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By Fitzgerald Cecilio
Oklahoma City, OK
Two years after the infamous "Decision", Cleveland Cavaliers fans are still bitter with the way LeBron James departed them for the Miami Heat.
And nobody understands it better than former NBA coach and current ESPN basketball analyst Jeff Van Gundy.
"I understand Cavaliers fans' lingering bitterness and animosity. When the best player in the game and the best player in the world leaves you, that's difficult," said Van Gundy, who coached the New York Knicks and the Houston Rockets for a combined 11 years.
Van Gundy ignited a debate when he commented during Game 6 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals between Miami and Boston that he couldn't understand why James generates so much animosity nationwide after bolting the Cavaliers for the Heat.
"I really don't get why that has provoked such bitterness or animosity, particularly one that has lasted this long," he said.
But Van Gundy clarified that James has done all he can in his power to repair his image in Ohio, especially in his hometown of Akron where he starred for St. Vincent-St. Mary High School.
"One thing that I think that has helped him is that he's stopped trying to fix it. He's come out and said he probably should have done it a little differently, so to me, he's apologized," Van Gundy said.
"I don't think he should try to do more. I think realizing that some people are always going to find fault is the way of the world," he added.
Van Gundy also praised James for the way he led the Miami Heat in the first two playoff series against Indiana and Boston.
"How he held that team together through the Chris Bosh injury and through ups-and-downs of two incredibly tough series against Indiana and Boston showed just what a great leader he is, as well as a great player," he said.
James is averaging 30.8 points, 9.6 rebounds and 5.1 assists in the postseason for the Heat.
Jeff Van Gundy Understands Cleveland's Animosity Toward LeBron