Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert says his basketball team wouldn't be where it is today without going through the pain of losing superstar forward LeBron James to the Miami Heat.
"The last four years have been a payment for where we are today," Gilbert said. It's an about-face for the Detroit-based businessman, who had a very public spat with the four-time MVP when he left Cleveland for Miami, calling James "heartless and callous" and wishing him bad karma.
But now, four years and a $42 million, two-year contract later, the two have made up. "Our relationship today is very good and solid," he said. "We had five great years and one bad night."
On Thursday night, the Cavs will embark on a new era, as King James returns to the Quicken Loans Arena in what is sure to be a celebratory and emotional homecoming.
After posting one of the worst seasons in the NBA last year, the Cavs are now dominating on nearly every sales front—and the new season hasn't even technically started. Despite a decision by the team not to hike prices, the secondary market for tickets is soaring. The average price of a home game ticket this season is a whopping $388, according to secondary ticket aggregator TiqIQ, representing a 224 percent jump from this time last year. It's the most expensive sum for any team in the league, $80 higher than the second-most-expensive team, the New York Knicks.