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It didn't take long for Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert to put out a statement about LeBron James' decision to join the Los Angeles Lakers. This statement is much more classy and professional unlike the letter he wrote eight years ago when James left Cleveland for Miami.
In 2010, Gilbert totally ripped on James for his decision to take his talents to South Beach. Gilbert also guaranteed his Cavaliers would win an NBA championship before LeBron would. That letter and guarantee added more fuel to an already raging inferno and certainly didn't earn Gilbert any points as an owner of a professional sports franchise.
Fast forward eight years and Gilbert has learned from his mistake. He and all Cavaliers fans should appreciate what LeBron gave to his hometown team over the last four seasons, including the first championship in 52 years.
Here is Gilbert's statement in its entirety.
“We will always remember the evening of June 19, 2016 as the Cleveland Cavaliers, led by LeBron James, ended the 52-year drought delivering the long elusive championship that many thought they would never see… A championship that united generations of Clevelanders, both living and passed.
Virtually anyone with roots in Northeast Ohio paused and felt the memories of the past and the utter joy that the burden of the so-called ‘curse’ was finally a thing of the past. Cleveland, Ohio was the home of a championship team for the first time since 1964. Words do not express the meaning and the feeling this accomplishment brought to the people of Northeast Ohio.
None of this would have happened if LeBron James did not agree to come back home and lead the Cavaliers to the promised land. The entire Cavaliers franchise thanks LeBron for that precious moment and for all of the excitement he delivered as he led our team to four straight NBA Finals appearances.
LeBron is a family man, first. We wish his kids, his wife Savannah, his mother Gloria, and LeBron himself nothing but the best in the years and decades ahead. LeBron’s connection to Akron, Cleveland and all of Northeast Ohio will most certainly endure as his commitment to the region and his support of many important causes has been impactful to so many kids and families.
LeBron, you came home and delivered the ultimate goal. Nothing but appreciation and gratitude for everything you put into every moment you spent in a Cavaliers uniform. We look forward to the retirement of the famous #23 Cavs jersey one day down the line.”
It remains to be seen what type of relationship LeBron and Gilbert will have. Keep this in mind, LeBron will likely want to retire as a Cavalier. This letter could go a long way toward that happening. The final year of LeBron's deal with the Lakers is a player option. If things don't work out in Los Angeles by 2021, another homecoming could happen again.
GIlbert could also sell the franchise to LeBron once his playing days are over.