A week has passed since LeBron James’s latest decision, and Miami couldn’t be more grateful to be rid of a vile character. Miami is happy to be free of a soulless, lying, two faced, cowardly man who hides behind his wealth. A man so wretched that the city he is now representing shares that same foul spirit and is not apologetic toward their actions that embarrassed them in the past. And that awful man, that has thankfully left these sunny shores, is Dan Gilbert.
During the final week of the World Cup, Dan Gilbert infiltrated Miami airspace to speak with LeBron. Like a shameless vampire, Gilbert flew in under the cover of night and privacy so that nobody knew about the secret meeting he would have with James, his former player. Whatever was mentioned or talked about in this particular meeting is unknown (although given his past actions, LeBron was likely covering his ears and screaming to go back while Dan Gilbert spewed more negative thoughts like: “We don’t hate you that much!”). LeBron’s decision had been made a while ago, and the meeting was just a formality, but it doesn’t change the fact that it was disrespectful to have such a horrible owner in the same area code as Miami’s own beloved Micky Arison.
Dan Gilbert years ago had a single, vengeful thought in mind: to ruin LeBron. Regardless of the obvious frustrations of his own employee, Gilbert never changed anything to help or accommodate the world’s best basketball player. He blindly went about making sure James was Cleveland’s best cash cow, but never following through on giving him any real help on the court (hence why James is now busy recruiting Heat bench players, knowing how bad Cleveland can be and doesn’t want to fall into that desolation anytime soon). But refusing to see his own failures as an owner just convinced Gilbert that the failures of the Cavaliers should be blamed on LeBron. What better example then that ungrateful and angry letter written in “comic sans” that vilified and targeted the former, prodigal son from Ohio.
The rest of Cleveland was not that far behind this unsympathetic owner. Men and women were crying in bars and streets all over Akron, rude and resentful remarks were made on live TV targeting LeBron’s character. But the most shocking displays saved in the annals of sports media, were effigies made of jerseys and posters of James being set a blaze in large bonfires as if making an unholy pact that would curse LeBron from ever achieving a championship. The man who had given eight great years of his career and fortunes, was now literally being pitch forked out of his own hometown.
Sadly, LeBron did carry some of the spite and resentfulness himself. Many wondered why LeBron couldn’t capture that first title back in 2010, the blame certainly wasn’t on Dwyane Wade who didn’t suffer any visible knee problems back then. But the blame wasn’t on LeBron’s talent, it was his character. He was playing out anger, trying his best to show his rioting hometown that he was still the best player alive. And the next year, a full season after leaving among a flurry of hate mongering by Dan Gilbert, Cleveland, and the sports media, LeBron let go of this emotional baggage, concentrated on just being a basketball player, and gained multiple championships. Gilbert could only watch in defeat and say to himself: “Wow, maybe he could’ve done that here.”
Cleveland taught LeBron to be a great loser, but Miami showed him how to achieve greatness. It wasn’t just his fellow players; it was the entirety of the Miami community. No matter how bad a picture the media tried to paint, LeBron knew he was in a tropical paradise, winning championships, and hanging out with friends. He tried out the beautiful aspects of Miami from driving his expensive cars down Collins, to joining in on “critical mass”. Even with a tight budget, Heat management was still able to get incredible players like “Birdzilla/Birdman” Chris Anderson and the legendary Ray Allen to help him out. Four times to the championships in four years, that’s four times more than what he was able to achieve under the shortsightedness of Dan Gilbert for eight years.
LeBron’s going back to his ungrateful Cleveland Cavaliers boss. Miami has acted admirably and doing their best to recover. There will be no burning bonfires or improper font letters from Pat Riley or Arison. There have been thank yous and appreciation for LeBron's time helping solidify the Heat dynasty: and if he wants any more of it, he can look at his ring collection (he should have at least two). Next year, NBA jerseys will have a gold marking designating the championship winning teams; LeBron will not have gold on his jersey and must return to the very state that Cleveland had hoped for the rest of his life. How fitting is it that James will now return to CAVS that way he started: full of hope and championship dreams, while making millions for the second worst owner in the NBA. Dan Gilbert may not be a dementia suffering racist, but he has the tenacity and derogatory mind of one.