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LeBron James says he tried to repay Cleveland on the court, is ready for change

Sep 13, 2010, 12:49 PM EDT

Thumbnail image for LeBron_Heat.jpgDoes LeBron James owe Cleveland anything?

LeBron has been at the center of the NBA universe this summer, but has said very little personally to the media (we’re not really counting The Decision as hard-hitting questions).

There are a lot of questions to be asked, and Lang Whitaker of SLAM covered many of them a wide-ranging Q&A with LeBron James for an upcoming edition of the magazine. LeBron does not give any shocking answers, but he emphasizes that he realized that he cannot make everyone happy and had to do what is best for himself and his family.

LeBron also talked about what he enjoyed the most about his crazy summer — and how he repaid Cleveland.

They best part of the summer for me has been change. It’s a new beginning, a new start. I’m excited about that. The seven years I had in Cleveland, I loved, and I love those fans and will always love those fans for giving me seven great years. I tried to repay those fans the right way by doing what I did on the court. But it’s been exciting. The change, to know I’m going into a situation I haven’t had since my rookie year, and that’s a new beginning, a fresh start. That’s exciting for me. It’s been a great summer. You’re going to have forks in the road, bumps in the road, throughout life. But if you have your goal and you know which way you’re headed, you just go for it and you don’t stop until you get it….

Well, I don’t feel beat up, not at all. I knew there was going to be some negative point to it. But at the end of the day, I think I made the right decision, and I’m happy with my decision. Just like you said, you can’t make everyone happy at the end of the day, and I knew that, I knew that from the beginning. And I understand. It’s OK.

As for the questions about how this team will mesh on the court….

For me, you don’t even think about knowing it will work. You know it’s going to work. You don’t say, I’m going to make my decision and hopefully this works out. D-Wade is a playmaker. I’ve played with D-Wade and I’ve played with Bosh for four years in the summertime. It’s not as long as an NBA season, but you see the sacrifices we was able to make in the summertime, so it wasn’t a hard choice for myself because I know how hard they play the game and I know how much they want to win…

Sacrifice is a part of the game. Now, if you’re talking about sacrificing a few more shots or a few plays here, that’s not a problem. The goal is to an NBA championship, and however we do that, it has to get done. That’s ultimately what we want to do. That’s also why we all came here, to win an NBA championship. It wasn’t so all of us could try to get an MVP award the same year. That’s not what it’s about.

Then there are the questions about losing to Boston in the playoffs…

We had a good chance to win that series, and we played well in spurts, but we didn’t play as consistently as Boston did. And I think every Eastern Conference team saw that when they went against Boston, how consistent they were from game to game. Now, they may have lost one game or two games, but I think they were the most consistent team in the Playoffs in the Eastern Conference. That’s why they were able to get back to the Eastern Finals.

Check out the whole interview, there is a lot more there.

  1. deniz - Sep 13, 2010 at 3:11 PM

    LeBron does not owe Cleveland anything. He fulfilled his contract and made a decision that he thought was right for him and his family, and made the decision ; after talking to them. He told the media he was going to announce it on espn as they had given him the opportunity to do it, and everyone gets upset after he did not stay in Cleveland or go to New York as they expected. He did it for the Boys and Girls Club which was a great idea. No one complained until he said he was going to to Miami. Michael Jordan had Scottie Pippen And the Great rebounder, Dennis Rodman. Magic Johnson had Kareem Abdul Jabbar, and the Great defender Michael Cooper. What room have they to talk about LeBron. They had rings in their 7 years of play and the dumbest person alive would not have left those team. More power to LeBron and I wish him, Bosh, Wade and the Heat the best of luck, that is until they met up with my team; then I’ll be wishing them bad luck……WHAT! …. It’s still luck, give me a break!

  2. destiny_driven - Sep 13, 2010 at 3:25 PM

    I have two words for LeLoser James and Chris BUSH: BITE ME!

  3. dc_darryl - Sep 13, 2010 at 3:33 PM

    I enjoyed LBJ in high school and while he played in Cleveland. It’s unfortunate that now his career is the center of so much negative drama.
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  4. Conqi - Sep 13, 2010 at 3:46 PM

    Hmmmm… there is still the question of decency and class. When you are that closely tied to a community, you do not throw that community under the bus on national TV. If he feels like he owes Cleveland nothing then please, LeBron, get out of my town. Leave. Tear that misplaced hotel of a house down and get out of my neighborhood. We don’t want or need you in our community. Move to south beach since you love it so much.
    As far as your comment about fulfilling his contract, he still owes Cleveland his best effort in the playoffs. He quit while under contract.

  5. Peter2010 - Sep 13, 2010 at 3:51 PM

    As I said, Pippen was drafted to Jordan, so do Magic to Kareem and Kobe to Shaq…. It’s all DRAFTED.
    I was wondering, if you feel ok had your high school sweet heart break up with you at your school’s morning assembly.

  6. bigtico - Sep 13, 2010 at 3:57 PM

    He owe’s the Cavs fans one thing and one thing only! in the playoffs this past year he gave up, like he was paid off to lose the series to Boston, he took the whole season, playing like every game would be the last, acting as if he was such a family here in Cleveland yet, he turned his back not just to the fans, but to his team mates! There is no I in team, unless your name is Lebron(I turn on my team and give up)James!

  7. Johnboy - Sep 13, 2010 at 4:19 PM

    The thing Lebron chose not to do was give Cleveland management a heads up and let them at least get a decent free agent pickup.But I guess he made his decision at the last minue.RIGHT!!!!

  8. shadow - Sep 13, 2010 at 4:35 PM

    lebron didnt quit under contract. he became an unrestricted free agent, hence why Cleveland couldnt invoke the easiest way to keep a free agent(matching any contract offer) that only works is with a restricted free agent, and that wont fit lebron for another 6 years

  9. Tarkus_das - Sep 13, 2010 at 4:57 PM

    I wonder if the head of the NBA thought about what would happen to basketball if Miami is as dominant as some think. Lets say for the sake of it all that Miami is as some think. and for the next 6 years Miami dominates. Will basketball survive . I think that many franchizes will fold from the lack of fans at the games. If teams don’t stand a chance then those teams fan base will fall away. It’s like the game of Monoply..It’s fun only while COMPETITION is still in the game. But when one person owns all the property, then others in the game lose interrest…till the winners job is to put the game away…LeBron I hope you and all your CONSPIRITORS enjoy putting the game away..You may have got your way..but if Basketball fails…you will lose the War..Hope you enjoy slinging burgers when it all falls in on you guys

  10. sid1001 - Sep 13, 2010 at 5:31 PM

    Lebron owes nothing to Cleveland, It is Cleveland who owes Lebron. They owe Lebron an apoligy for not getting him the players he needed to win an NBA championship. The cavs could not win more than 35 games a season without Lebron. Dan Gilbert had 7 years to find a true center, (Z has a great outside shot but he is not a true center who can get a lot of rebounds) and a couple of good guards that would not fold in the playoffs. He paid a washed up Shaq 20 million for 1 season which was a joke. The Celtics got him this year for a 2 year contract for 3 million. Lebron was accused of quiting in a game of the playoffs when in fact he just had a bad shooting night. One bad night in over 5 years of playoff history and his team mates could not pick him up by scoring. The cavs and cleveland fans let Lebron down by accusing the best player in basketball of quiting after Lebron for 7 years giving them everything he had night after night. Cleveland stop blaming Lebron for making the best decision he could make and blame yourself for calling him a quiter and loser. You have the nerve to be mad at a guy you called a loser and quiter and then want him to sign a new contract, rofl. I live in cleveland and have gone to the games to see Lebron. Now I am getting a new cable company that offers the NBA sports package so I can watch Lebron win several NBA titles in Miami.

  11. Anonymous - Sep 13, 2010 at 5:37 PM

    well said, Lebron didn’t do no more to cleveland than Dan Gilbert would have done to him if he had gotten where he couldn’t play. Plus why is it now Lebron is such a bad person for going to Miami and before He was the best thing since sliced bread, has he changed that much since the decision, I think not he just was being his own man and for that he got reduced to child like status, instead of Lebron growing up some of those people that are criticizing him need to grow up. The man has made his choice deal with it.
    I will be watching him play no matter who he play for as I am a Lebron James Fan not a team fan. Go Heat as long as Lebron is there!!

  12. jon - Sep 13, 2010 at 5:52 PM

    … as lebron has been so fond of saying, it’s when times get tough that you learn the true colors of a person … or something asinine like that. at any rate, the reason he’s “such a bad person” now is because everyone knows how much of a liar, quitter, front-runner, all-around unlikeable douche that he really is.

  13. brother fox - Sep 13, 2010 at 5:56 PM

    who do you idiots think chose the players that were added to the Cavs? It was not Danny Ferry or “Coach” by themselves. The King was in on those discussions. Cleveland kissed his royal a$$ all 7
    years he was there. Yes he had the right to leave but the way he
    did it was totally classless. By the way have you heard how much
    Akron loves him. He was booed in his old High School last week.They don’t want him around..
    As they say in show biz, “go break a leg”

  14. Mr.redd - Sep 13, 2010 at 7:25 PM

    Bou!huhu He made his decision sO stop crying….This and THat abt LBJ.. JUst maybe CAVZ FAN showed true colors of how they treat their best athlete…. I mean lets face it who wants to be there? In my opinion he new what was going on and for you to question his decision!! your Kidding me right!!! His BAsketball IQ is so high the he knows he cant win it by him self DuMMY!! Dont you get it No one won it alone!! Even you put MJ at cleveland you think he’ll win it! with Potato Head and inconstant players… Look t the bulls line up or the lakers line up! The superstars needs really good player around them.. Before you make this accusations…make sure you now what your talking about!! I admit that the 1 hour thing special was really to much!! THE DECISION thing was somewhat BS!!! But he is not perfect!!! OK!!! THE GUY WANTS TO WIN!! And the only waY to do so is to join and play with his friends..It was the best move (decision) he made … All this talk and mentally ill comments is just part of what coming for him i wish him all the best! and Dan Gilbert is mental to say Cavs will win it before THE KING!!! What a JOKE!!!!! Like what they SAY!!! in NBA!! ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!
    SO STOP CRYING IT OVER AND GET OVER IT!!!! Im sure most cavs fan have better things to do than trash LBJ!!! ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!

  15. FBlake5 - Sep 13, 2010 at 8:38 PM

    Lebron doesn’t owe Cleveland anything. He didn’t give Cleveland anything and doesn’t owe Cleveland anything. Sounds just like a few others I know who are virtualy worthless and are related in some form or matter to the lowest form of life on earth. Now, Lebron, can you stay in South Beach and keep your mouth shut, because everyone is very tired of hearing your crap. Thank you!

  16. arlisa williams - Sep 13, 2010 at 8:42 PM

    you write like a fool. he has gave the cavs fans and cleveland 7yrs he took the cavs to the nba finals and made 286million dollors for DAN GILBERT.i wish people like you stop writing such outrageous comments,he’s a basketball player not a slave,he ows cleveland nothing.

  17. Jim E. - Sep 13, 2010 at 8:56 PM

    Incredible! Obviously a Miami fan. You should go look at the replays of the Boston series. He didn’t just quit – “he deliberately gave up”! He conspired with Wade and Bosh to be with each other and the scenario which played out was planned a very long time ago. If the shoe was on the other foot, what would Miami fan think if Wade did what Lepunk did – Bosh did the same thing to Toronto. What if Wade planned a “decision” show in the exact same way Lepunk did and all three went to New Jersey. Think about it. Put yourself in others shoes. Oh…and the monetary sacrifice they all made. It wasn’t much of a loss at all because of the tax situation. Oh…What about how Cleveland wouldn’t bring it quality talent? The talent was good enough to get 60+ wins 2 seasons in a row. It wasn’t all Lepunk!! Oh…They were not “good” enough players. Why didn’t they bring in an all star? Lepunk had a good chunk of their payroll. He sure as hell didn’t sacrifice himself in this area as he is right now. He “could” have if it is all about getting that ring. If he doesn’t give up in the Boston series, they probably win the NBA championship! You might have been at Cleveland games but tapes don’t lie. You are either a Miami fan or a complete idiot. No way you are from Cleveland and rooted for that team if you don’t feel slighted. Not a Cleveland fan until now. The only way Lepunk could have been any nastier in the way he staged things would be to yearly punk his team like Favre has done to Green Bay and Minnesota.

  18. gk - Sep 13, 2010 at 8:58 PM

    I am certain on one thing — Le Bron has decidedly more class than the immature jealous pucks he left behind in Cleveland.

  19. David Michaels - Sep 13, 2010 at 9:06 PM

    LeBron didn’t owe Cleveland anything but to show a little bit of class, and he couldn’t do that. He made his “decision” three years ago. These guys did what the owners can’t do; they colluded to play for the Miami Heat. The teams coming to Cleveland to “court” LeBron was a dog and pony show to stroke his inflated ego. Did he quit on the Cavaliers? You’re damned right he did. He’s a joke. To win in Cleveland would have ruined the plan, so he jacked the city. Prove otherwise. Larry didn’t want to play WITH Magic. He wanted to BEAT him. LeBron couldn’t do it. May they never sniff the NBA finals.

  20. David Michaels - Sep 13, 2010 at 9:11 PM

    Jim E. — well said. As a lifelong (and long-suffering” Cleveland sports fan, I couldn’t have said it better. He quit. Those to scoff at that need to show evidence to prove he didn’t.

  21. Jim E. - Sep 13, 2010 at 9:21 PM

    Again, another comment picking on Cleveland fan. Guessing it was for my comment. I root for Chicago which may or may not derail the 3 kings of Miami this next season. It could happen! I root now also for Cleveland. Why do people who place comments to an article attack a city or people within a state or region? I can see doing battle with any given person who posts something they disagree with. Some people who post don’t represent millions of other people in a state or city…or even a small group of people. Yet…time and time again, the most intelligent thing that is said is something that sounds like “immature jealous pucks left behind in Cleveland”. Good comeback.

  22. gk - Sep 13, 2010 at 9:33 PM

    This Le Bron bashing has gone too far. Look how far the kid has come from his beginnings. His mom was on and off the streets — he didn’t know who his dad was. Instead of joining a punk gang he reached deep inside, worked hard, and maximized the talents he was given. This jilted lover syndrome is getting old. If the worst thing he ever did was announce his decision to leave Cleveland on ESPN, then he is to be commended.

  23. EAlex - Sep 13, 2010 at 9:48 PM

    Seems Mr James would learn the more he says the more he sticks his feet in his mouth. I should remember what it was like to be 25 or so, but some times you just wonder when the maturity change will come about.

  24. EAlex - Sep 13, 2010 at 9:55 PM

    Watching from the first game at the Q and then for the next two years as a season ticket holder. Watching all the games I could on television. Knowing basketball pretty well as my son was down in Columbus the same year was down there on another team. I conclude with no reservations, a dive was taken.

  25. NBA Hater - Sep 13, 2010 at 10:35 PM

    The best way for fans of teams other than the miami cheats, to show their disapproval for what went down these last few months, would be to boycott every game when the miami Cheats show up in your town.
    This would let the NBA governing body see just how much collusion is not tolerated, and nothing would be quite so beautiful as seeing an empty stadium on national television.

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