LeBron peddles his big news to ESPN, his newest sidekick

This is the strangest lead in the history of journalism. I would just quote from the two paragraphs, but it wouldn’t quite capture the essence. So I present them, as we say on Turner Classic Movies, without interruption.

LeBron James is planning to announce the team with which he will sign during a one-hour special on ESPN Thursday night, ESPN The Magazine’s Chris Broussard has learned through independent sources.

ESPN would only confirm that active discussions for the special are ongoing. But sources tell Broussard that representatives for James contacted the network, proposing that James makes his announcement during a 9 p.m. ET special.

To recap: A reporter for ESPN The Magazine is reporting, through an independent source, that LeBron will break the news the world awaits on ESPN the TV network, but ESPN the corporate entity wouldn’t confirm that such a broadcast is indeed a “go.”

This whole Summer of LeBron thing has had a made-for-ESPN feel to it all along — you’ll recall that ESPN the Web site introduced a “LeBron Tracker” page in May — but a LeBron/ESPN package deal of a culmination would take ye olde cake. It would be a LeBron production pitched to ESPN, with LeBron’s “team” asking, according to Broussard, that “they be allowed to sell sponsorship for the one-hour special, with the proceeds going to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.”

And then the key nuggets from Broussard’s bizarre report: “[Sources said] ESPN agreed to the proposal but had not been told what James has decided.”

Got that? ESPN the TV network is apparently putting LeBron James on its air without ESPN’s many and distinguished reporters knowing what he’ll say, which is really the only free-agency story worth breaking.

And there, I submit, is the ultimate rebuttal to the widespread assertion that ESPN essentially runs the world. Apparently it doesn’t run LeBron James. Apparently the Worldwide Leader is content to be his silent partner/enabler. And I say: Good grief.

UPDATE: ESPN has just issued a press release confirming that it will air what it has dubbed “The Decision” from 9 to 10 p.m. Thursday. And, in its understated fashion, ESPN will lead into the hour-long special with a THREE-HOUR “SportsCenter.” Following “The Decision” will be a TWO-HOUR “SportsCenter” (with, ESPN allows, occasional highlights from “Baseball Tonight”).

Got that? Six hours of LeBron. Unbelievable.

197 comments Add your comment

randallsdad

July 7th, 2010
10:22 am

Never tried this before………………First?????

Mark Bradley

July 7th, 2010
10:25 am

Kudos, randallsdad. You’re pretty good for a rookie.

WonderDawg

July 7th, 2010
10:26 am

Well, Mark, it’s Wednesday and Farve hasn’t yet broken wind yet. It’s a slow week . . .

Westurd

July 7th, 2010
10:27 am

Barf……..and seriously, this dude has no rings, but they hype around suggested he has 10 and about to get ten more. As I said before…Barf!

Freshmaker

July 7th, 2010
10:27 am

Wow…just…wow.

NW Georgia Dawg

July 7th, 2010
10:27 am

ESPN has gotten way too big and powerful. It is a key culprit in the ongoing commercialization of Sport which has not been healthy for the fans or for sports in general.

Interesting that Lebron is taking the route of high school recruits announcing their commitment to colleges at some over-hyped presser. Is the guy’s ego in that much need of stroking?

WonderDawg

July 7th, 2010
10:31 am

NW, LBJ didn’t get recruited when he was in high school cause everybody knew he would be the #1 pick in the NBA. This is the recruitment process that he never had as a child, poor thing.

Jeff

July 7th, 2010
10:31 am

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

J.J.M.

July 7th, 2010
10:32 am

Hey mark do you think the southeast division will be the best this season?

Dave Cowens and Alvan Adams

July 7th, 2010
10:33 am

ESPN stinks to high heaven.

Crackhead

July 7th, 2010
10:34 am

Does ESPN pick the National Champions too?

Mark Bradley

July 7th, 2010
10:34 am

The Southeast does look strong. John Wall in Washington, Bosh in Miami …

Mark Bradley

July 7th, 2010
10:36 am

Let me be clear: I know and admire many folks who work for ESPN. I just don’t admire ESPN’s stranglehold on the sporting world.

NC Braves Fan

July 7th, 2010
10:37 am

Maybe they could show highlights of BronBron’s “clutch” game five performance against the Celtics this Spring heading up to the big announcement.

Yeah, I’m bitter.

Randy

July 7th, 2010
10:37 am

I guess if you can’t win championships, you have to take your publicity where you can get it….so in the hour they’ll show what? That he’s the most over-hyped player in history….

WonderDawg

July 7th, 2010
10:38 am

…..and “Max Joe” back with the hawks…(snicker, snicker..)

Dan

July 7th, 2010
10:40 am

I suppose I’m naive but the ego of James to do this stuns me. Does he realize that there are roughly 300 million people in this country and of those, probably 298 million won’t be watching or caring?

brandon

July 7th, 2010
10:42 am

yup. it has gotten out of control.

1ofthe2million

July 7th, 2010
10:42 am

I promise I won’t tune in……. until the last 10 minutes!

Ryder

July 7th, 2010
10:42 am

I think we fail to see the big picture here. We complain about ESPN catering to Lebron’s demand for air time to announce where he will be playing next year but guess what? We will all be watching.

That’s what sports has become. ESPN is in the business of ratings, and they know what brings ratings. They operate to what is big news and whether you like it or not Mark, Lebron is what everyone is talking about.

Same with Brett Favre when he decides to come back in late August. You will complain, yet you will watch.

Skeezix

July 7th, 2010
10:43 am

Good grief…this is non news. LeBron James, who has zero NBA championships, has become an egotistical bore— Who gives a rip where he winds up? Nothing gets me to turn the channel quicker than any discussion of where James might end up in free agency. Other topics that are automatic channel changers for me:

-Any discussion about Danica
-Anything about soccer

ESPN = The All-Liberal Sports Network

July 7th, 2010
10:44 am

ESPN: If you don’t worship Obama and praise unqualified Affirmative Action coaching and Athletic Director hires who run college and professional sports organizations in the ground, you have no place on our network.

You can kiss my conservative, black behind ESPN.

I like my sports WITHOUT condescending liberalism and political “correctness”. Thanks.

jim

July 7th, 2010
10:48 am

And there, I submit, is the ultimate rebuttal to the widespread assertion that ESPN essentially the world.

mark,missing something, there?

NBA accountant

July 7th, 2010
10:49 am

The Lebron negotiations have been tough but Cleveland is going to be the choice because of state taxes. PA has the lowest rate and although New York can offer more gross endorsements. When the Bush Tax Cuts expire and everyone in the country gets hit with tax increases, Lebron could be paying as much as 75% to state and federal taxes if he were in New York. Which by the way should be a crime. However elections do have consequences and maybe Lebron and other liberals will figure that out one day. Anyways, Cleveland will be the winner because of taxes.

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Mike Jay

July 7th, 2010
10:51 am

This is going to a hour? maybe they will show all the highlights from his most recent playoff run?
Oh wait that will only take 5 minutes…

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mark Bradley. Mark Bradley said: LeBron peddles his big news to ESPN, his newest sidekick http://bit.ly/cSOaHD [...]

big jake

July 7th, 2010
10:52 am

While your watching to see where James will go I will be with your wife.

j. naismith

July 7th, 2010
10:53 am

this is the kind of thing big horsehead james craves

Amateur Hour

July 7th, 2010
10:54 am

[...] LeBron is planning an hour “special” on ESPN to announce his free agency plans.  This is Busch League, Bron.  It’s what high schoolers [...]

UGA ALL THE WAY

July 7th, 2010
10:54 am

I’m willing to take a bet, ive been thinking of this Lebron free agency thing. I bet that Lebron is going to be a Bull. From what ive heard he’s changing his # to 6 which would bring up the fact that he can’t be 23 on Chicago because of the retiring of Jordans #, plus chicagos goin pretty hard for em.

Chris

July 7th, 2010
10:57 am

You know, it’s absurdly bizarre.

But if it could raise a couple million for the Boys and Girls Club, I can’t talk too badly about it.

i don't care

July 7th, 2010
10:57 am

watch and see – drudge will be reporting james city of choice by 5pm

gadawgs

July 7th, 2010
10:59 am

WHO CARES? Not me… I am so tired of hearing about LeBron and where his highness will end up. I could really care less.

tsk, tsk

July 7th, 2010
11:01 am

where this child plays games has zero impact on my life,i’m embarrased that i’m even commenting

The Real JC

July 7th, 2010
11:01 am

We’re taking bets on which celebrities will perform on his special. Lady Gaga is 2-to-1, and Justin Bieber is 5-to-1

truth

July 7th, 2010
11:03 am

What happened to everbody had to wait on lebron? Thats all I heard last week, that all the other free agents would have to wait on James. l don’t think Wade, Bosh, or stoudmire got the memo. Lebron James is the prototypical new generation ME player. He will never be MJ and I hope he never wins a championship after this latest stunt. And if he goes to Miami he will never get too much credit for winning a title because fans will always say he had to have Wde to get it done.

truth

July 7th, 2010
11:04 am

jeffrey d

July 7th, 2010
11:04 am

Let me be clear: I know and admire many folks who work for ESPN. I just don’t admire ESPN’s stranglehold on the sporting world.

That’s a wonderful way of putting it Mark. I like ESPN sometimes, but their coverage of Favre, Tebow, LeBron, and now Strasburg is unbelievable. I’d be happy with a 5-minute segment on Favre signing with the Vikings, or Strasburg’s debut. But they turn these things into all day spectacles! I remember back when Tebow had his concussion, they stationed a reporter outside his hotel, and at least twice on Gameday they cut to him so he could give us an update that there was no update.

As for LeBron, I lost a lot of respect for him after the 2009 Playoffs – when he scheduled a victory party in Atlanta before the game was played, and then when he moped off the court like a baby when they lost to the Magic. He can’t just sign with a team, he’s gotta milk this thing for all he can get. I guess ESPN is the right way to go for that.

WDE!!!

July 7th, 2010
11:05 am

I can’t believe all of the publicity this guy is getting. It is downright pathetic. He has zero rings and has been to the Finals 1 time and did not win a game when he was there!

Even if he had 25 rings, who really cares??? He is going to make over $100 million dollars no matter where he goes!!! Wow, thats a real tough decision. Should I make $100 million in Cleveland, Miami, Chicago or New York?

Give me a break Lebron. You are the most egotistical athlete in the world other than maybe Brett Favre.

The Real JC

July 7th, 2010
11:05 am

Say what you want, guys – even though it is being done in the most dramatic and laughable fashion, it is an important story. Back-to-back reigning NBA MVP deciding where he wants to play, and potentially teaming up with another young All-Star to dominate the Eastern Conference for the next five years.

Lowcountry Bulldawg

July 7th, 2010
11:06 am

Mark,

Saw the report and Broussard was asked where LBJ will announce from, and his response was it is still “unknown”. I just about fell out when this was reported.

I am over the LBJ story, lets get it over with, but unfortunately I will watch the dang thing just to see where he goes. So whats worse? LOL!

Herschel Talker

July 7th, 2010
11:08 am

MB:

Simply brilliant column. You’re on fire lately, especially with the Damon Evans stuff. You’re like Troy Glaus in May.

HT

Mark Bradley

July 7th, 2010
11:08 am

I hope Lady Gaga does perform, Real JC. I like Lady Gaga.

Harry Hawk

July 7th, 2010
11:08 am

I guess LeBron will have the caps of his suitors in front of him. He’ll make a grand show of picking his team. The only real question is this:

When will he wipe his *** with the Knicks cap? I’m guessing that he’ll wait until the final two caps are left. That’s more dramatic…and humiliating.

Mark Bradley

July 7th, 2010
11:09 am

Wow. Thanks, Herschel.

I’ll get back to being Glaus in April momentarily.

MatthewH

July 7th, 2010
11:09 am

MB-
A minor point, but I think you are missing a word (”world”, maybe?) in the first sentence of your last paragraph.

northcyde

July 7th, 2010
11:09 am

I’m just waiting for ESPN’s countdown clock . . telling us how much time is left before the special comes on. ESPN and Lebron have been in cohoots together since he was a Junior in H.S.

I bet Kobe is somewhere just laughing at all of this, knowing that he STILL has the team to beat in the NBA.

MatthewH

July 7th, 2010
11:10 am

Or maybe “runs”? This is why I am not an editor.

Mark Bradley

July 7th, 2010
11:11 am

Thanks, MatthewH. I normally omit a word in every post just to see if anyone catches it. And you did! Thanks!