LeBron James On Cleveland: “I Don’t Owe Anybody Anything”

Bryan Brandom
(Photo: Getty Images)

The sparks of LeBron James’ potential split from the Cleveland Cavaliers following the upcoming season caught fire this summer.

In a recent long-ranging interview, the four-time MVP heaved a hefty breath into the flame to elevate it to a blaze.

“What does LeBron James owe the city of Cleveland?” GQ‘s Mark Anthony Green asked LeBron.

“LeBron James owes nobody anything. Nobody,” the Cavs star responded. “When my mother told me I don’t owe her anything, from that point in time, I don’t owe anybody anything. But what I will give to the city of Cleveland is passion, commitment, and inspiration. As long as I put that jersey on, that’s what I represent. That’s why I’m there—to inspire that city. But I don’t owe anybody anything.”

James also revealed that he still thinks about the letter that Cavs owner Dan Gilbert wrote to the city of Cleveland after LeBron’s departure for the Miami Heat in 2010, one that labeled him a narcissistic traitor:

I did [think Gilbert’s letter had racial overtones]. I did. It was another conversation I had to have with my kids. It was unfortunate, because I believed in my heart that I had gave that city and that owner, at that point in time, everything that I had. Unfortunately, I felt like, at that point in time, as an organization, we could not bring in enough talent to help us get to what my vision was. A lot of people say they want to win, but they really don’t know how hard it takes, or a lot of people don’t have the vision. So, you know, I don’t really like to go back on that letter, but it pops in my head a few times here, a few times there. I mean, it’s just human nature. I think that had a lot to do with race at that time, too, and that was another opportunity for me to kind of just sit back and say, “Okay, well, how can we get better? How can we get better? How can I get better?” And if it happens again, then you’re able to have an even more positive outlook on it. It wasn’t the notion of I wanted to do it my way. It was the notion of I’m gonna play this game, and I’m gonna prepare myself so damn hard that when I decide to do something off the court, I want to be able to do it because I’ve paid my dues.

Sounds like it’s going to take a lot to put out this fire.

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