So apparently it wasn't LeBron James who came up with the idea for his ‘Decision' on ESPN last Thursday night. Nope. It was Jim Gray, the person who interviewed James. According to CNBC, it was Gray's idea to make it an hour-long special. He then took that idea to LeBron's marketing agent Maverick Carter. That's where things started happening quickly.
Carter teamed up with William Morris Endeavor and collectively they put together a presentation to bring to ESPN. The package deal came with Gray as James' preferred interviewer, but that wasn't a problem for the network because of his great track record. Gray, formerly with NBC and ESPN, is now working as a freelance reporter/interviewer.
As for the interview itself, there has been a lot of bitching about the fact that it took Gray ‘6 minutes and 18 seconds' to ask LeBron the question of where he was going to play next season. I'd be lying if I said it wasn't pissing me off too, especially when Gray asked James "Are you still biting your fingernails?" after a seemingly endless stream of pointless banter and fluff questioning.
There are conflicting reports as to who paid Gray for the nights work, but CNBC is standing by their original story that he was "paid by the entity that was set up for the production". Gray later tweeted that he was in fact compensated and it seemed as though it came from that entity, saying on Twitter that he was given "a small stipend and the rest went to charity."
For those wondering, the amount that will be donated to said charity (The Boys & Girls Clubs of America) is $2.5 million. The ‘Decision', while widely criticized, was watched by nearly 10 million viewers...making it the 3rd most watched event to be broadcast on cable TV this year.
"The Decision" that aired Thursday night ranks behind the 12.3 million who watched the NFL Pro Bowl and 11.2 million who watched an episode of "ICarly" on Nickelodeon in January.
Not what I would've guessed as the top two, but hey...who doesn't love ICarly? And speaking of the Pro Bowl, have you guys thought about what the Eastern Conference All-Star team is going to look like? Hated or not, I'd say there is a very good chance of our big three taking up three-fifths of the starting lineup.