After a number of impressively hapless seasons around the turn of the millennium, the Cleveland Cavaliers were rewarded for their awfulness (and shameless tanking) by getting the chance to pick up a generational talent in the form of LeBron James all the way back in 2003.
However, it would take a couple of years for the team to truly turn things around and it would be ignorant to not give at least a little bit of credit to Cavs owner Dan Gilbert, who completely restructured the franchise when he became the majority owner a couple of years later.
The Cavaliers would make the playoffs five seasons in a row following the takeover only to see things fall apart when James announced he was taking his talents to South Beach—a Decision that rubbed Gilbert the wrong way based on the infamous letter he penned after the superstar departed.
It’s safe to say the two men weren’t exactly on the best of terms but that didn’t stop Cleveland from welcoming James back with open arms after his time with the Heat came to an end.
It’s not exactly a secret that James can be a bit of a diva, and while his second stint with the team wasn’t without controversy, Gilbert did what he could to accommodate the superstar’s ego and was rewarded with a championship for his efforts.
LeBron would eventually head out west after his contract expired and the Cavs owner penned a slightly more grateful letter after his second departure.
Gilbert recently reflected upon LeBron’s most recent stint while discussing a number of topics with Cleveland.com and threw a little bit of shade at him while doing so, accusing the former franchise player of being self-centered:
“With LeBron, there was a limited shelf life in terms of his age and his contract commitment. It’s a win now at all costs. . . It all revolves around the sun, which is him.”
However, Gilbert did qualify his statement and said it was worth the hassle because the team won a title, so it doesn’t seem like there’s that much ill will remaining.