ESPN's LeBron circus good for TV ratings, bad for sports media
Author and LeBronologist
The decision on "The Decision" finally came at 9:27 p.m., following the kind of milking best done on a farm. Watching the
ESPN executives had said repeatedly on Wednesday that James would announce his decision in the first 10 to 15 minutes of the show. Not so. The show opened with
Then, in a decision that defied logic, reason, drama and journalism, Gray asked 16 questions over six minutes before getting to the question that needed to be asked. He asked James if he was still a nail-biter, if he wanted to sleep on his decision, and he even repeated a question ("What did you expect from/what have you thought about this process?") before finally asking the following: "The answer to the question everyone wants to know: LeBron, what is your decision?" The inane and extended foreplay was excruciating and tortured, and the veteran journalist was destroyed on social media, some famous voices among the critics. Tweeted
If Gray had a highlight, it was his asking James about going to
The most compelling moment of the program came at 9:52 p.m., when producers hustled to get footage of James' No. 23 jersey burning on the ground in Cleveland. Wilbon -- he and Barry both performed above this circus on the night -- asked the player how he felt about the image. Said a clearly nervous James: "I can't get involved. .... This is a business. I had seven great years in Cleveland. I hope the fans understand, and maybe they won't."
Late on Thursday night, ESPN executive vice president