LeBron James Decision: Why Dan Gilbert's Comments Are Way Out of Line

Mihir Bhagat@mihirbhagatSenior Analyst IIIJuly 9, 2010

Shortly after LeBron James announced his decision to join Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami, Cleveland Cavaliers' owner Dan Gilbert decided to give his own personal response. 

Understandably upset, he decided to express his opinions in a letter to Cavs’ fans on the team’s website. To our surprise, though, the content of the letter consisted of pure hatred towards none other but King James, himself.

In the letter Gilbert accused LeBron of quitting in the playoff series against Boston this past season. “He quit,” Gilbert said. “Not just in Game 5, but in Games 2, 4, and 6. Watch the tape. The Boston series was unlike anything in the history of sports for a superstar."

If this was the case, why are the Cavaliers even upset? Why would they want to bring back a 'quitter'?

Moreover, in an interview with the Associated Press, Gilbert said, “People have covered up for James for way too long. Tonight we saw who he really is.”

Yes, we certainly did. We saw a two-time MVP who was wise enough to swallow his pride, tarnish his name, and risk being shunned in his hometown, all in an effort to achieve the ultimate professional athletic goal—to win a championship.

The other thing that truly puzzled me was when Gilbert remarked that, “It’s not about him leaving. It’s the disrespect. It’s time for people to hold these athletes accountable for their actions. Is this the way you raise your children? I’ve been holding this all in for a long time.”

First of all, this is a weak attempt at making it look like LeBron committed a serious offense. Did he leave his hometown? Yes. But when Gilbert has openly admitted he has built up hatred for LeBron, why shouldn’t the King leave? Honestly, why would LeBron stay and play for an owner who has the audacity to publicly harass him?

Finally, realize that not once did Gilbert provide a reason as to why he thinks the Cavaliers will win a championship before LeBron does. Of course, that’s because unlike LeBron’s rational decision, Gilbert’s response was purely emotional.

Do you see the Chicago Bulls, New Jersey Nets, or New York Knicks behaving this way? Weren't they disappointed as well?

If you read between the lines, you will notice that Gilbert is regretting his own failure. He realizes that he was unable to make the Cavaliers a winning franchise and, in my opinion, is too much of a coward himself to admit it.

In my mind the Cavaliers' organization and its fans should be thanking LeBron for pouring his heart and soul into the franchise for the past seven seasons. He single-handedly led this team from the relatively unknown to the game's biggest stage. For this and several other reasons, instead of burning his jersey they should be honoring it.

I'm confident that LeBron will remain strong, however, and look past the envy of his once beloved fans. He has a golden opportunity to win multiple championships with the Heat, and he will not allow something as silly as a mere letter to be an obstacle.

Of course, the one benefit from this entire incident is that it makes the return to Cleveland this upcoming season all the more intriguing.


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