Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida  |  Last updated 6/28/12
MIAMI -- Miami star LeBron James didn't want to talk about his former team after his Heat won the NBA title June 21. But he was willing to shortly thereafter with Oprah Winfrey. In an interview with Winfrey that will be broadcast Sunday, James admitted it was "hurtful" when Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert wrote a letter blasting him after James had bolted the Cavaliers as a free agent in the summer of 2010 to join the Heat. The letter called James "our former hero" and said he portrayed "cowardly betrayal." Winfrey interviewed James and fellow Heat stars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh shortly after they wrapped up the title for the show "Oprah's Next Chapter" that will air at 8 p.m. EDT Sunday on the Oprah Winfrey Network. The network made available Thursday to FOX Sports Florida a clip with James' response when Winfrey asked him about Gilbert's letter. "It was hurtful because I know how much I put into that organization, and every night I'm out on the floor I tried to give it my all and I tried to bring a championship to that city every single night," James said. "But, at the same time, I understood that everyone has their opinion. Everybody has a right to say what they want to say and there's nothing I can do about that." James was asked in press conference after the Heat wrapped up their 4-1 win over Oklahoma City what he would say to the fans in Cleveland. He sidestepped the question, saying, "I mean, right here I'm sitting here as a member of the Miami Heat." Gilbert's letter was written after James said in July 2010 on the ESPN-aired "The Decision" that he would be leaving Cleveland for Miami. NBA commissioner David Stern fined him 100,000 for writing it. In the letter, Gilbert wrote, 'I personally guarantee that the Cleveland Cavaliers will win an NBA championship before the self-titled former 'King' wins one. You can take it to the bank." That, obviously, did not happen. In the letter, Gilbert also called "The Decision a "narcissistic, self-promotional build-up." He called what James, an Akron, Ohio, native, did a "shameful display of selfishness and betrayal by one of our very own." And he wrote about a so-called "curse on Cleveland" that "the self-declared former 'King' will be taking the 'curse' with him down south" and that he will have "this dreaded spell and bad karma" James took an apparent shot at the Cavaliers in January 2011, after they lost 112-57 to the Lakers for an 11th straight loss in what would be an NBA-record 26-game losing streak. In the tweet, James wrote, "Crazy. Karma is a b. Gets you every time. It's not good to wish bad on anybody. God sees everything!" After the Heat won the title last week, Gilbert tweeted, "Great NBA season. Enjoyed playoffs. Congratulations to Miami & OKC for an exciting Finals. Back to work on next week's promising Cavs draft." There was no mention of his vow that the Cavaliers would win a championship before James did with Miami. Chris Tomasson can be reached at christomasson@hotmail.com or on Twitter @christomasson
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