The moment the world had been waiting for – LeBron James finally announced Thursday night, July 8, on an hour-long ESPN special that he would be leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers to join Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on the Miami Heat.
Cavaliers fans are devastated by the news. Some are demonstrating their disappointment by burning LeBron James jerseys. Even Cavaliers majority owner Dan Gilbert is expressing his anguish over the decision. A letter to the Cleveland Cavaliers fans from Dan Gilbert was posted on the Cavaliers website shortly after announcement was made. Gilbert did not hold back, using words such as “selfish”, “shameful” and “betrayal”.
A quote directly from Gilbert’s letter:
“This was announced with a several day, narcissistic, self-promotional build-up culminating with a national TV special of his “decision” unlike anything ever “witnessed” in the history of sports and probably the history of entertainment.”
Dan Gilbert told The Associated Press late Thursday night that he feels “personally betrayed” by James and that it’s “accountability time.”
In a phone interview with the Associated Press, Gilbert said “people have covered up for [James] for way too long. Tonight we saw who he really is.”
He also said he personally guarantees that the Cleveland Cavaliers will win a championship before “the self-titled former ‘king’ wins one.”
“I can’t say it was always in my plans, because I never thought it was possible,” James said on the hour-long live show on ESPN Thursday night. “But the things that the Miami Heat franchise have done, to free up cap space and be able to put themselves in a position this summer to have all three of us, it was hard to turn down. Those are two great players, two of the greatest players that we have in this game today.”
“We are looking forward to the opportunity of building something that our fans in Miami will be proud of for a long, long time,” Miami Heat president Pat Riley said. “The journey is just beginning.”
“I can’t get involved in that,” LeBron said, referring to the outrage in Clevelane. “I wanted to do what was best for LeBron James … At the end of the day, I feel awful. I feel even worse that I wasn’t able to bring an NBA championship to that city.
“To my real fans out there, I hope that you’ll continue to support me all the way to Miami.”
To read all of Dan Gilbert’s letter to the Cavaliers’ fans, visit nba.com/cavaliers.