Report: Jim Gray Paid $500,000 For LeBron Show

(Publisher’s note: Hoffarth confirmed to me that he verified Gray’s compensation for the LeBron “Decision” ESPN show via his own source before reporting the story. ESPN has also re-confirmed to me that it only paid Gray’s travel expenses.)

On July 9 I reported the financial details of the LeBron James ‘Decision’ production that was aired on ESPN and billed as a charity benefit.

Jim Gray took $500,000 for LeBron Decision Show

After the show aired, Dawn C. Chmielewski of the LOS ANGELES TIMES reported of the production’s financial haul:

ESPN agreed to donate the time, sponsors committed about $3 million — which Nike has pledged to match. Proceeds go to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.

CNBC’s Darren Rovell also followed up the show with a report of his own:

As part of the partnership, ESPN turned over some of the advertising inventory in the show to James’ team to sell commercials to the likes of the University of Phoenix, Bing and Vitaminwater. James’ team said it would donate $2.5 million from the proceeds of the ads to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

So at the very least, we had a $500,000 discrepancy in the amount of money that sponsors pledged to charity and what the “James team” said would be donated.

So where did that $500,000 go? Read more…

Ryder Cup Captain Pavin’s Wife’s Sexy Mag Cover

At the PGA Championship three weeks ago in Wisconsin, Ryder Cup Captain Corey Pavin and reporter Jim Gray had an ugly confrontation in the media room over comments Gray claimed Pavin had previously made to him about Tiger Woods.

Lisa Pavin Magazine Cover

(Lisa Pavin already straightening the iron play of plenty of U.S. golfers)

It was during that nose-to-nose that we were introduced to Pavin’s wife Lisa.

From GOLF DIGEST account of the incident:

Gray confronted Pavin immediately following the press conference and not only angrily wagged a finger in the captain’s face, but also put his hand in the face of Pavin’s wife, Lisa. Pavin grabbed Gray’s wrist and moved it away. Said Pavin: “He got upset, and his eyes were a little odd, and he put his hand in front of my wife, Lisa, and I just took his hand and moved it away and said, ‘That’s my wife. You keep your hand away from her.’ He got a little crazy.”

It was later reported that Lisa Pavin recorded the conversation between the two - a recording that included videotape and may now explain why Gray was holding up a hand in her direction.

Corey and Lisa Pavin

Today the magazine Avid Golfer unveiled the above cover photo of Lisa along with a lengthy profile piece on her. If she looks quite a bit younger than Corey, it’s because she is. 14 years his junior. The couple married in 2002 when he was 42 and she was 28.

From the Avid profile on how the couple met: Read more…

Gray To Pavin: “You’re a liar, you’re going down”

A dispute over a comment made by U.S. Ryder Cup team captain Corey Pavin to Jim Gray has gotten rather frothy.

Jim Gray and Corey Pavin face off in dispute over Pavin comment about Tiger Woods

(Steve DiMeglio is a USA Today golf reporter)

Yesterday Gray reported on The Golf Channel that Pavin told him that he would tab Tiger Woods for the Ryder Cup team as his captain’s choice selection. Today Pavin disputed Gray’s claim, saying that he had not settled on Woods as his personal choice for the team.

That dispute led to a confrontation after Pavin’s press conference this morning at the PGA Championship in Wisconsin.

USA TODAY golf reporter Steve DiMeglio noted on his Twitter.com account: Read more…

So What Will LeBron Do For His Marketing Encore?

With the notoriety* garnered by LeBron James and his LRMR Marketing Group the past week, you can’t help but wonder what’s next for James and LRMR.

LeBron ESPN Homecoming With Rick Reilly!

(Hey you … ESPN sales guy … in the cubicle … yes YOU … GET ON IT!)

I’m now pleased to report that earlier today I did not obtain exactly what that will indeed entail:

1) Pre-book LeBron for June 2011 appearance in Cleveland on Rick Reilly’s highly-rated, critically-acclaimed ESPN Homecoming series. Secure assistance from Blackwater Security in staging event in exchange for presenting sponsorship rights. (Disclaimer: It was Craig Sager’s idea.)

2) Broker eight-figure lifetime endorsement contract with BP for new LRMR Marketing Group Client and New Orleans Hornets star Chris Paul. (Includes personal use of BP CEO’s yacht.)

3) Sign Reggie Bush as LRMR Marketing Group Client. Book Bush appearance with former FEMA Chief Michael Brown at annual Superdome Boat Show in exchange for stipend to be donated to charity.

4) Acquire Jim Gray’s exclusive, worldwide marketing rights and immediately begin canvassing Horizon League member schools for broadcasting opportunities and Sacramento-area Bail Bondsmen for endorsement deals.

5) Secure venture capital - from new Miami Heat contract - for company attempting to bring fire-retardant NBA jersey technology to market. Induce Delonte West to test prototype by promising guest appearance on History Channel’s Lock N’ Load with R. Lee Ermey.

6) Schedule press conference inside Clark County Detention Center to introduce latest LRMR hire: Financial Controller Antoine Walker. Continue searching classmates.com for additional LRMR executive hires.

7) Pitch new LeBron Cleveland billboard concept to Nike execs: “WITNESS PROTECTION.” Read more…

Did LeBron ‘Entity’ Pay Gray For ESPN Foreplay?

The fallout of ESPN’s regrettable decision to air the LeBron James conflict of interest-fest last night continues.

LeBron James Donation Button On Website

(No thanks)

CNBC’s Darren Rovell reports Friday that the man who dragged out James’ ESPN-branded ‘Decision’ through two commercial breaks, interviewer Jim Gray, was paid by an “entity” representing the interests of James and the production itself:

Gray’s travel and payment for “The Decision” show was being paid by the entity set up by Team LeBron and not by ESPN, as CNBC has learned.

Gray has since denied that he took money from James or his marketing company, LRMR - as reported by Bloomberg’s Michelle Steele on Twitter: Read more…

Jim Gray Pitched LeBron Decision Show On June 6

Appearing on the Dan Patrick Show this morning, Jim Gray said that he was the one who came up with the idea for a one-hour announcement show for LeBron James. Patrick’s official website has a rundown of Gray’s comments about the genesis and format of the James Show:

Dan Patrick Show Tweet

Jim Gray told us that he pitched the 1-hour announcement special idea to Maverick Carter and LeBron James during game 2 of the NBA Finals.

Gray explained that he saw LeBron’s marketing guy Maverick Carter and super-agent Ari Emanuel at Game 2 of the NBA finals. Gray said he told Carter he wanted to do the interview and suggested they buy an hour of television.

Gray said Carter and Emanuel liked the idea. And then Gray saw Carter and LeBron at a restaurant after the game and kept talking about it.

“What Maverick really liked is that he could raise a lot of money for a charity,” Gray said.

Gray thinks it’s a great idea because it will help Boys and Girls clubs. “It doesn’t bother me at all,” Gray said. “I think it’s wonderful.”

Gray talked about the structure of the show. Read more…

City Of Milwaukee Pigeons Standing At The Ready

The Milwaukee Brewers announced today that a statue of Bud Selig is being cast and will be unveiled at Miller Park in August.

Bud Selig gives himself a statue at Miller Park

Whose idea was it? Tom Haudricourt of the MILWAUKEE JOURNAL-SENTINEL gives us a clue. Read more…

Brog: Pennington’s Balls Deep Better Than Brett’s

Seems like the Jets trading for quatrogenarian mad bomber Brett Favre and dispatching weak-armed Chad Pennington was a home run for Eric Mangini’s charges, eh? If you listened to NFL TV domepieces since the deal, you’d think the move means the Jets now will do a better job throwing the ball deeper down field.

Chad Pennington Better Balls Deep Than Brett Favre Statistical Comparison

One small detail though, the Elias Sports Bureau reports that over the past four years, Pennington has been much, MUCH more effective than Favre on passing attempts of 20 yards or more.

Tim Graham of ESPN.com yesterday highlighted the figures in his blog, which I heard about today on Dan Le Batard’s WAXY-AM show in Miami. As you might expect, those statz has South Florida a little more excited about Pennington, with equal parts bemusement.

Great find by A.J. Daulerio over at DEADSPIN:

Sean Salisburyt

(Someone might consider upping the wattage on those softboxes)

Sean “The Brand” Salisbury has been unearthed doing commentary for a new site called OpenSports.com. Salisbury will apparently be on the Mike Florio schedule (seven days per week). We’ll see how long that lasts.

Honest to god, the first thing I thought of when I saw the URL “OpenSports.com” was it was somehow related to the gay sports site OutSports.com. But alas, Tim Hardaway is apparently not among the new site’s early wave of hires (though he’s available).

It’s a little amusing to see Cris Collinsworth covering the Olympics, but he’s no less qualified than half the reporters on-site. NBC Universal employees right now must feel a little like the National Guard. You can be 50-years-old and hopelessly underqualified for the job, but that doesn’t mean you won’t soon be in a funny looking uniform, halfway ’round the world on 48 hours notice.

Jim Gray Hollywood Star Crapped On

Sports TV execs are enjoying a brief respite from Jim Gray, as the mostly-unemployed broadcaster has called off the stalking for now, after landing the prestigious role of “boxing reporter,” on NBC’s Olympic coverage. I wonder if a monitoring anklet was part of the arrangement - and Dick Ebersol checking into his hotel as “Charles Bronson.”

Read more…

Now We’re Not Ones To Pile On Jim Gray, Butt …

We received this photo of Jim Gray’s star on Hollywood Blvd. shortly after we posted last Friday that he’s out of work.

Jim Gray Hollywood Star Crapped On

We’ve also heard from several, well-connected media moles that no one will now hire him (just check out the hacks roaming the sidelines during the NBA playoffs). Read more…

Ladies … To Host Live Draft Blog; New Porras Pics

The Ladies… will be on SbB all weekend to live blog the NFL Draft. They’ll be here for eight hours each day beginning Saturday at 2pm ET. See you then!

• Bolivian basketball babe Claudia Porras still proves she’s a model player.

Claudia Porras

• Today’s the day Rick Monday cemented himself as a real American hero for rescuing Old Glory.

Jim Gray is still stalking the press areas - if only he was doing it for an actual sports network.

• Meanwhile, Kelvin Sampson is having no trouble entertaining job offers from the NBA.

• Dallas sportscaster Dale Hansen compares Pacman’s trade to Big D with the Cowboys signing Osama bin Laden.

Read more…