Cavs owner Dan Gilbert was at the Cubs' visit with President Trump, which is weird

President Donald Trump points out Cavs owner Dan Gilbert. (Screencap via @Josh_Frydman)

When the Chicago Cubs made their second visit to the White House after winning the 2016 World Series — an “informal get together” with President Donald Trump on Wednesday afternoon — they were joined, as everyone anticipated, by Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert.

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[shuffles papers on desk, absent-mindedly whistles a little tune, then sees one marked “BREAKING,” and grabs it]

Wait a second. It says here that Dan Gilbert, who owns the Cleveland Cavaliers, an NBA team, and not the Chicago Cubs, a Major League Baseball club, was not expected to be part of the Cubs’ visit to the White House on Wednesday. Huh! That is weird!

From WKYC.com in Cleveland:

As the group prepared to tour the Oval Office, Trump called Gilbert over for group photos.

“Dan, do you want to get in this group photo?” Trump asked.

Trump also Gilbert if he’s looking for a baseball player to join the Cavaliers.

“I would say, I guess you can’t say great season, right?” Trump said of the Cavaliers [who lost the 2017 NBA Finals in five games to the Golden State Warriors] as Gilbert made his way to the group. “Good season. Last year [when the Cavs beat the Warriors in the Finals] was a great season.”

The awkwardness proceeded apace, with the president inquiring about how things are working out with Gilbert’s most important and reportedly disgruntled employee:

Trump also told Cubs Manager Joe Maddon, “Ask him how he’s doing with LeBron.” Maddon obliged.

“Good, things are good,” Gilbert replied.

Trump called Gilbert a “great friend of mine. Big supporter and great guy.”

Gilbert didn’t specifically support Trump in last year’s presidential election, according to ESPN.com’s Dave McMenamin, donating instead to several other candidates. But Quicken Loans, which Gilbert founded and co-owns, did donate $750,000 to Trump’s inauguration in January. James does not support Trump.

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OK, so, um, why exactly was Dan Gilbert at the White House for the Cubs’ visit on Wednesday? As it turned out, Gilbert was just in the neighborhood. More from McMenamin:

A source close to Gilbert told ESPN that the Cavs owner, along with Jay Farner — the CEO of his Detroit-based Quicken Loans company — were at the White House to talk business with Trump and the timing of the Cubs’ visit was merely coincidental.

“Today, we met with President Trump to share the story of Detroit. We were able to educate the President on the incredible transformation that has taken place in the city, and the opportunities that remain ahead of us,” said a Quicken Loans spokesman in a statement provided to ESPN.

“As Detroit continues to grow into the largest urban comeback story in our nation’s history, it is crucial to continue to have an open dialogue with all our constituents, including the legislative, business and philanthropic communities.”

Gilbert offered a brief explanation via Twitter later Wednesday afternoon:



It wasn’t the weirdest moment of the Cubs’ visit — for that, we offer a one-finger salute to outfielder Albert Almora — or the weirdest NBA-related thing to happen on Wednesday. It wasn’t far off, though … which, now that I think about it, means it’s pretty perfectly in keeping with the state of affairs in a league that’s already insane, and only about to grow crazier as we enter free agency on Saturday. By this time next week, the owner of an NBA team that didn’t win the championship showing up in a photo op for a MLB team that did win it by beating their league’s representative from the city in which that NBA owner owns a team might seem positively quaint.

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Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don’t Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at devine@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter!