July 1, 2016

Intermittent clouds

NBA: LeBron James hurt by Dan Gilbert’s letter

INDEPENDENCE — Turns out LeBron James was hurt when Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert blasted him in a letter two years ago after the small forward announced “The Decision” to go to Miami.

James sidestepped a question about his former organization last week when the Heat won the NBA championship, but opened up a bit while talking with Oprah Winfrey for a July 8 broadcast on the Oprah Winfrey Network.

LeBron James

“It was hurtful because I know how much I put into that organization, and every night I’m out on the floor, I tried to give it my all and I tried to bring a championship to that city every single night,” James said in a clip for the show released Thursday to Fox Sports.

“But, at the same time, I understood that everyone has their opinion. Everybody has a right to say what they want to say and there’s nothing I can do about that.”

The night James announced he was signing with the Heat, Gilbert wrote a letter to fans that called him Cleveland’s “former hero” and said he portrayed “cowardly betrayal.”

Gilbert, who was fined $100,000 by NBA Commissioner David Stern, also guaranteed the Cavs would win a championship before James.

After Miami wrapped up its 4-1 win over Oklahoma City, James was asked in a postgame press conference what he would say to the fans in Cleveland.

He sidestepped the question, saying, “I mean, right here I’m sitting here as a member of the Miami Heat.”

Contact Rick Noland at (330) 721-4061 or rnoland@medina-gazette.com.

Rick Noland About Rick Noland

Rick Noland is the Cavs beat writer for The Gazette and the author of "Over Time," a compilation of stories he's written in more than 30 years as a journalist. He can be reached at 330-721-4061 or rnoland@medina-gazette.com. Like him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.