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Final Word: Lesson from James' return to Cleveland is apologies work

In this Dec. 2, 2010 file photo, Miami Heat forward LeBron James smiles as Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, right, watches in the second quarter in an NBA basketball game in Cleveland. As Cavaliers fans breathlessly await a homecoming they never thought possible, the broken relationship between James and Gilbert could get in the way. (AP Photo/David Richard, File)

A recent story in USA Today opens with, "You shouldn't be known for the worst thing you ever did."

For most of us, who can honestly say we have behaved badly at some point in our lives, we have to hope this is true.

Those are the words that Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert was hoping were true as he flew to meet LeBron James to talk about the possibility of signing with Cleveland.

After Lebron announced four years ago via national television that he was "taking his talents to South Beach to play for the Miami Heat, Gilbert reacted.

He did it quickly, sitting down to his computer and banging out an angry letter that mocked James, calling him narcissistic, self-promoting, and cowardly.

Haven't we all penned a letter like that one, if only in our heads?

Maybe we dared to write it down, or speak the words aloud, but we knew what we would say and we were passionate about it.

Dan Gilbert said he showed that letter to a couple of people and some tried to talk him out of it, but he didn't listen.

He was too emotional. He posted it. And everyone saw it.

Hey, he was fighting publicly with the biggest name in basketball. Basketball fans loved the drama, but most thought Gilbert was being childish.

Know what? James ALSO said he regretted announcing his departure from the Cavs in such a splashy way. He said he didn't think it out properly. Sound familiar?

Since 2010, what has continued to dog Gilbert and Lebron? For Gilbert, the letter. For LeBron, the announcement.

They both were the wrong thing to do, but neither could shake those actions. So, Gilbert manned up and apologized. He took the intitiative and picked up the phone with an olive branch. Last week, Gilbert and James met, and each shared their regrets, like men.

The result is the thing Clevelanders have been waiting for all four years -- King James has gone home. (Actually, Cleveland has been waiting since 1964, if you want to know the truth.)

If that is what happens when two men are big enough to apologize, even when EVERYRONE is watching, couldn't we all afford to apologize for some past transgression?

Just think what might be possible.

About the Author


Karie Dozer is host of Arizona's Noon News.

She has been an on-air personality nearly continually since her college days. She loves radio because it is intelligent, immediate and almost always available.

She is the youngest of nine children from a Midwestern Catholic family where she learned to be heard, fight for a place at the table and find humor in almost everything. She was hired as a news intern while a senior at ASU's Cronkite School, and found that covering human stories like the OJ Simpson white Bronco chase and the 1992-93 Phoenix Suns was too much fun to pass up.

She loved life in the newsroom with all the action and crazy personalities to go with it. She anchored and covered some sports too, until politics dragged her away. She served as press secretary for Arizona's Attorney General Grant Woods for a five-year stint before jumping back to radio on a part-time basis. Three years ago she got back in the biz on a more regular basis as a midday host on what is now KTAR News. She has a passion for the breaking news of the moment, education, local politics, great food, sports and fitness. She has trouble turning down a good argument, a good book or a good glass of wine.

In her spare time she takes care of her boys, (husband Rich, son Jack, and yellow lab Buddy,) and bakes awesome chocolate chip cookies. She enjoys the quality of life the Valley offers her family and the natural beauty of Arizona. Her favorite places are golf courses, her own kitchen, the city of Flagstaff, and wherever her family is.

She considers herself lucky to work with the amazingly talented people of KTAR radio.

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