This time around, there was no Comic Sans letter.
The Cleveland Cavaliers and owner Dan Gilbert released their first official statement following the news that LeBron James will join the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday night. Gilbert focused largely on the team’s 2016 title that James helped lead them to, penning a statement of gratitude recognizing all that James did for the franchise.
“We will always remember the evening of June 19, 2016 as the Cleveland Cavaliers, led by LeBron James, ended the 52-year drought delivering the long elusive championship that many thought they would never see,” Gilbert wrote. “A championship that united generations of Clevelanders, both living and passed.
“None of this would have happened if LeBron James did not agree to come back home and lead the Cavaliers to the promised land. The entire Cavaliers franchise thanks LeBron for that precious moment and for all of the excitement he delivered as he led our team to four straight NBA Finals appearances.”
His 2018 statement is very different than the one Gilbert released in 2010 when James left the Cavs for the first time— the one where Gilbert accused James of narcissism and promised that the Cavs would win a title before James did.
The statement put a big rift between the two— one that was arguably never repaired— but nevertheless, James was willing to put his feelings for Gilbert aside when he made his return to Cleveland in 2014 to take care of what he called “unfinished business:” winning a title for his hometown team.
Gilbert not only recognized all that James did for the Cavs on the court over the course of his career in the statement, but all that he has done for Northeast Ohio, talking about his “commitment to the region” through his foundation and charity work.
Gilbert ended the statement by saying that James did come home and delivered on his ultimate goal, thanking him for his achievements, and talking about his inevitable jersey retirement.
“LeBron, you came home and delivered the ultimate goal. 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...”