Thursday, July 8, 2010

ESPN Allows 'Chosen One' to Choose Everything

MIAMI - DECEMBER 30:  LeBron James #23 of the ...Image by Getty Images via @daylife
Okay, "TUOL" concedes we're not talking about Walter Cronkite surrendering control of the content on the CBS Evening News or Ted Koppel allowing Nightline to air a 30-minute infomerical.

Still, ESPN has lowered the bar with l'affaire LeBron James, as chronicled by Ad Age and The New York Times.  For the NBA-challenged among you, LeBron James, a/k/a the "Chosen One," is one of the best pro basketball players on the planet and a free agent.  His long-time team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, has been desperately trying to re-sign him to a megadeal, as have suitors, including the New York Knicks, NJ Nets, Miami Heat and the Chicago Bulls.

James will decide which team's barrel of money he will accept this evening, but it's how the public will learn of his choice that rubs "TUOL" the wrong way.  An hour-long special, cleverly called "The Decision," will air on Disney-owned ESPN this evening at 9 and is sure to be a cable ratings monster.

On the positive side of the ledger, the ad revenues generated by the show will be given over to the Boys & Girls Club of America. Otherwise, it's a dark day for sports journalism.  ESPN has also allowed James to choose the journalist to whom he will make his grand pronouncement. James will share the scoop (but not his money) with freelance journalist and former ESPN reporter Jim Gray, though ESPN NBA analyst Michael Wilbon will also be on-hand to ask a question or two.

ESPN apparently now stands for "Every Superstar Prescribes News." Imagine the influence James would exert if he ever managed an NBA championship as Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan have done so many times.

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