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This was something Cleveland never thought it would see.

Cavs owner Dan Gilbert was as upset as anyone. He posted an open letter to fans on the team’s website ripping James and told The Associated Press he believes James did not play up to his abilities in Cleveland’s second-round loss to Boston.

“He quit,” Gilbert said in a phone interview. “Not just in Game 5, but in Games 2, 4 and 6. Watch the tape. The Boston series was unlike anything in the history of sports for a superstar. … People have covered up for him for way too long.”

Not Gilbert, not anymore.

“As you now know, our former hero, who grew up in the very region that he deserted this evening, is no longer a Cleveland Cavalier,” Gilbert wrote. “This was announced with a several day, narcissistic, self-promotional build-up culminating with a national TV special of his ‘decision’ unlike anything ever ‘witnessed’ in the history of sports and probably the history of entertainment. Clearly, this is bitterly disappointing to all of us.

“The self-declared former ‘King’ will be taking the ‘curse’ with him down south. And until he does ‘right’ by Cleveland and Ohio, James (and the town where he plays) will unfortunately own this dreaded spell and bad karma.

“Just watch.”

Cleveland could offer James $30 million more than any team, but that wasn’t what interested James this time. He was willing to make less for something else _ a title. Maybe a bunch of them with the 28-year-old Wade and 26-year-old Bosh in their primes.

“It’s about a team,” James said.

After leaving Connecticut, James touched down at a private terminal at Miami International Airport at 2:30 a.m. He was met by Heat officials, shook Riley’s hand, climbed into a car and was driven away while a small group of fans, paparazzi and other news media waited outside.

Meanwhile, outside the W Hotel on Miami Beach, 17 more celebrity photographers and about a few dozen fans lurched toward every SUV that neared the hotel entrance, eager to get a look at the two-time MVP. Also inside that club was Bosh, who walked in virtually unnoticed earlier in the evening.

Meanwhile, in Cleveland, fans so accustomed to disappointment, were let down again _ this time, by one of their own sons.

Not long after James’ decision was announced, one of his jerseys was shown being burned in the city’s streets.

“I can’t get involved in that,” James said. “I wanted to do what was best for LeBron James … At the end of the day, I feel awful. I feel even worse that I wasn’t able to bring an NBA championship to that city. I never wanted to leave Cleveland. My heart will always be around that area. But I also felt like this is the greatest challenge for me, is to move on.”

Even one of James’ teammates was distraught.

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