No One Took Advantage of LeBron James with The Decision, Exec Says
LeBron James would have received a lot of grief from the media and fans just for leaving Cleveland, but making his announcement in the fashion he did turned him into a villain. The problems were that LeBron did not notify the Cavs of his choice prior to going on national TV, and that he seemingly danced on the dead bodies of Cleveland fans before spiking the football down their throats in a victory dance. Oh yeah, not to mention that he hijacked an hour out of everyone’s life that we won’t get back. Yeah, that part wasn’t cool either.
But all the talk that LeBron James was duped, or taken by some agents or execs? We’re told that’s not at all the case. LeBron somewhat apologized for The Decision during the playoffs, but we have more insight into what went into it.
SI’s Point Forward has behind-the-scenes look at The Decision where we learn the idea came from Ari Emanuel, the co-CEO of the William Morris Agency. One of the interesting nuggets was pointed out by Pro Basketball Talk, and that is that LeBron knew full well what he was doing, though everyone was surprised by the backlash.
Mark Dowley, a former partner at William Morris, explains.
“We got a lot of grief for it. A good deed never goes unpunished, you know? LeBron is an exceptionally bright young man. No one is taking advantage of LeBron James. And Maverick Carter is a very bright guy. I’ve done deals with them since and we’ll do deals with them in the future. Everybody can hold their heads up high. The only people who know best about how they felt [about the criticism] are Maverick and LeBron. There is no way they enjoyed a lot of the aftermath. I do know morally and from a socially conscience standpoint, they know they did something good.
The guy who really got wronged was [The Decision interviewer] Jim Gray. The whole original idea was Jim’s and Ari’s and Maverick’s. I thought Jim did a hell of a job. He’s quite a gentleman. This was sports, after all, not U.N. wartime reporting. People just got a little nuts over it.”
That they still don’t recognize all the problems with the way things were handled is not a surprise. Anyone who would put on an hour-long TV show to announce LeBron James’ free agency decision probably wouldn’t understand why people were so upset. That also clears up any doubts about LeBron being led down an evil road by conniving execs. We all probably could have figured that he fully supported the idea, and this is just further proof.