|LeBron James has heard from his share of critics, but no one quite like this. (Getty Images)|
This one takes "getting so deep into sports so as to lose all real-world perspective" to a whole new level.
The Washington Post reports that a translator for since-deceased al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden who is being held in the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba has demanded an apology from LeBron James, who famously "took his talents to South Beach" by leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat during the summer of 2010.
Carlos Warner, a lawyer representing Muhammad Rahim, an Afghan who was a translator for Osama bin Laden , gave the Loop a brief letter from his client. That note, which was just declassified, consisted of one line: “Dear Mr. Warner — Majid Khan has a cat.”
In addition to sharing the news of Khan’s cat, Rahim had another thought to share with his lawyer, who, we should note, is from Akron, Ohio.
"Dear Mr. Warner!" he wrote in a separate freshly declassified letter. "LeBron James is very bad man. He should apologize to the city of Cleveland."
Warner says Rahim's sentiment about the NBA star who left the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat reflects his client’s tribal values, in which loyalty is paramount and "betrayals are not tolerated or forgiven, although an honest apology from an offending peer is valued."
James' decision was met with intense criticism. Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert called him "disloyal," "shameful," and "heartless," one writer said that he hoped James would suffer a career-ending injury and Cavaliers fans memorably burned his jersey.
But this, clearly, is a different ballgame. Criticism coming from an incarcerated man who allegedly worked with terrorists who orchestrated the mass murder of innocent civilians? Even James' biggest detractors would surely agree he doesn't deserve that.
As for the requested apology, James did finally offer one in March 2011, after months of refusing to do so, although he apologized for the manner of his departure rather than his choice to exercise his rights as a free agent.
"I apologize for the way it happened," James said. "I knew this opportunity was once in a lifetime."
He made the comment during a post-game press conference after a playoff game, with dozens of media members in attendance and cameras rolling. Doesn't get any more straight-forward and clear than that. No translator needed.