In 2010, on the night LeBron James announced he was heading to the Miami Heat, Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert annihilated James, calling him a “coward” among other things, in a letter posted to the team website.
Now, four years later, on the day LeBron announced he was coming home back to the Cavaliers, Gilbert is making it known that he apologized to James in a recent meeting of the minds.
From Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowksi:
“We had five great years together and one terrible night,” Gilbert told James, and so started the process of reconciliation on Sunday night in Miami. “I told him how sorry I was, expressed regret for how that night went and how I let all the emotion and passion for the situation carry me away. I told him I wish I had never done it, that I wish I could take it back.”
LeBron also apologized for how he handled his departure from Cleveland and said he accepted Gilbert’s apology in a letter announcing his return to the Cavs posted on SportsIllustrated.com.
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?
The timing of Gilbert’s apology is certainly noteworthy, as it’s possible he just said sorry in an attempt to convince the best player in the league to come to his team. Regardless of Gilbert’s motives, James is a Cavalier again and that’s likely all that really matters to him.
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