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LeBron James Responds to Dan Gilbert, Cavs Fans in GQ

Aug 17, 2010 – 1:03 PM
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Tom Ziller

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LeBron James will grace the cover of GQ in September, with the hook a lovely story by J.R. Moehringer, who interviewed the two-time defending NBA MVP three times this summer for the piece. In it, LeBron opens up about a few items previously untouched in the run-up and aftermath of The Decision, James' infamous one-hour ESPN special during which he announced he'd be joining friends Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh with the Miami Heat. (See excerpts of the story.)

Of particular note, LeBron makes his fullest comments on Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, who unleashed an impassioned if completely bonkers Comic Sans screed the night of The Decision. Gilbert called James selfish, disloyal and a quitter, among other things. LeBron's response?

"I don't think he ever cared about LeBron," James tells Moehringer. "My mother always told me: 'You will see the light of people when they hit adversity. You'll get a good sense of their character.' Me and my family have seen the character of that man."

LeBron also refutes the widely-held belief he betrayed his hometown by leaving the Cavaliers by noting that he's from Akron, not Cleveland.

"It's not far, but it is far," LeBron said. "And Clevelanders, because they were the bigger-city kids when we were growing up, looked down on us. ... So we didn't actually like Cleveland. We hated Cleveland growing up. There's a lot of people in Cleveland we still hate to this day."

Another slice of the piece more fully developed in Moehringer's Q&A with TrueHoop's Kevin Arnovitz is the impact LeBron's lonely childhood had on the decision to join his friends in Miami.

"It seems pretty clear that Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh aren't just the best talent he can surround himself with, but they're a combination of talent and friends," Moehringer told Arnovitz. "He's looking for camaraderie. That's the formula that has worked for him -- and the only one that has worked for him. And that comes out of his early childhood when he was completely alone in the apartment he shared with his mother, not knowing his father, not knowing when or if she'd come home. It seems to me these were formative scarring moments that created this need for constant intimate contact."

Certainly, there's pap in the GQ cover story to make LeBron look even more sinister -- especially a few snips where a James publicist truly acts like a king's page in finding a proper setting for Moehringer's interviews. But for anyone who actually takes the time to read and digest Moehringer's piece, and read his separate reaction in the TrueHoop Q&A, this is easily the most nuanced and enlightening dissertation on the Summer of LeBron we've seen.
Filed under: Sports