NBA

LeBron: 'We hated Cleveland growing up'

LeBron James (Stephen Chernin/Associated Press)
LeBron revealed some more surprising news to GQ magazine about his time in Cleveland.
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MIAMI (AP)

Adding a new layer to the rift between LeBron James and Dan Gilbert, the NBA's two-time reigning MVP and new Miami Heat forward has told GQ magazine that he isn't sure the Cleveland Cavaliers owner ''ever cared'' about him during their time together.

In an article released Tuesday, James spoke of how widespread criticism of his decision - and how he chose to make it a television event - is fueling him this offseason, plus reiterated how Ohio will always remain his home.

But perhaps his sharpest words were reserved for Gilbert, the owner who lashed out at him shortly after James announced that he would be joining the Heat.

''I don't think he ever cared about LeBron,'' James is quoted as saying. ''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.''

Gilbert did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

James made similar remarks on the night Miami signed him to a six-year contract, doing so while sitting alongside the other two legs of the Heat superstar triangle, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

Gilbert was clearly scorned by James' choice, firing off a now-infamous letter to Cleveland fans describing it all as ''a shameful display of selfishness and betrayal.'' He called James ''narcissistic'' and ''self-promotional'' and vowed the Cavaliers would win a championship before ''the self-titled former king.''

Further, in an interview the same night with The Associated Press, Gilbert said he felt James quit on Cleveland during the 2009 and 2010 playoffs. Gilbert was ultimately fined $100,000 by the NBA for what commissioner David Stern said were comments that fell into the category of being ''a little extreme.''

In the GQ article, James took exception to the ''quitter'' tag.

''Every night on the court I give my all, and if I'm not giving 100 percent, I criticize myself,'' James said.

He added that he's looking forward to seeing the Cavaliers as opponents this season.

''I do have motivation,'' James told GQ. ''A lot of motivation.''

Among other highlights from the article:

- James said he wouldn't change any part of ''The Decision,'' the made-for-TV event in Greenwich, Conn. where he announced his playing plans to an audience of about 10 million viewers. The hourlong show made $2.5 million for Boys & Girls Clubs. ''When I found out I had an opportunity to do that for those kids, it was a no-brainer,'' James said.

- Despite his feuding with Gilbert, James thinks that if he could ever play for the Cavaliers again someday, it would be ''a great story.''

- James explained he's always had an uneasy relationship with Cleveland because he's from Akron, a half-hour away. ''It's not far, but it is far,'' James 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.''

Tagged: Heat, LeBron James

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