Hours after LeBron James announced his intention to leave Cleveland for Miami on an ESPN special in 2010, Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert wrote a bizarre letter to Cavs fans.
Written in Comic Sans font, the letter never refers to LeBron by name, but calls the move a “cowardly betrayal” and a “shocking act of disloyalty.”
“I PERSONALLY GUARANTEE THAT THE CLEVELAND CAVALIERS WILL WIN AN NBA CHAMPIONSHIP BEFORE THE SELF-TITLED FORMER ‘KING’ WINS ONE,” he wrote.
That letter remained on the Cavaliers website for four years. Last night, amid widespread rumours that LeBron is interested in going back to Cleveland as a free agent, the letter was taken down. Deadspin’s Barry Petchesky first spotted the removal.
Here’s a cached version of the letter yesterday afternoon (full text of the letter below):
It’s hard to read that letter now and think LeBron would willingly go back to work for Gilbert.
But if the reports are to be believed, there appears to be something substantive here.
Here’s the full text of the Gilbert 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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