USA TODAY Sports’ Sam Amick and Jeff Zillgitt discuss LeBron James’ decision to join the Los Angeles Lakers on a four-year, $154-million contract.
USA TODAY Sports
It’s remarkable how time and an NBA championship can smooth over a rocky relationship.
Eight years after penning a scathing letter in response to LeBron James’ first departure from Cleveland, team owner Dan Gilbert struck a much more appreciative tone Sunday night with James leaving the Cavaliers a second time.
In a statement released after it was announced that James had agreed to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers as a free agent, Gilbert thanked James for “delivering the long elusive championship that many thought they would never see.” Gilbert also lauded James for “his commitment to the region and his support of many important causes (that) has been impactful to so many kids and families.”
Gilbert concluded by saying he and the organization “look forward to the retirement of the famous #23 Cavs jersey one day down the line.”
That’s a far cry from Gilbert’s words in 2010, when James announced his plans to leave the Cavaliers for the Miami Heat in a televised special. Gilbert famously posted a letter on the team’s website in which he took James to task for what he deemed a “shameful display of selfishness and betrayal by one of our very own.”
Gilbert also guaranteed the Cavaliers would win a championship “before the self-titled former ‘King’ wins one.”
The Cavaliers, of course, did not win a title before James. But after four seasons and two rings in Miami, James returned to lead the Cavaliers to the 2016 title and Cleveland’s first major sports championship since 1964.
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