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NBA owner's son nets laughs in promoting tumor awareness
May 18th, 2011
01:59 PM ET

NBA owner's son nets laughs in promoting tumor awareness

Nick Gilbert, 14, perched next to NBA owners and millionaires.

Sitting casually in black plastic glasses and spotted bow tie, the  oldest child of the Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert  represented the team in the NBA draft lottery that would deliver them the first and fourth picks in the draft.

Nick has a condition in which tumors can grow anywhere on his body.

When the ESPN reporter Heather Cox asked him: “You’re the ambassador for the National Children’s Tumor Foundation and you’ve been dealing with a nerve disorder since you were born.  Your dad called you his own personal hero. How’s that make you feel?”

Cool as a cucumber, the teen replied: “Well, I mean, what’s not to like?”

The crowd burst into laughter.

And a catch phrase was born.

Nick suffers from neurofibromatosis, a genetic disorder that causes tumors to grow on nerves, brain and spinal cord. This can stunt the development of bones and skin.  The tumors are usually benign but can impair hearing, learning and cause cardiovascular complications.

According to the Plain Dealer, Nick Gilbert has suffered through brain surgery, the loss of vision in one eye, four rounds of chemotherapy and countless hours in doctors' offices and hospitals.

“I’m the oldest of five.  And I have a good life and like, I’m going through this disease but I’m going through it while I’m getting better with research and all the money people are donating.  Everything’s going good,” Nick said.

His appearance Tuesday lit Twitter ablaze with the new catch phrase: What's not to like?

In some ways, it was a moment of levity for the Cavs who watched their star player, LeBron James, sign with the Miami Heat during the off-season.

His father had notoriously unleashed on LeBron James, in a much-satirized letter written in cutesy Comic Sans typeface after the NBA star left Cleveland.

According to CNN affiliate WEWS, Dan Gilbert said he sent his son to represent the team for good luck.

In Cleveland, Nick's phrase has shown up on $24.99 t-shirts that include a donation of $5 from each sale to the Children’s Tumor Foundation.


soundoff (50 Responses)
  1. Me

    I have MS and life is good right now but when I get to feeling low, someone like this young man reminds to suck it up and quit whining.

    May 18, 2011 at 18:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. ollie

    POOR NICK! WHAT A BRAVE YOUNG MAN!. AS A NEWLY BREAST CANCER SURVIVIOR, I KNOW THAT THE PAIN IS NOT SOMETHING TO BE TOLERATED! I HOPE MUCH MORE RESEARCH WILL GET A CURE FOR THIS HORRIFIC DISEASE. NICK BABY U R IN MY THOUGHTS AS WELL AS MY HEART.KEEP UP GOOD DEEDS!

    May 18, 2011 at 19:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Kathy Harris

    My son has NF, he just had brain surgery in March and is doing well. He also has osteoporosis and some other "fun" NF things but he has the brightest spirit, much like Nick! Thank you Nick for being a living example to us all, but especially for my son so he doesn't feel like he is alone in this condition.

    May 18, 2011 at 20:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Mike

    LeBron has nothing on Nick. So glad he inspires people like "ME" above. People like Nick are the real superstars in life!!!!

    May 18, 2011 at 20:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Andy

    You can pick up the t-shirt mentioned above at http://www.freshbrewedtees.com/product/details/332

    May 18, 2011 at 21:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. aliciaknoll

    Good..then theyll be the brooklyn nets...why care about them still. If your a TRUE NETS FAN youd say the hell with the brooklyn nets http://bit.ly/kK4xUP

    May 19, 2011 at 06:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. mj

    My son is 2 and has NF-1. He is undergoing chemo for inoperable brain tumors. He is on his third type of chemo, because the tumors have not responded to the other types. I had never heard of it before his diagnosis. My baby book did not even mention it and it is effects 1 and 3000 births. I hope that the money raised will help find a cure in my son's life time. Way to go Nick. You really inspire.

    May 19, 2011 at 17:22 | Report abuse | Reply
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    And they shall be led by children. Nick, you ROCK! Thanks for an easy-going response in a high octane life!

    May 22, 2011 at 20:39 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.