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Cavaliers finally remove Dan Gilbert’s LeBron James letter from website

Jul 7, 2014, 10:15 AM EDT

LeBron James LeBron James

Not long after LeBron James announced he was taking his talent to South Beach during The Decision, Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert wrote a jarringly personal and spiteful letter about LeBron. Among the excerpts:

  • “Some people think they should go to heaven but NOT have to die to get there.”
  • “This shocking act of disloyalty from our home grown “chosen one” sends the exact opposite lesson of what we would want our children to learn. And “who” we would want them to grow-up to become.”

The Cavaliers posted the letter to their official website with the URL For nearly four years – through at least yesterday – it remained hosted there. As of February, Gilbert still said he didn’t regret the letter.

Now, it’s gone, replaced by links to news stories from journalistic outlets. Those links are preceded by a warning – “**NOTE: The news clips and articles listed don’t necessarily reflect the views or beliefs of the Cleveland Cavaliers or their Basketball Operations staff, partners, or sponsors.**” – but many of the articles discuss the possibility of the Cavaliers’ luring LeBron back to Cleveland.

I don’t know what role Gilbert had in the letter remaining up so long or coming down in recent hours. Managing the team’s website is certainly below the pay grade of an NBA owner, but Gilbert is personally invested in controlling this message – whether it’s exiling LeBron four years ago or welcoming him back now.

From LeBron’s perspective In 2010, the letter further divided him and Clevelandand it reportedly did more than that.

If the Cavaliers are to sign LeBron, a lot of healing must take place. Removing the letter from their website was one small step in that direction.

  1. hwatt - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:20 AM

    what did luol deng say about the locker room in cleveland.

    dysfunction starts at the top, not from the locker room, and the top hasn’t changed.

    • sportsfan18 - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:26 AM

      yep… just watch…

      when Lebron does NOT sign there…

      the letter will go back up on the website…

      along with another one…

      • jeffkx - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:28 AM

        hahaha he’s signing with the Cavs..hahahah sucks to be the rest of the NBA..

      • casualcommenter - Jul 7, 2014 at 11:38 AM

        Yeah, this situation created by agent Rich Paul guarantees a lot of nastiness from the Cavaliers if LeBron doesn’t go there.

        There was a chance that if LeBron stuck with the Heat, Cavs fans would shrug. Now, hopes have been raised, and local reporters in Ohio are running with this story. It wouldn’t be as bad as The Decision, but at least in Ohio, the damage to LeBron’s rep would be close.

      • sportsfan18 - Jul 7, 2014 at 9:41 PM


        well said

    • BrownsTown - Jul 7, 2014 at 11:53 AM

      The coach and GM have since been replaced. I’d say that’s about as good as it gets in modern professional sports.

  2. tomshoe - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:31 AM

    Glad they finally took it down.

    It was a dumb reaction to a dumb TV event.

    • sportsfan18 - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:51 AM


      on a serious note now, you are correct.

      but we should all think of this. let’s say Lebron still had one more season on his Heat contract, like this was last summer and he had to play for the Heat this coming fall.

      Would the letter have been taken down?

      No, the letter would still be on the website.

      It’s ONLY off the website because Lebron opted out and is a free agent that the letter was taken down and replaced by links to stories talking about Lebron going there.

      Curious timing eh? well a bit slow as it’s only been 4 yrs and it was still up on their team website for several days AFTER Lebron opted out to become a free agent this summer…

    • chicagosports2014 - Jul 7, 2014 at 11:29 AM

      He thought “Cleveland” was favorite to win championship lol I he really doesn’t know talent hahahahahehe


  3. saint1997 - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:32 AM

    Free agency is getting messy. Right now there are a bunch of dominos lines up to send the league into a frenzy. It just…takes…one…push – and then pandemonium

    • teabone413 - Jul 7, 2014 at 11:08 AM

      good job repeating pbt, espn, fox sports, and every other nba news outlet. we had no idea what was going on.

  4. kb2408 - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:39 AM

    This is all becoming very interesting. Meanwhile, fear is griping South Beach. I see a lot of space on the Heat bandwagon becoming available soon. Go home, LeBron, go home!!

    • apkyletexas - Jul 7, 2014 at 1:06 PM

      Strangely, I wouldn’t be surprised if Boris Diaw’s signing yesterday by the Spurs was one of the keys to this free agency puzzle. LeBron has to be furious that the Spurs were able to sign Diaw quickly and cheaply, bringing back their entire team that dismantled the Heat, AND RC Buford and Pop still have the mid-level exception available to improve the roster if they like. In the meantime, Riley has accomplished nothing with Lowry or Gortat and is currently chasing Marvin Williams. The difference between the two teams may become even more pronounced by the end of the summer.

      • elcapitan1019 - Jul 7, 2014 at 7:25 PM

        Well, he got McRoberts and Granger…..

    • sportsfan18 - Jul 7, 2014 at 9:45 PM

      well, fear is healthy…

      they also know they’ll be bad without him.

      would have been good had the Lakers fans had fear grip them…

      nope, they were delusional. we don’t want or need Dwight. just WAIT til the summer of 2014 is what so many Lakers fans on this site said and wrote… we’ll have money, Kobe will take less, we’ll be right back on top…

      27 & 55…

      and this yr will be better than 27 wins, but the Lakers will not make the playoffs

      oh, a “popular” poster on here, a big Lakers fan said last summer that Kobe wants his 6th ring so badly that he could see Kobe taking the veteran’s minimum to like $5 million a season so the team could get others…


  5. money2long - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:43 AM

    I love how people made it so silly lebron couldn’t leave yet it’s taking him this long to make a decision. Too funny.

    • kghane - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:53 AM

      I think it’s taking him so long because he hasn’t met with Riley yet to see what his plan is for the future. I don’t think it has anything to do with him wanting to leave necessarily; rather if you had 7 different offers in front of you wouldn’t you explore each and every option? Not saying LBJ stays, but the man has a big decision to make, and he’s grown wiser to know not to rush or say anything.

      • money2long - Jul 7, 2014 at 1:55 PM

        the fact he’s mulling offers shows theres a possibility he leaves therefore it wasnt hook line and sinker he stayed in miami.

    • sportsfan18 - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:54 AM

      it isn’t taking him a long time to decide…

      he’s giving Pat Riley time to strengthen the team…

      I think all of us know, whether we’re Lebron fans or not that #1 he wants to win. #2, all things being equal, he’d like to remain in Miami and win there.

      Now, once Lebron has info from Riles on the state of Miami’s union, then it will be time for Lebron to ponder and you may start the clock on how long it takes him to think.

      but now, it’s too soon. Lebron has told us he doesn’t like the look of the team right now so that part is known.

      Lebron is waiting for Riles, not himself at this point.

      • casualcommenter - Jul 7, 2014 at 11:42 AM

        That’s the thing. I believed that too, but if it were true, then this move by Rich Paul is terrible.

        Popular consensus was that the Cavs had maybe a 5% chance of luring back LeBron. In the past day, because of the encouragement by Rich Paul to the Cavs, it’s become closer to 50-50.

        If LeBron goes back to Cleveland, this has a happy ending, but if he rejects the Cavs, then the damage to his image will be huge. The Cavs are trading away draft picks to dump players to open up cap space for LeBron. If they don’t get LeBron, then their (bad) team is in even worse shape for next season.

      • sportsfan18 - Jul 7, 2014 at 12:31 PM

        that’s because one Mr. Gilbert is still their owner…

        the fans deserve better…

      • money2long - Jul 7, 2014 at 1:57 PM

        giving riley time to upgrade the teams means the door has been open to leave. so my point still stands. lebron wasnt a lock to stay in miami like all the rabbid heat fans made it seem like.

      • kb2408 - Jul 7, 2014 at 2:24 PM

        “Now, once LeBron has info from Riles on the state of Miami’s union.”……What info does he need? LeBron can see what’s going without having to hear it from Riley. LeBron knows what free agents are available and where others have gone. The only free agents still available will not get Miami over the hump.

      • sportsfan18 - Jul 7, 2014 at 9:50 PM

        Lebron needs a justifiable exit strategy…

        so, he waits on Riles…

        YES, you’re right that LBJ knows about players out there…

        after giving Riles time (because leaving 4 min’s after free agency began would cause LBJ to get hammered by fans and the press because he didn’t give Riles time to improve the team…).

        there are many moving parts in all of this including a team he goes to needing to be close to winning a championship (in reality) if he joined them…

    • miamatt - Jul 7, 2014 at 12:03 PM

      You could be right, but how do you know he hasn’t made a decision? This is just as likely posturing and muscle-flexing as it is “pondering options”.

      I know I expected James, Wade, and Bosh to opt out, and for there to be a media/twitternation firestorm in the aftermath.

      The only stories you can believe this time of year are “player x signs with team y for ___ $$$ over ____ years. 90% of the rest is politics.

      • money2long - Jul 7, 2014 at 1:58 PM

        matt please just dont relay unoriginal thoughts to me. yes i know the only thing we’ve heard is he wants max.

  6. getlow81 - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:54 AM

    Seriously? They’ve allegedly been waiting for this summer to pitch LeBron to come back, yet they hosted the letter through their website since it’s conception 4 years ago, until now, the middle of Free Agency…That shows me that at least Gilbert is still more salty than he’s lead us to believe lately about LBJ leaving. For that reason, I think the management in place is the reason LeBron still won’t come back.

    If that letter was never written, I truly believe LeBron would be extremely likely to come back to the Cavs.

    • sportsfan18 - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:56 AM

      I concur will all of your points getlow…

    • casualcommenter - Jul 7, 2014 at 11:44 AM

      The letter definitely hurts.

      Imagine your boss wrote a public letter about you that absolutely TRASHES your character and includes a promise that you would never find success without working for him.

      Would that bug you if that same boss tried to recruit you a few years later? It would for me.

      • elcapitan1019 - Jul 7, 2014 at 7:27 PM

        I’d have a 100 million reasons to forgive him. It would make Gilbert seem even more classless than he was when he posted that dumb letter.

    • zerole00 - Jul 7, 2014 at 11:56 AM

      I’m sure if the whole “Cleveland burning his jersey” thing didn’t happen his return would be a lot easier too.

      Honestly, I’m not a fan of LeBron but people acted like he stole their bikes and beat their sisters when he went to play for another city.

  7. jmblosser82 - Jul 7, 2014 at 11:08 AM

    He may not be heading back to Miami but there is a very slim chance he ends up back in Cleveland

    • casualcommenter - Jul 7, 2014 at 11:45 AM

      That’s what I still think, which is why I think LeBron is headed for a PR disaster in his homestate.

      His close friend/agent may have accidentally raised the Cavs’ hopes too high. As recently as a week ago, LeBron choosing to stay with Miami could have been spun as keeping the status quo. Now, if he stays Miami, it’s going to be viewed as LeBron actively raising the Cavs’ hopes before crushing them, just like in 2010.

  8. cruzan80 - Jul 7, 2014 at 12:11 PM

    It’s hilarious to me how some of you believe that two grown men, one a millionaire & the other a billionaire. Can’t get over a mean letter in order to make a SMART business move which will only make them both MORE MONEY & success in their careers.

    Lebron already admitted that “Thee Decision” was a mistake & that he would’ve done thing differently if he could. All Gilbert has to do is the same to Lebron & move on with business.

    This isn’t high people or a scene for “Mean Girls”. It’s grown men trying to do smart business together. If it makes sense for both parties…they’ll do it…if it doesn’t…they won’t. Period.

    • kinggw - Jul 7, 2014 at 12:28 PM

      You are remarkably naive if you think that was just a mean letter and that wouldn’t play a factor in James returning.

      • sportsfan18 - Jul 7, 2014 at 12:37 PM

        bingo King

        that and Lebron has and is going to continue making money hand over fist

        Lebron has done alright since leaving the Cavs…

        The Cavs have continued to flounder since Lebron left.

        yeah, it IS important to the Cavs, it isn’t nearly as important for Lebron…

        Gilbert would have his arena filled with LBJ and could realistically compete for a title (didn’t say win, but compete).

        So I see why Gilbert wants him.

        Lebron will still have fame, riches and success even if he doesn’t go back to Cleveland…

        Lebron isn’t letting money and success stop him from going back to Cleveland as he has it and will continue to have it if he doesn’t go back.

      • cruzan80 - Jul 7, 2014 at 1:57 PM

        @ kingw

        Sure I’ll play a “factor”…as in “I’m sorry…that was wrong. Now let’s try to make some good business together.”

        That’s pretty much it. Sure Lebron will still have money & fame but Gilbert will also still be a billionaire long after Lebron retires too.

        Bottom line is they BOTH can help each other right now better than either of their available options.

        Again, this is called good business….not “All My Children”.

  9. bbk1000 - Jul 7, 2014 at 1:16 PM

    LeBron appears to be a guy who needs to be loved…..he needs a hug every now and again…be told he is a great guy….a great player….

    I’m thinking in a former life he was a farmer…..there were no onions grown on his farm….

    • dziner305 - Jul 8, 2014 at 12:26 AM

      Ha ha ha…ho ho ho…@bk1000…bro, you made my day!

  10. jcrileyesq - Jul 7, 2014 at 1:27 PM

    If i I was Lebron i would put out there the only way I would go back to Cleveland is if Gilbert sold the team… Gilbert could make an incredible profit and city of Cleveland would be excited to have “hometown” hero back and Lebron could secure his legacy.. there is no way he should go back and put money in Gilbert’s pocket

  11. cwilson6843 - Jul 7, 2014 at 2:04 PM

    I’ve said this before along with others. The big three took a blow to the pockets when they joined in Miami. Arison Ibbelieve its your turn to take that blow to keep them there. I think the ball is in his field and he better make something happen. Either that or thank the big 3 for 4 finals appearances and 2 rings. They’ve done what they came together to do and contended for multiple championships. Arison do the right thing and cut the check. It won’t hurt you one bit.

  12. florida727 - Jul 7, 2014 at 6:53 PM

    I’m not a LeBron fan or a Cavs fan, but I would like to see him return there and see if can lead them to a title. I don’t think it’ll happen though because NBA owners are ego-maniacs and ego-maniacs don’t apologize for their stupidity… ever.

  13. elcapitan1019 - Jul 7, 2014 at 7:20 PM

    Hey, Gilbert. YOU are the problem. You could have taken the high road and made LBJ look even worse had you shown just a modicum of class, but you went even lower. I’d love to be a fly on the wall when you eat crow if LBJ’s return rumor goes further and he requests a face to face. Be sure to wipe the egg off before you go into the room. And, LBJ ought to wear his TWO rings to the meeting.

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