CLEVELAND -- When LeBron James announced he was leaving Cleveland to join the Heat in June 2010, Cavs owner Dan Gilbert famously released an open letter expressing his anger and disappointment.
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Now, some insiders suggest this letter may be the reason LeBron is struggling with choosing to return to Cleveland.
ESPN's Chris Broussard reports that one source says, "If it wasn't for that letter, this would've been done awhile ago."
#LeBronLetter quickly became the most-trending topic on Twitter on Friday morning after Broussard's report was posted on ESPN.com (see a live Twitter feed of #LeBronLetter at the bottom of this story).
Gilbert's letter, which labels LeBron's decision as a "cowardly betrayal," among other things, was still accessible on Cavs.com until it was permanently removed earlier this week.
UPDATE: Just before noon on Friday Dan Wetzel, a Yahoo Sports columnist, sent out a tweet saying that the Gilbert letter is "a non issue." The tweet said "LeBron Sources: Gilbert letter a non issue. Pull of "saving" Cleveland considerable. If just about hoops, stays in Miami w short term deal."
WKYC's Tom Beres has reached out to Gilbert for comment, but Cavs officials would not disclose his location.
You can read Gilbert's letter in full below.
Thursday evening, LeBron left Las Vegas and caught an overnight flight to Miami with Dwayne Wade.
Many speculate LeBron will reveal his decision on which team he will join before leaving for the World Cup in Brazil this weekend.
READ Gilbert's letter again:
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.
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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 driver 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"
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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….