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…

LeBron Plays Entourage With Bachelor Mansion

I lived in Miami in 2008 and quickly learned there’s really only two areas you want to live if you’re anywhere near downtown: South Beach or Coconut Grove.

LeBron James Commute

(James’ commute is 15 minutes - with South Beach a postgame bridge away)

Both are centers of activity in more ways than one but Coconut Grove is certainly more family friendly, hence LeBron James putting down stakes in the latter with a recent $9 million manse acquisition.

Lebron James Mansion

(Full rundown of the neighborhood)

James’ tri-level, 12,000 square-foot estate was built in 2010 on a 20,000 square-foot lot. The abode has Biscayne Bay views from every room and boasts a concrete dock which can fit up to two 60-foot yachts.

Lebron James Mansion

(Photo credit: Obeo.com)

The house was originally listed at $12 milllion but James - apparently - snapped it up for $3 million less.

LeBron James Mansion

James sidekick baby mama Savannah Brinson would most likely be delighted with the decision to stay away from South Beach, but since she’s wintering with the kids in Akron(!) I have a feeling Maverick Carter & Co. are all set to reenact Entourage. Read more…

Think LeBron Bump Not Deliberate? Think Again

Much has been made about LeBron James bumping Miami Heat coach Eric Spoelstra last night during the Heat’s 106-95 loss at Dallas.

LeBron Bumps Into Miami Coach Video

The video is somewhat compelling, especially given James’ arm flourish at the end - which may have punctuated a deliberate non-verbal message. Or not.


Perhaps even more compelling though is that James did almost exactly the same thing in 2007.

While playing for Cleveland that year, James was also walking to the bench during a timeout when he appeared to initiate a shoulder-to-shoulder collision with then-Cavaliers Coach Mike Brown.

But in that case, there was an overheard angle to the video. An angle that appears to show James turning into Brown before the two collided. Read more…

Kobe Bryant Reveals His Mentor: Michael Jackson

Today Yahoo NBA writer Adrian Wojnarowski has a truly epic blindside today from a recent interview he did with Kobe Bryant.

Kobe Bryant Magic Johnson at Michael Jackson's funeral

Wojnarowski:

Out of nowhere one afternoon, Michael Jackson made a call to the irrepressible and isolated (then-18-year-old) Kobe Bryant, and so much changed for him.

… They would talk for hours and hours, visiting at Neverland Ranch, and Bryant has long been fortified by the lessons Jackson instilled about the burden of honoring true talent, about the ways to open your mind to be smarter, sharper and insatiable in the chase

“It sounds weird, I guess, but it’s true: I was really mentored by the preparation of Michael Jackson,” Bryant told Yahoo! Sports.

Sounds weird?

More from Wojnarowski:

“We would always talk about how he prepared to make his music, how he prepared for concerts,” Bryant said. “He would teach me what he did: How to make a ‘Thriller’ album, a ‘Bad’ album, all the details that went into it.

“It was all the validation that I needed – to know that I had to focus on my craft and never waver. Because what he did – and how he did it – was psychotic. He helped me get to a level where I was able to win three titles playing with Shaq because of my preparation, my study. And it’s only all grown.

“That’s the mentality that I have – it’s not an athletic one. It’s not from [Michael] Jordan. It’s not from other athletes.

“It’s from Michael Jackson.”

After reading Wojnarowski’s lengthy piece on the inner workings of Bryant, I think I may finally have a clue why we all know so little about #24’s personal life. Read more…

LeBron Lashes Out At Blog After Groupie Claims

On his Twitter feed today, LeBron James lashed out at a black celebrity gossip blog that recently reported him spurning his baby mama Savannah Brinson for the company of groupies.

LeBron James lashes out at blog over groupie claims

James Tweeted:

MTO is the most disgusting/non-credible site in the world! All they do is try to ruin people lives and talk bad upon them. Misery loves company and that’s exactly what MTO and all them other gossip blogs are “MISERABLE”. We don’t believe u, u need more people. SMH

SMH is an acronym for “shake my head.

It doesn’t happen often, but in this particular circumstance, I can’t disagree with James on his assessment of the site in question. Read more…

LeBron Quote Compendium: A Man Of His Words

Before they’re sucked into a credit card-retrievable-only archival vortex, I humbly submit a somewhat comprehensive compendium of LeBron James quotes - replete with cited and (soon-perishable) linked source material.

LeBron James in 2006: I don't want to go ring-chasing

Along with the extensive selection below, I’ve spiced in some of my own most memorable recitations of the man’s worldly wisdom.

LeBron on his first practice with the Heat:

Quote:
“That’s just me. Being around new teammates, you don’t want to wear out your welcome on Day 1. But I just can’t hold it back because my leadership skills won’t allow me to do that.”

LeBron on how difficult it was leaving Cleveland:

Quote:
“It was a tough decision, because I know how loyal I am.”

LeBron greeting an ESPN commentator on Twitter:

Quote:
“Shout out to Kurt Herbstriet also(may have spelled last name). ESPNU”

LeBron on what he does best off the court:

Quote:
“You know, softball is the other sport I do besides basketball.”

LeBron salutes his favorite ESPN commentator on Twitter:

Quote:
“Shout out and much love to @jalenrose! He know why”

LeBron on being more aggressive with the ball:

Quote:
“Sometimes the coaches tell me to be selfish, but my game won’t let me be selfish.”

LeBron on what his role is for the team:

Quote:
“I’ve always been a leader. I’ve always kind of been the tallest person on the team when I was younger, but always kind of the smartest. I was ahead of my time. I wasn’t always the oldest, I kind of was the youngest on the team.”

LeBron on being a leader:

Quote:
“Everywhere I’ve been, I’ve been the best player. I love being a leader, and I love being the best. It’s not about being cocky or selfish or anything like that. It’s just how I am.”

LeBron on sharing the ball:

Quote:
“I love sharing the ball with my teammates. I see a lot of things before my teammates see them.”

LeBron about girlfriend Savannah, his baby mama:

Quote:
“A person like myself always needs a great sidekick. And she’s that.”

LeBron James in 2006: I don't want to go ring-chasing

LeBron on facing playoff elimination in Game 6 vs Celtics:

Quote:
“A LeBron James team is never desperate.”

LeBron on the city of Cleveland:

Quote:
“We didn’t actually like Cleveland. We hated Cleveland growing up. There’s a lot of people in Cleveland we still hate to this day.”

LeBron on a possible return to the Cavaliers: Read more…

LeBron Says Racism Factor In ‘Decision’ Backlash

LeBron James and his childhood friend and marketing agent Maverick Carter appeared on CNN last night to discuss the aftermath of the method he employed to leave Cleveland for the Miami Heat.

LeBron James

In an interview for a piece by CNN reporter Soledad O’Brien, both James and Carter said they thought negative public reaction to how the NBA star left Cleveland was rooted in racism.

Here’s part of the on-camera exchange between O’Brien, James and Carter:

O’BRIEN (on camera): Whose idea was that?

JAMES: It was my idea and the people around me’s idea.

MAVERICK CARTER, CEO, LRMR MARKETING AND BRANDING: The execution could have been a little better and I take some of the blame for that.

O’BRIEN (voice-over): James entered the NBA as an 18-year-old. Two years later, he fired his agents and then put Carter, a 22-year- old college dropout, in charge of his $135 million worth of endorsement deals.

(on camera): How old were you?

CARTER: I was 22.

O’BRIEN: And you are the guy in charge of the most important valuable athlete maybe in the world? Read more…

Cavs Beat Writer Bolting To ESPN To Cover Heat?

Multiple sources have confirmed to me in the past week that ESPN has designs on hiring Cleveland Cavaliers beat reporter Brian Windhorst away from the CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER to cover the Miami Heat this season for ESPN.com.

Brian Windhorst

Windhorst, who has covered the Cavs sinces 2003, has not been available for comment in the past week, though he did file a story for the Plain Dealer yesterday and has yet to announce a change of address publicly. Sources tell me that a deal between Windhorst and ESPN has not yet been finalized.

Windhorst already has ties to Bristol. Since 2006, he’s contributed to ESPN.com and ESPN2’s First Take television show on a part-time basis. He also reportedly has a home in Jupiter, Florida - a relatively short drive from Miami.

Late last week ESPN was also in the process of hiring another well-known, Miami-based NBA reporter to cover the Heat for ESPN.com. Read more…

OSU Refused LeBron ‘Full Police Escort’ Demand

Earlier this week Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor virtually guaranteed that LeBron James would be booed if he attended today’s Ohio State-Miami football game in Columbus by telling Buckeye fans not to boo “my mentor.”

LeBron wanted full police escort at Ohio State-Miami game

(Meanwhile, Jeremy Shockey was granted big fat alumni guy escort)

Before the game Saturday, ESPN college football reporter Bruce Feldman noted on his Twitter account that, “OSU security guy said LeBron wanted a full police escort today..’He’ll probably get one guy… He made his decision.‘” Read more…

Terrelle Pryor Tells OSU Fans Not To Boo LeBron

Doug Lesmerises of the CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER reports that Terrelle Pryor has other things on his mind as the Buckeyes prepare for the Univ. of Miami on Saturday in Columbus.

LeBron James wearing Yankees cap

(Pryor on his “mentor”: “He’s a Buckeye. He’s a Buckeye.”)

Lesmerises reports that the OSU quarterback believes LeBron Jamesplans to attend” the Hurricanes-Ohio State game. That fact has Pryor so worried about the behavior of Buckeye fans - in response to LeBron - that he sent a message to the OSU faithful through the media: Read more…