James doubts Gilbert cared about him (AP)

Aug 17th, 2010 | By sportsnews | Category: Sports

MIAMI (AP)—Adding a new layer to the rift between LeBron James(notes) and Dan
Gilbert, the NBA’s two-time reigning MVP and new Miami Heat forward has told GQ
magazine that he isn’t sure the Cleveland Cavaliers owner “ever cared” about
him during their time together.

In an article released Tuesday, James spoke of how widespread criticism of
his decision—and how he chose to make it a television event—is fueling him
this offseason, plus reiterated how Ohio will always remain his home.

But perhaps his sharpest words were reserved for Gilbert, the owner who
lashed out at him shortly after James announced that he would be joining the
Heat.

“I don’t think he ever cared about LeBron,” James is quoted as saying.
“My mother always told me: ‘You will see the light of people when they hit
adversity. You’ll get a good sense of their character.’ Me and my family have
seen the character of that man.”

Gilbert did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

James made similar remarks on the night Miami signed him to a six-year
contract, doing so while sitting alongside the other two legs of the Heat
superstar triangle, Dwyane Wade(notes) and Chris Bosh(notes).

Gilbert was clearly scorned by James’ choice, firing off a now-infamous
letter to Cleveland fans describing it all as “a shameful display of
selfishness and betrayal.” He called James “narcissistic” and
“self-promotional” and vowed the Cavaliers would win a championship before
“the self-titled former king.”

Further, in an interview the same night with The Associated Press, Gilbert
said he felt James quit on Cleveland during the 2009 and 2010 playoffs. Gilbert
was ultimately fined $100,000 by the NBA for what commissioner David Stern said
were comments that fell into the category of being “a little extreme.”

In the GQ article, James took exception to the “quitter” tag.

“Every night on the court I give my all, and if I’m not giving 100 percent,
I criticize myself,” James said.

He added that he’s looking forward to seeing the Cavaliers as opponents this
season.

“I do have motivation,” James told GQ. “A lot of motivation.”

Among other highlights from the article:

— James said he wouldn’t change any part of “The Decision,” the
made-for-TV event in Greenwich, Conn. where he announced his playing plans to an
audience of about 10 million viewers. The hourlong show made $2.5 million for
Boys & Girls Clubs. “When I found out I had an opportunity to do that for those
kids, it was a no-brainer,” James said.

— Despite his feuding with Gilbert, James thinks that if he could ever play
for the Cavaliers again someday, it would be “a great story.”

— James explained he’s always had an uneasy relationship with Cleveland
because he’s from Akron, a half-hour away. “It’s not far, but it is far,”
James said. “And Clevelanders, because they were the bigger-city kids when we
were growing up, looked down on us. … So we didn’t actually like Cleveland. We
hated Cleveland growing up. There’s a lot of people in Cleveland we still hate
to this day.”

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