Cleveland LeBron James may have ruined another friendship back in Ohio.
Cavaliers guard Daniel Gibson didn’t appreciate some of James’ words and actions on Thursday during the Miami star’s heated homecoming to Cleveland. James, who scored 38 points in the Heat’s 118-90 win, was subjected to almost constant booing, taunts and profanity.
According to Gibson, James dished out a little of his own.
“Some things went on last night,” Gibson said, “that I didn’t like.”
James engaged in some trash talk with Cleveland’s bench, jawing at some coaches and former teammates. After making a tough, baseline jumper while scoring 24 points in the third quarter, James spun just in front of Cleveland’s players and mouthed something in their direction. Later, he and a smiling Gibson exchanged words.
Gibson also took issue with comments that it appeared the Cavaliers were acting too outwardly friendly toward James, who played seven seasons in Cleveland. Center Anderson Varejao hugged James as the teams lined up for tip-off and a few players shook hands or bumped fists with the two-time defending league MVP.
“I’ve heard that, and that kind of rubs me the wrong way,” Gibson said. “We all know LeBron and we all know that he enjoys being in front of the camera. To say we were fraternizing and being friendly ... nobody knows what was said and the things that were said probably could not be repeated right now. We wanted to win the game and those guys brought it to us.”
The Cavaliers are now 7-11 without James.
“I think people, from the outside looking in, might say we were laughing and joking with him, but if you could hear the things that were said, you would know that wasn’t the case,” Gibson said. “There was nothing friendly about the conversation we had.”
Gibson said the evening soured his relationship with James, his teammate for four years. Gibson was also upset by the Cavaliers’ awful play in front of their rowdy fans, who had waited five months to vent at James for the way he announced his decision to leave.
“I didn’t like the way we performed,” he said.