Cavs owner: LeBron quit during Celtics series
|07.09.10 at 6:45 am ET|
Gilbert told The Associated Press in a phone interview that James “quit” on the team during the Cavs’ second-round playoff series against the Celtics.
“He quit. 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.”
Gilbert also offered his opinion on why James decided to go to Miami and made a bold prediction.
“LeBron James needs to go to another team with two superstars already so he can win a championship,” Gilbert said. “We will win a championship before [the Heat] do.”
Added Gilbert: “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.”
In Miami, Dwyane Wade said he was stunned by Gilbert’s comments.
“I think I’m happy that I have the owner that I have here in Miami,” Wade told the AP late Thursday night. “I’m happy Micky Arison is my owner. I couldn’t believe it. I’m speechless. It’s very unfortunate and I think it makes LeBron that much better about his decision.”
Added Wade: “We knew ‘Bron would take some backlash. I told him he’s a strong man for it.”
Gilbert also took out his anger toward James by posting a letter on the Cavaliers website, calling LeBron’s actions “cowardly.”
“As you now know, our former hero, who grew up in the very region that he deserted this evening, is no longer a Cleveland Cavalier.” Gilbert wrote. “You simply don’t deserve this kind of cowardly betrayal.”
Here is the full text of the letter:
Dear Cleveland, All Of Northeast Ohio and Cleveland Cavaliers Supporters Wherever You May Be Tonight;
As you now know, our former hero, who grew up in the very region that he deserted this evening, is no longer a Cleveland Cavalier.
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.
Clearly, this is bitterly disappointing to all of us.
The good news is that the ownership team and the rest of the hard-working, loyal, and driven staff over here at your hometown Cavaliers have not betrayed you nor NEVER will betray you.
There is so much more to tell you about the events of the recent past and our more than exciting future. Over the next several days and weeks, we will be communicating much of that to you.
You simply don’t deserve this kind of cowardly betrayal.
You have given so much and deserve so much more.
In the meantime, I want to make one statement to you tonight:
“I PERSONALLY GUARANTEE THAT THE CLEVELAND CAVALIERS WILL WIN AN NBA CHAMPIONSHIP BEFORE THE SELF-TITLED FORMER ‘KING’ WINS ONE”
You can take it to the bank.
If you thought we were motivated before tonight to bring the hardware to Cleveland, I can tell you that this shameful display of selfishness and betrayal by one of our very own has shifted our “motivation” to previously unknown and previously never experienced levels.
Some people think they should go to heaven but NOT have to die to get there.
Sorry, but that’s simply not how it works.
This shocking act of disloyalty from our home grown “chosen one” sends the exact opposite lesson of what we would want our children to learn. And “who” we would want them to grow-up to become.
But the good news is that this heartless and callous action can only serve as the antidote to the so-called “curse” on Cleveland, Ohio.
The self-declared former “King” will be taking the “curse” with him down south. And until he does “right” by Cleveland and Ohio, James (and the town where he plays) will unfortunately own this dreaded spell and bad karma.
Sleep well, Cleveland.
Tomorrow is a new and much brighter day. …
I PROMISE you that our energy, focus, capital, knowledge and experience will be directed at one thing and one thing only:
DELIVERING YOU the championship you have long deserved and is long overdue….
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