Sunday night, LeBron James fulfilled what NBA fans had expected for more than a year: he signed with the Los Angeles Lakers. LeBron inked a four-year max deal with the purple and gold, leaving his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers behind for the second time in his career.
The first time he bolted—for Miami—Cavs owner Dan Gilbert was furious. He wrote an infamous letter chastising LeBron. This time around, he's much more understanding. Gilbert released a statement after LeBron's decision, posted Monday on the Cavs' website.
Gilbert opened the statement by thanking LeBron for leading Cleveland to "the promised land" and lifting "the curse" in coming home and leading the Cavs to the 2016 title.
"LeBron is a family man, first," Gilbert continued. "We wish his kids, his wife Savannah, his mother Gloria, and LeBron himself nothing but the best in the years and decades ahead. LeBron's connection to Akron, Cleveland and all of Northeast Ohio will most certainly endure as his commitment to the region and his support of many important causes has been impactful to so many kids and families."
An uncharacteristically humble Gilbert even promised to retire LBJ's jersey. "LeBron, you came home and delivered the ultimate goal," he wrote. "Nothing but appreciation and gratitude for everything you put into every moment you spent in a Cavaliers uniform. We look forward to the retirement of the famous #23 Cavs jersey one day down the line."
LeBron will certainly like this letter more than the last one. "[Gilbert] completely bashed me and disrespected not only me as an individual but disrespected my name," James said of Gilbert's 2010 letter. "And my name is not just myself, it's my wife, my kids, my grandfather, my mother, so many more people."