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LeBron James implies Dan Gilbert’s letter was a mistake, but absolves Cavaliers owner

Jul 11, 2014, 1:07 PM EDT

LeBron James is headed back to the Cleveland Cavaliers, something that not long ago seemed impossible.

Chief among the reasons that move seemed unlikely: Dan Gilbert’s letter. Even today, it appeared to be an issue.

But LeBron has moved on.

LeBron, via Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated:

To make the move I needed the support of my wife and my mom, who can be very tough. The letter from Dan Gilbert, the booing of the Cleveland fans, the jerseys being burned — seeing all that was hard for them. My emotions were more mixed. It was easy to say, “OK, I don’t want to deal with these people ever again.” But then you think about the other side. What if I were a kid who looked up to an athlete, and that athlete made me want to do better in my own life, and then he left? How would I react? I’ve met with Dan, face-to-face, man-to-man. We’ve talked it out. Everybody makes mistakes. I’ve made mistakes as well. Who am I to hold a grudge?

I found it interesting LeBron expressed sympathy toward Ohio children, considering Gilbert’s letter said, “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.”

I don’t know whether it’s intentional, but LeBron also comes close to equating Gilbert’s reaction to how a child would react. Then again, LeBron also doesn’t technically call the letter a mistake – though it’s strongly implied.

Alas, LeBron has dropped the issue – and good for him. Grudges aren’t healthy and usually aren’t worth holding.

  1. bigtganks - Jul 11, 2014 at 1:16 PM

    This guy is just awesome. He’s such an example. “Who am I to hold a grudge?” An example of forgiveness and being the bigger person. I’ll never understand the hate he gets. He’s just awesome…

    • florida727 - Jul 11, 2014 at 1:29 PM

      I’m not a LeBron fan, but my respect level for him went through the roof when I heard the announcement. I’m a Bulls fan, but am genuinely excited for Cavs fans. This is a great day in Cleveland sports history. Well done, LeBron. To overlook the Gilbert letter, the fans burning jerseys, the media pundits ripping his decision to leave, and yet he says the heck with it, I’m going home and I want to bring a championship there next. Good for him. Good for all you Cavs fans. Congratulations!

    • jayhit - Jul 11, 2014 at 1:31 PM

      I know what your saying sometimes I wish I can touch him but I can’t lol

    • antistratfordian - Jul 11, 2014 at 1:42 PM

      I’ve been talking about it for a few days now. Forgiveness & Reconciliation. It is really an African American tradition. The legacy of Dr. King and Malcom X.

      • apkyletexas - Jul 11, 2014 at 1:46 PM

        This is impressive anti. With this move, LeBron will go down in history as more human and more humble than MJ, which is a very, very good thing. This moves LeBron up into Magic Johnson territory, in terms of being a great player but also a whole person, not consumed by his own rock star status.

      • patfic5 - Jul 11, 2014 at 1:52 PM

        Can white people play, too? Lol.

      • antistratfordian - Jul 11, 2014 at 1:58 PM

        Only if you’re a Democrat. That’s a joke.

      • jkirby317 - Jul 11, 2014 at 2:15 PM

        Correction: You have been saying for months that LBJ was staying in Miami.

      • antistratfordian - Jul 11, 2014 at 2:18 PM

        Correction: I have been saying for months that LBJ was staying in Miami but that him going back to Cleveland eventually was inevitable.

      • azarkhan - Jul 11, 2014 at 2:33 PM

        Anti, please stick your racist progressive white head back up your white a@@. Thanks!

      • antistratfordian - Jul 11, 2014 at 3:10 PM

        I’m not white. I am progressive though… always on the cutting edge

    • handsomerob86 - Jul 11, 2014 at 1:47 PM

      Well I certainly understood the hate he got for the decision, but I think he has made up for it this time. He came back, still in his prime. That deserves something. And when Lebron goes into the Hall, it will be as a Cav, as it should be.

      • thesportsjudge - Jul 11, 2014 at 2:52 PM

        What if he has 0 rings with the Cavs? Will he go in as a Cav with a Heat championship ring on each middle finger?

  2. remyje - Jul 11, 2014 at 1:16 PM

    can’t wait to watch these confused fans scramble

  3. chiadam - Jul 11, 2014 at 1:18 PM

    Miami Heat 2014 Roster –
    PG – Shabazz Napier (the guy LeBron wanted)
    SG – Old man Wade
    SF – ?
    PF – ?
    C -?

    • bigtganks - Jul 11, 2014 at 1:23 PM

      Can you imagine? If you’re Shabazz…

      “OMG, I’m going to the Heat, Lebron wants to play with me, this is gonna be SO AWESOME!!!”

      (fast forward two weeks)

      “Oh crap…”

    • zerole00 - Jul 11, 2014 at 1:26 PM

      They’re going from championship contenders to #1 draft pick contenders in one off season.

      Didn’t they draft the PG that LBJ liked? lol

      • chitownmatt - Jul 11, 2014 at 1:46 PM

        “They’re going from championship contenders to #1 draft pick contenders in one off season.”

        Hmmmmmm, sounds an awful lot like the Cavs a few years ago.

      • shutmdownd - Jul 11, 2014 at 3:59 PM

        yeah it did sound like the cars, but they got the last laugh cause they got irving & wiggins and now the best player in the nba is joining them…

    • jkirby317 - Jul 11, 2014 at 2:16 PM

      Don’t worry the Heat signed McBob and Granger… They will be fine, right?

  4. ProBasketballPundit - Jul 11, 2014 at 1:20 PM

    Comic sans was a mistake. That letter was a debacle.

    • jeffkx - Jul 11, 2014 at 1:24 PM

      ha who cares man? good lord..

  5. patsmiley - Jul 11, 2014 at 1:24 PM

    Does this mean the Heat will get 3 1st overall picks in the draft?

    • reesesteel23 - Jul 11, 2014 at 1:39 PM

      They better lol. And in 5 years get Lebron back too.

      Worked for Cleveland

      • jeffkx - Jul 11, 2014 at 2:09 PM

        yuck yuck yuck yuck ahahhaahahahahaha

  6. bucrightoff - Jul 11, 2014 at 1:24 PM

    Tons of credit for forgiving Gilbert. It certainly makes claims that he has a huge ego somewhat muted because who exactly with a big ego could forgive someone who did what Gilbert did?

  7. jtk1985 - Jul 11, 2014 at 1:27 PM

    PG: Kyrie
    SG: Wiggins
    C: Andy V

    Thats a decent lineup without making any other moves. I dont think they win the title this year but its certainly possible they make the ECF.

    • spursareold - Jul 11, 2014 at 1:28 PM

      Decent? That’s two All Stars and the number one pick in the draft!

      • thesportsjudge - Jul 11, 2014 at 2:54 PM

        When did you make that screen name by chance? Was it before any of their last 3 titles or so?

    • patsmiley - Jul 11, 2014 at 2:37 PM

      Kyrie is overrated. He couldn’t make the playoffs in the East. The rest of the team is composed of bench players.

      • bougin89 - Jul 11, 2014 at 2:49 PM

        Kyrie is really, really good on offense. His efficiency will improve with Lebron as well. Sure, he has limitations on defense but he could be in for a special season with Lebron there.

  8. nsstlfan - Jul 11, 2014 at 1:28 PM

    Watch all the Cleveland fans come graveling back to him

    • fissilemissile - Jul 11, 2014 at 2:21 PM

      That was my thought. What about all those Cav fans that burned his jersey, who bought a ticket to the Heat game just to boo him… How do they reconcile this roster change? Do they remain skeptical of him or do they accept the face lost on being spiteful and recognize this as it is, which is a major boost to their lineup? I’m so glad to not be a LeBron fan or Cav’s fan.

  9. football58 - Jul 11, 2014 at 1:29 PM

    Lebron provides an awesome example of forgiveness and will be easy to cheer for.

  10. ripdipbob - Jul 11, 2014 at 1:32 PM

    So now everyone is a LeBron lover…amazing!! Just 2 weeks ago he was public enemy # 1

    • patfic5 - Jul 11, 2014 at 1:35 PM

      Americans love a good redemption story.

      • loungefly74 - Jul 11, 2014 at 2:21 PM

        yup. a title would be icing on the cake.

    • seansull83 - Jul 11, 2014 at 2:03 PM

      I’m not. If he ain’t a Celtic he is on one of the 31 teams I root against.

  11. patfic5 - Jul 11, 2014 at 1:34 PM

    Good choice of words. Well said. The bandwagon is broken.

    • antistratfordian - Jul 11, 2014 at 1:46 PM

      The Bronwagon just got about 1000x heavier though. Everybody is jumping on and I welcome all of them!

      • patfic5 - Jul 11, 2014 at 1:48 PM

        Agreed. He chose his words wisely. Props to him. As a former owner of a #23 Cavs jersey… its nice to hear. Didnt burn mine tho…

      • thesportsjudge - Jul 11, 2014 at 2:56 PM

        How are you a “former owner” yet still have it?

      • antistratfordian - Jul 11, 2014 at 3:12 PM

        He’s disowned it in his heart

      • patfic5 - Jul 11, 2014 at 3:43 PM

        Sold it on ebay

  12. readysethike - Jul 11, 2014 at 1:35 PM

    that first home game, they will be throwing roses on the floor. But i can’t help but laugh at Miami, because Bosh, Wade, and even Haslem opted out of their contract to try and keep Lebron from leaving so he could resign for more money.
    I bet Wade is writing a letter to his hometown Chicago

  13. mungman69 - Jul 11, 2014 at 1:38 PM

    Way to go LeBron! Northeast Ohio is just starting celebrating “THE RETURN”.

  14. pack93z - Jul 11, 2014 at 1:43 PM

    I am a very casual (in the extreme sense of the word) and can’t call myself a fan of LeBron James. But I at times was very critical of some of his decisions and complaints in the press (boohoo I am the easiest target in the NBA). And the methods in which he put out his messages was at times less than desirable.

    But I must say, I am a fan of how he made this choice. A very complete thought of why he made “the decision” and you could feel the emotion bleed through his words. No TV announcement.. no show.. just a release to (a non ESPN source especially nice touch) outlet to express his complete thoughts without being pawed at. If he was going back.. I don’t think it could have been done better. Respect it.

    • laclove - Jul 11, 2014 at 2:19 PM

      I’m glad he’s going back, always been a Lebron fan wasn’t mad that he left for Miami I just felt the decision could have been handled better. KUDOS TO HOW THIS DECISION WAS HANDLED

  15. antistratfordian - Jul 11, 2014 at 1:44 PM

    Can you imagine the pandemonium in the Q during LeBron’s first powder toss?

    I wonder if he’s going back to #23.

    • cruzan80 - Jul 11, 2014 at 2:32 PM

      @ anti

      He said he was going to change his number even if he stayed in Cleveland. He also said he felt like nobody should wear the #23.

      • antistratfordian - Jul 11, 2014 at 3:09 PM

        I know what he said before, but he posted 23 on his instagram in a pre-made ‘I’m coming home’ picture.. it wouldn’t have taken much to put a 6 there like I did on my blog.

  16. chitownmatt - Jul 11, 2014 at 1:48 PM

    The letter was a mistake…

    The “Decision” was a mistake…

    The last four years was…. well he did get two rings.

    Good for LBJ and good for Cleveland.

  17. cruzan80 - Jul 11, 2014 at 1:51 PM

    Been saying this for over a month now.

    The “decision” was a mistake & the letter was a mistake. Their grown men, apologize & get over it. It’s a smart business decision for BOTH parties…period.

    Glad to hear LeBron isn’t as petty & immature as some people thought.

  18. groundpounder95 - Jul 11, 2014 at 3:08 PM

    Where’s that heat fan making fun of me for reporting Gilbert meeting lebron at Cleveland Hopkins the other night with lebrons agent, mother, wife, and kids. If I recall he asked if jimmy Hoffa was there too! Love it when people chime in with weak arguments. I am a reliable source taking that lebron was at the same hangar I work in.

  19. granadafan - Jul 11, 2014 at 4:49 PM

    The Bronwagon. LOL

  20. elcapitan1019 - Jul 12, 2014 at 2:53 PM

    Gilbert’s the one who should look in the mirror and wonder how kids in Ohio view HIS reaction and words.

  21. elcapitan1019 - Jul 12, 2014 at 2:55 PM

    LOL. How many of you Cavs fans now regret burning your LeBron jerseys? You Cavs fans are such losers, it’s hilarious to see your reactions….”who, me? I didn’t boo LeBron”…..”I didn’t burn his jersey”……you are too funny, so cocky again. But his return guarantees nothing. Take a look at your roster.

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