James became branded by The Decision, and Gilbert became a hostage to his Letter. Only, James would win two titles in four years with the Heat, and winning washes everything away. Winning changes the story. The Cavaliers have lost a lot of games, made mistakes and then Gilbert started to understand something: For all his business genius, all his rebuilding of Detroit and charitable endeavors and everything he had done in his life, the letter had come to define him.
"Do a Google search on me, and it’s the first thing that comes up," Gilbert told Yahoo Sports. "To a certain segment of society, it’s like somebody killed somebody, like somebody killed their kid. I told LeBron, ‘That letter didn’t hurt anybody more than it hurt me.’
"For the first two months, I kept thousands of letters – not hundreds – thousands written to me. There were 90-year-old ladies and CEOs, and I realized that that letter had transcended the event, went far beyond LeBron. After a few months, I would re-read it and just be full of regret. That wasn’t me, that wasn’t who I am. I didn’t mean most of the things I said in there. The venom it produced, from all sides … I wish … I wish I had never done it.
"I’m grateful that we all get another chance together now."