As everyone knows, LeBron James made some sort of decision last night. Despite his public declaration to all realtors in Miami that he’s house-hunting in the area, there was another huge albatross in the room: Why was Jim Gray chosen to interview “the King?”
Well it turns out Gray approached James’s inner-circle and pitched the one-hour special himself. CNBC has the story:
As Jim Gray has told it, it was his idea to make LeBron James’ free agent plan an hour special. He took the idea to James’ marketing agent Maverick Carter of LRMR, who then worked with William Morris Endeavor to put the package together in front of ESPN executive.
“We aren’t privy to Gray’s arrangement,” said ESPN spokesman Mike Soltys. “He came as part of the package. We accepted Jim knowing that we would have extensive time for our people to interview LeBron, which was bulk of the show.”
It sounds like Gray created his own position as a media face, and was paid in some way by LeBron’s circle. It’s impossible to call Gray a reporter after watching last night, but an amazing job on his part in getting that special together, which grabbed the attention of 7.3 percent of the entire U.S. television market.
But the only question left has nothing to do with basketball, and has more to do with Gray. Can he work as a reporter ever again? If not, does it really matter? If he can pull together more TV specials like “The Decision,” then he probably doesn’t need to. But how often do these chances come around? How long will James’ sign for again?