Dan Gilbert’s words have not aged well.
In 2010, the Cleveland Cavaliers owner wrote one of the most ill-advised letters in NBA memory after LeBron James spurned his hometown to join the Miami Heat. In an open missive to Cavs fans, Gilbert called James’ departure an act of “selfish… cowardly betrayal” and guaranteed that Cleveland would win a title before LeBron did.
That last part was proved ironically wrong when James brought a championship to The Land in 2016 — after winning two rings in Miami. But the rest of it apparently still irks James. In an interview with GQ published Tuesday, The King was asked if he thought Gilbert’s letter was “racial.”
“Um, I did. I did,” James replied. “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.”
In short: LeBron clearly still think’s about Gilbert’s letter, creating a bit of an awkward dynamic between himself and his team’s owner.
James also offered a pretty strong critique of President Donald Trump in his GQ interview, which is worth a full read.
Thumbnail photo via Raj Mehta/USA TODAY Sports Images
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