Two and a half years ago, Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert guaranteed that the Cavs would win an NBA title without LeBron James before James would win one with the Miami Heat. On Wednesday, he made his first conciliatory gesture since James left the Cavs for South Florida in 2010.
"Cleveland Cavaliers young talent makes our future very bright," Gilbert tweeted Wednesday afternoon. "Clearly, LeBron's is as well. Time for everyone to focus on the road ahead."
Days after James announced he would take his talents to South Beach in an infamous television special on ESPN, Gilbert released a statement on the team's website calling James' decision "a cowardly betrayal." The statement was typed in comic sans, a font normally reserved for elementary school bulletins. He also made the aforementioned championship guarantee, which failed to materialize.
But with James able to opt out of the last two years of his Heat contract next season, Gilbert may be sensing an opportunity to rebuild the bridges he burned in 2010 and maybe bring James back to Cleveland.
James has declined all questions about a return to Cleveland as of late. Last spring, though, James said it would be "great" to play in Cleveland again, but he and Gilbert still had differences to work out. Consider this Gilbert's attempt at a first step.
That was far from the most bizarre thing to happen to James on Wednesday. The Heat came back from a 27-point deficit to preserve its 24-game winning streak, only 9 wins away from the NBA record 33 games set by the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers.
Gilbert was not the only person in Cleveland going out of his way to be nice to James in hopes of a 2014 reunion. A Cavs fan rushed onto the court during the fourth quarter wearing a T-shirt that said: "We Miss You, 2014 Come Back."
"He said he missed me and come back, please," James said after the game. He patted the fan on his head as security whisked him away "I wasn't worried. There are metal detectors here, so we were OK. I embraced it."
Before the game even started, James discovered a leak in the Quicken Loans Arena that took nearly an hour to repair. An oily substance had leaked from the scoreboard onto the court.
"This was one of the most bizarre, unique days of my life with everything that happened," James said. "It also was one of the best comebacks I've ever been a part of."