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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. Anonymous - Sep 13, 2010 at 11:02 PM

    Pippen and Kobe were traded not drafted…duh..get your head out of your you know what

  2. Anonymous - Sep 13, 2010 at 11:16 PM

    go watch soccer then

  3. Jim in PA - Sep 14, 2010 at 12:32 AM

    LeTrader IS A quitter.. Wait til MIAMI blows up.. He will be on the first plane out of town..He is a spoiled kid in a mans body…

  4. Jim E. - Sep 14, 2010 at 1:55 AM

    I’m with you David. Born and raised in in central Ohio a good portion of my life. Not much of an NBA fan but BIG Cleveland Browns fan. I know about long term suffering with the Browns (especially when the team went to Baltimore). Spent a long time at the Cleveland Clinic. Another reason to love Cleveland. One of the most famous hospitals in the world. While there I got hooked on the tribe and Cavs. It’s clear what Lepunk did during the playoffs and most everybody knows it. It’s also crystal clear the 3 kings were in this together. I’m sick and tired of people bashing the city of Cleveland, the people there in and northeast Ohio. I think most of the people with blinders on are probably from Miami – don’t know. I know one thing. If any of these Lepunk lovers would look at the facts of what went down instead of just using Cleveland insults, they would have a different perspective. If it is a crime an NBA referee can sway a game, why is not more of a crime when players do the same thing? I think enough is enough. Miami (little Cuba) is going to be in a war every game they play. I just hope and pray that some hungry journalist looking to make a name for himself would do some heavy duty digging and put together enough evidence to hang the 3 kings. I think it would take some work but there might be some evidence out there. As soon as it came down, Bosh already had the slip of the tongue stating they had been planning this for years before he caught himself and said weeks.

  5. keydo504 - Sep 14, 2010 at 2:46 AM

    Cavs owner and cleveland fans wanted to see Lebron win the finals by himself. they didn’t want to see another allstar next to him. thats not basketball at all. He spoiled the owner and the fans rotten, they really thought they own him like a slave. critisizing every little thing he do and say. he didn’t quit in the playoff, Boston really out played them team wise. once they broke the cavs team down, LBJ was next. and they shut him down too. that’s basketball. ESPN and Miami went over board with the “Decision” and the welcome show, that made it look like he was full of himself….so tell me this, why before the TV show aired, why didn’t anybody say that it was wrong? and if it was wrong, WHAT COULD HE HAVE DONE TO MAKE IT EASIER? PLEASE TELL ME!!! somebody….

  6. Anonymous - Sep 14, 2010 at 3:39 AM


  7. Cavs Fanatic - Sep 14, 2010 at 7:59 AM

    People who support LBJ the way he left just don’t get it. Maybe something like LBJ did to the Cavs would happen to thier beloved team, they would be singing a different tune. How would Laker fans feel about Kobe if Kobe did the same thing and anounced on a self centered TV program that he was going to San Antonio while holding LA hostage. and was to late for the Lakers to get the free agents to build by the time he made his decision that was already made for 2 years. Pick your star player and see how you all feel under those circumstances and you will know how we feel..

  8. Cavs fanatic - Sep 14, 2010 at 8:10 AM

    we all know LBJ has the right to choose were he plays as a free agent, we have no argument there. He knew his decision before his free agency started, It was all preplaned for Wade, Bosh, and James to play together in Miami, It was all a charade! It was classless and need not of been done that way. I know for a fact that it was planned from a few sources. The right way was to notify the Cavs management as soon as the season was over that he was moving on, a simple press conference explaining why and classfully thank Cleveland. The Cavs would of been free to make free agent moves instead of being held hostage over a phony Free agent charade of a 1 hr ESPN program.

  9. markeyh - Sep 14, 2010 at 9:02 AM

    The fact is no matter how he did it the fans at Cleveland would be upset. On TV before the nation or a short press release, they would have claimed he was classless…..
    They knew the signs but refused to believe it and the way they have bashed him just shows he made the right decision.

  10. markeyh - Sep 14, 2010 at 9:11 AM

    Please tell me what FA moves Cleveland could have made had Lebron told them in advance of his decision? Who could they have signed? All that would have happen “IF” he had forewarned Cleveland is they would have attacked him sooner…Get over it. Go buy the song “breaking up is hard to do”, get your last cry in and move on. If he is such a quitter and classless person Cleveland is better off without him…right?

  11. JPerz - Sep 14, 2010 at 9:12 AM

    The only thing LBJ did wrong was to announce his decision in national TV and not telling the Cavs management about it. He don’t owe Cleveland anything, that team was hopeless before his arrival, and it was because of him that the Cavs appeared in the maps of playoffs. He didn’t quit on the team either, he just had a bad night, if you are going to argue that someone quit before you get to him you have to start with other people who apparently have a bad night every night. Since when 3 players who plan to work together in the future to fulfill their goals simultaneously are called conspiracy? You can’t make athletes victims of their own talents, they can choose where they play and when, as long as they make it the right way and not wanting themselves out (can you spell CP3?). Magic was drafted to Jabbar and Pippen to Jordan, so did Move to Shaw, LBJ chose to play with a team as a FREE AGENT (please read that again cause caps no longer work) which is also a legal movement in the league. About LBJ shutting up, well he its been relatively quiet compared to his usual self. But I guess in the end fans are just fans, still he said something true, you can’t make everyone happy and when it cones to choose you will always choose what is the best for you. Cavs fans are hurt, but they need to see this with clear mind and understand that they are not the first nor the last fandom bounties to suffer such an event. Basically everyone need to put some sand over the coffing and bury the issue cause is getting old and is hurting the sport.

  12. messmo - Sep 14, 2010 at 12:28 PM

    James owed the Cavs complete loyalty. He planed to leave two years previous. James did not help the club by telling talent that wanted to come to Cleveland not to because he was going at contract time. He could not win a championship because his excuse to leave would be gone. How could he win a championship and then say he was going to leave because he did win one? How could he help requte players and then say he could not get help? Magically he and Bosch join Wade out of the blue. Sounds like he was pretty loyal to Miami while under contract with Cleveland.

  13. messmo - Sep 14, 2010 at 12:33 PM

    James owed the Cavs complete loyalty. He planed to leave two years previous. James did not help the club by telling talent that wanted to come to Cleveland not to because he was going at contract time. He could not win a championship because his excuse to leave would be gone. How could he win a championship and then say he was going to leave because he did win one? How could he help requte players and then say he could not get help? Magically he and Bosch join Wade out of the blue. Sounds like he was pretty loyal to Miami while under contract with Cleveland.

  14. venita - Sep 14, 2010 at 2:46 PM

    Thank you, finally someone gets it wish more people could understand. I see now why the world is so mes up, people just don’t get it. LEBRON JAMES DID NOTHING WRONG PERIOD, basketball is his job. When people get fired from a job the company don’t warn them, some time they go on TV and say they are getting rid of people or just lock them out. its a shame the fan don’t realize this is his job and are being entertain by watching him work nothing more. So if he decide to change jobs who cares except the people who was profitting off him, and the other people who feel so strongly about him ought to go find something else to do. but they don’t want to let go of the (make believe) love affair they had for him and by him being in Miami, it will be hard to watch him play or cost more money to go there or add program on their TV to watch him, so why not get a life of your own and stop trying to live Lebron’s life, if you think about it you don’t need basketball in your life to feel worthwhile, so show Lebron the love you always have, remember whatever he has become the fans and reporters,hipe him up and made it seems he was the second coming of Jesus Christ himself, so don’t BLAME LeBron you are the ones always bowing at his feet and falling over yourself to get him autograph, So Now Live with it

  15. neil - Sep 14, 2010 at 4:11 PM

    I hope for his fiancee, who I am sure LaBron (sic) loves now, that he doesn’t discover a south shore beauty who he thinks will make his (love life) better and so leaves her for that .
    He was in NO danger OF LOSING HIS JOB. his team and teammates (who he says he loved) did everything for him that they could to make him happy. He, however, left them in the lurch. His excuse was… new team will make my talent happier. Did “The King” try to get Wade or Bosch to come to Cleveland??????????
    This fan, who NEVER did anything but show love to La(sic)Bron before, now with all his heart is rooting for Durant to win the MVP every year he plays and to outscore, outrebound, and outassist Miami’s #4 every year from now on.
    Let’s see how happy Mr. James will be in Miami after his team fails to win a division championship, and is knocked off in the second round of the playoffs.

  16. Honest Fan - Sep 14, 2010 at 8:23 PM

    What so many want to overlook is that Cleveland does not want anything from LBJ. He was paid mightly for his seven years of work. He made a decision to take his talents elswear. FINE — GO — DONT LET THE DOOR HIT YOU ON THE WAY OUT. But don’t pretend that you are a greatful to Northeast Ohio. You are a ghetto kid who is gifted with talent. You were given work, respect, and admiration. YOUR RETURN WAS A SLAP TO THE FACE WITH A NATIONWIDE BEAUTY SHOT CALLED THE DECISION. If you really ment what you said then you wouldn’t be so blind to what you did. Well anyway GOOD BYE and D O N O T Think we want you back. Bye By. And F. U.

  17. Tina - Sep 16, 2010 at 3:24 PM

    He didn’t turn his back on them fools. Them fools were not helping him in no way. I don’t know what game you were watching but from what I saw… if Lebron didn’t make the points nobody else was going to. Heck I know he was tired of that crap. I don’t blame him if he did quit because nobody every came in to help in the playoffs. Where was Mo, Jamison, and the others. When Kobe was having a bad night his teammates stepped up… Cleveland NEVER did that! Everybody gets tired of people riding the fame and glory but doing nothing to help! I don’t blame him for being tired or leaving. People really are a trip to be riding this man over his choice to do whatever…. He has that right and if the Media offered him the outlet so what! Get over it already damn!

  18. Len - Sep 16, 2010 at 4:16 PM

    Lebron screwed over Cleveland (and six other teams) but dragging on his decision that culminated in the TV show. If he really valued his relationship to his fans and organization, he would not have left them in the fashion he did. By the time Cleveland got the news (10 minutes before everyone else did), the free agent market had already dried up. It was all about Lebron. He couldn’t give a rat’s posterior about anyone else. “I’m taking my talents …” and referring to himself in 3rd person multiple times is all I need to know about this child.

  19. Barry - Sep 17, 2010 at 1:12 PM

    You’re right, Kobe had his worst Championship showing last year and was SAVED by the BELL- PAU GASOL- the treu MVP of that NBA Championship.
    Can somebody tell me the NAME of the NUMBER 2 STAR in the lill-fated Eastern Championship series last season? To Win an NBA Championship or even Conference Championship, you’ll need at the minimum two-punch go to guys- MJ+Pippen, KOBE+SHAQ, DWADE+SHAQ,
    MAGIC+ABDUL+WORTHY+SCOT+COOPER;LARRY BIRD+MCHALE+PARRISH+AINGE+DJ. Now you show me the second player to have helped LBJ+WHO? win it all in CLEVELAND. Is it stricky MO Williams or Jamison or Oldman-Shaq or who else?
    He got tied of doing it alone and as an ASTUTE student of Basketball and admirer of MJ, LBJ saw the odds were stacked against him in Cleveland where no other NBA Star wants to come to play- like JOACHIN NOAH or CHRIS BOSH.
    Let me stop and book my next vacation flight to CLEVELAND according to Joakin NOAH of Chicago?
    He made the right move to SOBE.

  20. Anonymous - Sep 17, 2010 at 8:02 PM

    don’t cry

  21. janice - Sep 19, 2010 at 1:34 PM


  22. janice - Sep 19, 2010 at 1:40 PM


  23. janice - Sep 19, 2010 at 1:47 PM


  24. ? - Sep 22, 2010 at 3:29 PM

    kobe was drafted to shaq he was traded shaq was drafted by the orlando magic to the lakers

  25. Anonymous - Sep 23, 2010 at 12:12 AM

    shut the hell up PLEASE!

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