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Cavs owner: LeBron quit

Associated Press / July 9, 2010

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CLEVELAND — Angered and betrayed by LeBron James’s decision to leave for Miami, Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert accused the NBA’s MVP of quitting during the playoffs.

Gilbert, who posted a letter to Cavs fans on the team’s website shortly after James announced his plans to sign with the Heat, told the Associated Press last night that it’s “accountability time’’ for James.

“He has gotten a free pass,’’ Gilbert said. “People have covered up for [James] for way too long. Tonight we saw who he really is.’’

Gilbert feels James quit on the Cavs during their second-round series against the Celtics, who rallied from a 2-1 deficit to eliminate Cleveland.

“He quit,’’ Gilbert said. “Not just in Game 5, but in Games 2, 4 and 6. The Boston series was unlike anything in the history of sports for a superstar.’’

In the letter, Gilbert, called James’s defection a “cowardly betrayal,’’ and wrote “I personally guarantee that the Cleveland Cavaliers will win an NBA championship before the self-titled former ‘King’ wins one.’’

The Cavaliers were beaten by 32 points in Game 5. James appeared distracted and uninterested, often glaring at Cleveland’s coaches as the Cavs tried to foul to get back into the game. James also made puzzling postgame comments, saying he had “spoiled’’ people with his play over seven seasons.

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