When LeBron James left the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat in 2010-11, everything changed drastically for Cleveland. The Cavs went from being a championship contender to the laughingstock of the NBA.
However, despite James playing for a different team, he still had strong relationships with some guys on his old squad. This meant that when James thought Daniel “Booby” Gibson, someone he went to the NBA finals with, called him out at a club, he had to confront him, according to Gibson.
The situation, though, wasn’t exactly as James perceived it.
The Cavs were horrible without LeBron James
The Cavaliers were one of the league’s best teams with James. They had the best record in the NBA in consecutive seasons in 2008-09 and 2009-10, as they won 60-plus games each of those years.
However, after losing in the Eastern Conference finals, and then the conference semifinals, James left the Cavs in 2010 and went to the Miami Heat.
This resulted in Cleveland taking a nosedive as an organization, and ultimately becoming one of the worst teams of all time.
The Cavs went 19-63 in 2010-11 and even lost 26 straight games at one point. The guys on the team were, obviously, not too thrilled about losing, which led to there being some tension between the players.
That tension, though, eventually led to Gibson calling out some of his teammates at a club.
Daniel Gibson said The King confronted him
Gibson was a fan favorite in Cleveland. As a rookie in 2006-07, he erupted for 31 points against the Detroit Pistons during a series-clinching Game 6 in the Eastern Conference finals. His play helped the Cavs reach the NBA finals for the first time in franchise history.
During that horrible 2010-11 season, though, Gibson started to believe some players no longer wanted to be in Cleveland, including former NBA guard Mo Williams.
“I don’t even know if Mo knows this. There was some weird, outside-of-basketball stuff going on,” Gibson said to The Athletic. “There was a point in that season when I went out one night, I went to the club. I got on a microphone and I’m a little drunk saying, ‘People don’t want to play here, we don’t care. The people from here who want to be here, we’ll keep playing and doing our thing.’”
Given that James had just left the Cavs for the Heat, LeBron thought Gibson was talking about him. But Gibson knew just how much James meant to him and his career.
“Someone records this. I don’t know if they gave it to Rich Paul or someone. It gets back to ‘Bron,” Gibson said. “‘Bron thought I was talking about him. So he hit me from this unknown number. ‘I thought we was brothers.’ I’m like, ‘Bro, listen. I, Daniel ‘Booby’ Gibson, wouldn’t exist without LeBron. I wouldn’t disrespect you that way.’ Mo was a brother and a mentor and somebody I still love to this day.”
The rest of the season, obviously, didn’t go very well for Gibson and the Cavs. But it eventually got much better for the city of Cleveland.
LeBron James eventually returned to the Cavs
Sadly, Gibson wasn’t there once the Cavs became good again. His last NBA season was in 2012-13.
In 2014, though, James returned to Cleveland and made the Cavs a championship contender once again. He, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love teamed up, and after losing in the 2015 NBA finals — a series that Irving and Love were injured for — James and the Cavs won the NBA championship in 2016.
They ultimately went to four straight NBA finals from 2015 through 2018, and would have potentially won multiple titles had Kevin Durant not signed with the Golden State Warriors in 2016. James eventually signed with the Los Angeles Lakers prior the 2018-19 season.
James may have left the Cavs in shambles in 2010, but he came back and built an empire during those four years he returned to Cleveland. The Cavaliers were, again, at the center of the basketball universe.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference