14 years old, donning a bowtie that would go on to be his signature look as Cleveland lucked into the first overall draft pick. The Cavs went on to draft Kyrie Irving with that selection.
In addition to his appearance at the 2011 NBA Draft Lottery, Gilbert represented the Cavs at the draft lotteries in 2012, 2013 and 2018. In those respective years, the Cavs drew the fourth overall pick (used on Dion Waiters), the first overall pick (used on Anthony Bennett) and the eighth overall pick (used on Collin Sexton). At the 2021 lottery, general manager Koby Altman represented the Cavs and received bowties from Gilbert out of good luck. Cleveland drew the third pick, which was used on Evan Mobley.
Nick Gilbert was born with neurofibromatosis, a disease without a cure that causes tumors to grow on the brain, spinal cord and nerves. Ahead of this season, the Cavs dedicated the year to him and others who battle the disease, putting bowtie emblems on their warm-up gear.
A funeral service has been scheduled for Gilbert at the Temple Israel in Michigan on Tuesday, May 9th. The obituary reads that he was “cherished by many loving cousins, friends, and devoted doctors, nurses, and caregivers.”