winning a championship is not the only thing
The Cleveland Cavaliers were marred in a thrilling triple overtime game against the Brooklyn Nets on the day before Valentines Day during a season that has gone sideways since LeBron James left for Los Angeles.
Len Komoroski stood in the tunnel watching intently as the Cavs tumbled to their 46th defeat 148-139 while a sparse crowd wild out in the frenzy of excitement.
Komoroski is the Chief Executive Officer of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Quicken Loans Arena, which includes the Cleveland Monsters (AHL), Cleveland Gladiators (AFL), Canton Charge (NBAGL) and Cavs Legion Gaming Club (NBA2K).
In other words, he is a very busy man, at the top of the org chart and didn’t necessarily have to be at Quicken Loans Arena during the middle of the week, but his mere presence is more of a reflection of what Komoroski is all about and what this organization is all about.
This is an organization that spent $134 million and a $25 million luxury tax bill following their third trip to the NBA Finals in 2017.
According to Forbes, the Cavs lost $6.2 million that year, making them the only team to still be operating in the red after revenue sharing.
Now the franchise is still valued at $1.3 billion, and while rumors circulated about owner Dan Gilbert selling the team he has steadfastly stayed true to the City of Cleveland and its loyal fans.
Gilbert doesn’t do much talking, but his right hand man Komoroski will occasionally offer insights into his thinking and the goals and aspirations of the Cavaliers and beyond.
I was fortunate to catch up with Komoroski to discover the state of the Cavs and what the future holds.
Len was actually a reporter a long time ago when writers had to use thermal paper and RadioShack computers, thus his compassion is endless.
“First of all we’ are really grateful about the last four years for all of Cleveland it was just a momentous time, bringing the championship and breaking the 52 year streak that nobody wanted to have. So we are really excited, (General Manager) Koby Altman has done a really terrific job of really positioning this team from a future perspective when you look at the core that we have the young talent that we have on this team that is learning and growing as we go forward and you add on top of that the amount of moves that Koby has made this year to get us two first round picks, seven second round picks and adding to that the flexibility from an overall cap perspective there’s a lot of great things and knowing Koby and his team there is more to come,” Komoroski explained to the Call & Post.
The Cavaliers have only won 12 games on the season after beginning the campaign with playoff expectations, but the rebuild will not be as long as it was when LeBron left for Miami.
“We have had a ton of injuries, but Colin Sexton has continued to evolve and Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr. there is definitely a tremendous nucleus to build off of,” He added.
Then Komoroski really lit up when he began discussing the Quicken Loans Arena transformation.
“Seven months away well be done with taking The Q to really be able to compete with any building in the country as far as that goes. It will spectacular as far as the amenities and experience for the fans and then you add on top of that our 50th anniversary coming up next year and then in 2022 the All Star Game and Cleveland was fortunate enough to have the 50th in 1997 and we had 50 top players in NBA history there and its really amazing when you think about Cleveland having that, that’s the All Star Game that everybody remembers and now we will have the 75th.”
After playing host to the 2016 Republican National Convention, Cleveland will host the 2019 Major League Baseball All Star Game, have hosted five NBA Finals, so the city of Cleveland is not immune to the big stage and bright lights.
“We’ve been blessed as a city to experience a number of them and to experience a championship out of it as well. From Dan Gilbert and our entire organization that’s what drives us every single day to get back there (to the championship) and fortunately we have an owner in Dan who gives our organization the tools whether that is taking on certain investments such as contracts that could be assets. That’s the blessing we have with an owner like Dan who has shown in the past that in the last four years he has spent accumulatively in tax more than the rest of the league has combined.”
The Q will host the NCAA first and second round mens basketball tournament in 2020, the NCAA Womens Final Four on the horizon and The Q host the MAC men basketball tournament, the second longest running neutral site post season tourney in the country.
Additionally, The Q is considered among the top concert venues in the world and they plan to continue to sustain that.
Certainly, as Komoroski alluded to, having a committed owner such as Dan Gilbert is the key to it all, but it’s Gilbert’s dedication to the community beyond the Cavs that makes him truly special.
“We are seeing it with his investments of his home town of Detroit as well as here in Cleveland, he is a huge believer in live, work and play, twenty/four/ seven cities in how do we help revive our cities, so the investments that he has made here, not only in downtown, but in the neighborhoods of Cleveland. He’s played a major role for Ohio and Michigan in terms of helping secure the hardest hit with funds between the two states, including over $60 million for Cuyahoga County, assisting with blight removal, Habitat for Humanity, The Buckeye 100, all those different types of efforts,” added Komoroski.
Gilbert is one of Cleveland’s largest owners of real estate and really hasn’t even been here that long. Clevelanders are hoping that he never leaves.