Remember those brutal six minutes worth of nonsense, softball questions Jim Gray tossed up to LeBron James last night before finally — after 18 questions — asking the important one? Yeah, well, Team LeBron apparently paid for all of that, and the rest of Gray’s inquiries that followed.
From CNBC’s Darren Rovell:
ESPN didn’t play down one part of the business arrangement of the deal — that Gray, the former ESPN and NBC reporter who is now working on a freelance basis, was James’ preferred interviewer. But the network didn’t say, and now says they didn’t know, that 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.
“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.”
Gray’s agent Sandy Montag of IMG declined comment. Attempts to reach Maverick Carter, through James’ publicist Keith Estabrook, were unsuccessful.
Also, in case you didn’t know, the idea for “The Decision” was Gray’s, in case you need one more person to despise in this whole ordeal.