Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert mended fences with LeBron James on Sunday in Miami, according to a Yahoo report. (Daniel Mears / Detroit News)
Almost as infamous as “The Decision” by Lebron James to join the Miami Heat four years ago was “The Letter,” written that same night by Cavaliers owner and Detroit native Dan Gilbert.
In the letter, which had remained up on the Cavaliers’ website until earlier this week, Gilbert slammed James’ departure as a “cowardly betrayal,” among other things. But all was forgiven in a secret meeting between James and Gilbert in Miami on Sunday, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.
Welcome Home @kingjames. I am excited for the fans and people of Cleveland and Ohio. No fans and people deserve a winner more than them.....— Dan Gilbert (@cavsdan) July 11, 2014
"We had five great years together and one terrible night," Gilbert, who flew down to Miami on his private jet, told James, according to Wojnarowski. "I told him how sorry I was, expressed regret for how that night went and how I let all the emotion and passion for the situation carry me away. I told him I wish I had never done it, that I wish I could take it back."
In turn, Wojnarowski reported James told Gilbert he regretted the way he announced his decision live on ESPN, and the two were able to move on.
"It was more comfortable than I actually thought it would be," Gilbert told Yahoo.
Gilbert talked with Yahoo about the fallout he experienced from the letter.
"Do a Google search on me, and it's the first thing that comes up," said Gilbert, the founder of Quicken Loans who attended Michigan State and Wayne State and is well-known for his real-estate investments in downtown Detroit. "To a certain segment of society, it's like somebody killed somebody, like somebody killed their kid. I told LeBron, 'That letter didn't hurt anybody more than it hurt me.'
"For the first two months, I kept thousands of letters — not hundreds — thousands written to me. There were 90-year-old ladies and CEOs, and I realized that that letter had transcended the event, went far beyond LeBron. After a few months, I would re-read it and just be full of regret. That wasn't me, that wasn't who I am. I didn't mean most of the things I said in there. The venom it produced, from all sides … I wish … I wish I had never done it.
"I'm grateful that we all get another chance together now."
My 8-year-old: "Daddy, does this mean I can finally wear my Lebron jersey, again?"...Yes it does, son. Yes it does!— Dan Gilbert (@cavsdan) July 11, 2014