Dan Gilbert talks about the secret meeting he had with LeBron James
Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert probably feels like he is on cloud nine right now with the recent news of LeBron James coming back to Cleveland. But this feeling of euphoria took four long years to experience along with no communication between the two. “The Decision,” certainly wasn’t LeBron’s finest hour, but it may have made Gilbert look even worse in a lot of ways. This is because Gilbert, who was emotional understandably, posted an open letter to Northeast Ohio that was more of a rant that made the owner look like a loose cannon.
The next four years marked a ton of success for LeBron and very little for the Cavaliers – outside of winning the NBA lottery a few times. However, that would change quickly as King James opted out of his contract shortly after losing to the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Finals. And, although many NBA experts had James pegged to return to South Beach, by opting out of his contract, this at least gave the Cleveland brass a ray of hope that James could return home. But before James could potentially return to Cleveland, a meeting between his former owner had to take place. Gilbert described his feelings leading up to the secret meeting in a very poignant interview.
Via USA Today:
He pondered that as the plane descended into Florida. He and James hadn’t spoken since that night. Four years. They’d seen each other a few times. “I’d sit on the baseline when he came back to play in Cleveland. He’d look at me from the free-throw line. Not good. Not bad. Just look.”
Now he was scheduled to meet James, in secret, to discuss what seemed impossible just days earlier — a return to the Cavs. The whole world was hanging on the news. But as Gilbert glanced out the window, for a moment he wasn’t a billionaire Detroit businessman or an NBA owner. He was every guy seeing his ex-wife after the divorce, every teen guitarist seeing a former friend who broke up the band.
“I had told LeBron’s guys, whether he comes back or not, I really want to clear the air. It shouldn’t be like this.”
When Gilbert finally arrived at the “private home,” he told James that their situation has been hanging over his head for a long time. In addition to his own apology to LeBron, Gilbert would be surprised as James would reciprocate an apology of his own.
“First thing I said to him was, ‘LeBron, you know this is true. We had five good years and one bad night. Like a marriage that’s good and then one bad thing happens and you never talk to each other again.”
‘I’m just glad we’re here, whether you come or not, LeBron. This has been hanging over my head.’ “
To his surprise, he soon heard James saying the same thing. The superstar said he regretted the infamous “The Decision” broadcast. He said he didn’t think it out properly. In short, many of the things Gilbert was thinking about his own actions.
“I apologized and we talked and it took maybe 15 or 20 minutes. That’s it. Then I said, ‘Is that enough about the past?’ And we started talking about the future.”
It’s good to see Gilbert and LeBron settle their differences. The two seem genuinely seem to like each other and acknowledge they made a mistake. Now, it’s time for James and company to bring the Larry O’Brien trophy to Northeast Ohio.