One of the most memorable and awkward points of LeBron James leaving Cleveland was a note that Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert posted on the team's website blasting his former (and now current) superstar. Throughout the years, Gilbert has mentioned regrets for it — the way it was worded, the promises he made in it but never the actual action of posting it (or that it was posted in Comic Sans for that matter).
But earlier this week, it was finally removed from the Cavaliers website (something that the organization played off as unrelated to free agency). Though it was gone, rumors continued to swirl that it was the reason that James hadn't made his announcement yet (though there's been nothing confirmed on that) and thoughts that if he didn't go back, would Gilbert's outrage be to blame?
In his letter explaining why he was returning to Cleveland on SI.com, James took the slightly surprising step of addressing the note and the overall vitriolic reaction from Cleveland fans four years ago.
"The letter from Dan Gilbert, the booing of the Cleveland fans, the jerseys being burned — seeing all that was hard for them. My emotions were more mixed. It was easy to say, "OK, I don't want to deal with these people ever again." But then you think about the other side," he said. "What if I were a kid who looked up to an athlete, and that athlete made me want to do better in my own life, and then he left? How would I react? I've met with Dan, face-to-face, man-to-man. We've talked it out. Everybody makes mistakes. I've made mistakes as well. Who am I to hold a grudge?"
It's unclear from the letter if the conversation happened before James signed or back years ago, like when Gilbert posted a tweet congratulating the Heat on winning the Finals or another one saying that James had a bright future ahead.
The only question James answers, and perhaps this is the only one that matters, is that it happened.