Following “The Decision” that saw LeBron James leave his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers in order to “take his talents to South Beach” and sign a free agent contract with the Miami Heat, Cavs owner Dan Gilbert unleashed a viral, viscous open letter (written in Comic Sans, no less) that blasted James for leaving.
In case you forgot, here’s some excerpts from the 2010 “masterpiece”:
As you now know, our former hero, who grew up in the very region that he deserted this evening, is no longer a Cleveland Cavalier.
You simply don’t deserve this kind of cowardly betrayal.
“I PERSONALLY GUARANTEE THAT THE CLEVELAND CAVALIERS WILL WIN AN NBA CHAMPIONSHIP BEFORE THE SELF-TITLED FORMER ‘KING’ WINS ONE”
You can take it to the bank.
Some people think they should go to heaven but NOT have to die to get there.
The self-declared former “King” will be taking the “curse” with him down south. And until he does “right” by Cleveland and Ohio, James (and the town where he plays) will unfortunately own this dreaded spell and bad karma.
Yep, it was allllllll sorts of crazy. Gilbert’s personal guarantee wasn’t worth the paper it was scribbled on, since James and the Heat won two NBA championships in four straight trips to the Finals, while the Cavs languished away into obscurity until LeBron returned as a free agent in 2015.
In a brand new feature article from GQ, James was asked about the infamous letter. Unsurprisingly, he had some thoughts:
GQ: Did you feel like Dan Gilbert’s letter was racial?
“Um, I did. I did. It was another conversation I had to have with my kids. It was unfortunate, because I believed in my heart that I had gave that city and that owner, at that point in time, everything that I had. Unfortunately, I felt like, at that point in time, as an organization, we could not bring in enough talent to help us get to what my vision was. A lot of people say they want to win, but they really don’t know how hard it takes, or a lot of people don’t have the vision.
So, you know, I don’t really like to go back on that letter, but it pops in my head a few times here, a few times there. I mean, it’s just human nature. I think that had a lot to do with race at that time, too, and that was another opportunity for me to kind of just sit back and say, ‘Okay, well, how can we get better? How can we get better? How can I get better?’ And if it happens again, then you’re able to have an even more positive outlook on it. It wasn’t the notion of I wanted to do it my way. It was the notion of I’m gonna play this game, and I’m gonna prepare myself so damn hard that when I decide to do something off the court, I want to be able to do it because I’ve paid my dues.”
Just a reminder that James exercised his legal right to free employment by choosing to sign with the Heat. And that no mater how stupid and pretentious “The Decision” was, Gilbert’s reaction was akin to someone losing a prized possession (which human beings are not, of course) and whining about it to anyone who would listen.