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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.


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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.