Cavs owner Dan Gilbert bids farewell to LeBron James with classy statement

New York Knicks v Cleveland Cavaliers

For the second time in his career, LeBron James has decided to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The four-time MVP stunned the NBA world on Sunday night as he agreed to join the Los Angeles Lakers on a four-year, $154 million deal.

He initially broke the hearts of Cavs fans in 2010 when he made a controversial move to join the Miami Heat.

Bad taste

The manner of his departure caused an uproar in Ohio and it led to Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert publishing a famous strongly-worded letter condemning James.

Gilbert was widely vilified for the tone and language he used to express his anger at the Akron native's departure.

But LeBron was willing to let bygones be bygones when he decided to return in 2014.

He wanted to deliver the franchise its first championship and he fulfilled it in 2016 as they overcame the Golden State Warriors in historic fashion, overturning a 3-1 deficit.

BKN-NBA-FINALS-CAVALIERS-WARRIORS-GAME 7

The 33-year-old led the Cavs to the Finals in the last four seasons but he has decided to move on again after suffering a humiliating sweep against the Warriors last month.

Water under the bridge

This time, however, the reaction in Cleveland is expected to be more understanding.

Gilbert certainly looks like he's learned from his mistake and has already dealt with this situation a lot better.

He released a classy and respectful statement thanking James and announced that the franchise will one day retire his number 23 jersey.

Cleveland Cavaliers v Boston Celtics - Game Two

"We will always remember the evening of June 19, 2016 as the Cleveland Cavaliers, led by LeBron James, ended the 52-year drought delivering the long elusive championship that many thought they would never see...

"None of this would have happened if LeBron James did not agree to come back home and lead the Cavaliers to the promised land. The entire Cavaliers franchise thanks LeBron for that precious moment and for all of the excitement he delivered as he led our team to four straight NBA Finals appearances.

"LeBron, you came home and delivered the ultimate goal. Nothing but appreciation and gratitude for everything you put into every moment you spent in a Cavaliers uniform. We look forward to the retirement of the famous #23 Cavs jersey one day down the line..."

Cleveland Cavaliers Victory Parade And Rally

These thoughts will certainly be echoed by fans in Northeast Ohio as their hometown star came back home in the prime of his career and delivered on his promise.

That moment has earned him legendary status in the city forever.

He left on bad terms last time but he leaves on the best possible terms this time around and deserves to be fondly remembered as the greatest sportsman in Cleveland's history.

CLICK HERE to listen to Episode Two of the new GiveMeSport NBA podcast, featuring New York Times senior writer Marc Stein. Subscribe for all future episodes.

News Now - Sport News