Nick Gilbert, the 26-year-old son of Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert who became known as the team’s good luck charm at NBA draft lotteries, died on Saturday, according to The Associated Press and multiple reports.
Nick Gilbert suffered from neurofibromatosis, a genetic disorder that causes tumors to form on the nerve tissue, according to the Mayo Clinic. There is no known cure.
While Nick represented the Cavs at the 2011 lottery, the team ended up netting the Nos. 1 and 4 picks. Although it had the best odds of the top pick after registering a 19-63 record, Cleveland’s own selection dropped to No. 4. But the Cavs also had the Clippers’ pick, one that had a 2.8% chance of getting No. 1 yet earned that distinction. Cleveland went on to select Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson, respectively.
Nick also drew laughs and affection during the lottery show when, after being asked how he felt to know that he was his father’s hero, he said, “Well, I mean, what’s not to like?”
The Cavs were also awarded the top picks in 2013 and 2014, although Nick was not present for the 2014 lottery.
In 2021, Cavs general manager Koby Altman represented the team at the lottery and said Nick had sent him two of his bowties for good luck. The Cavs, who had the fifth-best odds, wound up with the No. 3 pick which they used on rising star forward Evan Mobley.
Nick is one of five children of Dan and Jennifer Gilbert. Dan is also the co-founder and majority owner of mortgage loan company Rocket Mortgage. An online obituary indicates a funeral service will be held Tuesday at the Temple Israel in West Bloomfield Township, Michigan.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Nick Gilbert, son of Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, dies at 26