MIAMI, August 18 – Miami Heat superstar LeBron James has told GQ magazine that he will carry extra inspiration into his games against his former club, the Cleveland Cavaliers, after being called a quitter by the team owner."I do have motivation, a lot of motivation," James said in an article made public on Tuesday.
James departed the Cavalaiers last month to sign a blockbuster six-year deal with the Miami Heat, joining friends Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh and prompting anger from Cavaliers’ fans, some of whom burned replica James jerseys.
Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert called James "selfish", "a quitter", "narcissistic" and "self-promotional" and said he felt betrayed by "the self-titled former king" leaving the team, vowing the Cavaliers would win their first title before James won his first NBA crown.
The remarks brought Gilbert a 100,000-dollar fine from the NBA and a tough response from James in the magazine article.
"I don’t think he ever cared about LeBron," James said of Gilbert to GQ. "My mother always told me: ‘You will see the light of people when they hit adversity. You’ll get a good sense of their character.’
"Me and my family have seen the character of that man."
The two-time reigning NBA Most Valuable Player also rejected the quitter label Gilbert hung upon him for playoff failures.
"Every night on the court I give my all, and if I’m not giving 100 percent, I criticize myself," James said.
James said he would still make his decision in a television special because the program raised 2.5 million dollars for a youth charity. It lured 10 million viewers but drew widespread criticism as being too far over the top.
James, who grew up in Akron near Cleveland, also noted how the larger city was not as beloved by the playmaker as was his hometown.
"Clevelanders, because they were the bigger-city kids when we were growing up, looked down on us," James said.
"So we didn’t actually like Cleveland. We hated Cleveland growing up. There’s a lot of people in Cleveland we still hate to this day."
The Cavaliers announced Tuesday they would make another break from the James era by changing their uniform logo and colors, darkening the "wine" color and brightening the "gold" hue compared to last year.
"Cleveland" will also be displayed in block letters rather than script on the front of the jersey.