Appearing on the Dan Patrick Show this morning, Jim Gray said that he was the one who came up with the idea for a one-hour announcement show for LeBron James. Patrick’s official website has a rundown of Gray’s comments about the genesis and format of the James Show:
Jim Gray told us that he pitched the 1-hour announcement special idea to Maverick Carter and LeBron James during game 2 of the NBA Finals.
Gray explained that he saw LeBron’s marketing guy Maverick Carter and super-agent Ari Emanuel at Game 2 of the NBA finals. Gray said he told Carter he wanted to do the interview and suggested they buy an hour of television.
Gray said Carter and Emanuel liked the idea. And then Gray saw Carter and LeBron at a restaurant after the game and kept talking about it.
“What Maverick really liked is that he could raise a lot of money for a charity,” Gray said.
Gray thinks it’s a great idea because it will help Boys and Girls clubs. “It doesn’t bother me at all,” Gray said. “I think it’s wonderful.”
Gray talked about the structure of the show.
He said it will open with Stuart Scott in studio, set the stage, and then go to him and LeBron. “I’ll ask him some questions before I ask him what his decision is,” Gray said.
Ironic that James would take Gray’s advice and use him as his interviewer considering the criticism Gray received for his clumsy, confrontational interview with Pete Rose during the 1999 World Series.
Excerpt from a review of that interview in USA TODAY the day after it happened:
The interview was a disaster. Instead of e-mails and messages - the ’90s equivalent of water cooler discussions - about the braveless Braves wilting in the chilly October air, we’re talking about Gray’s interview.
Since that moment, Gray’s career trajectory has been in decline. He’s gone from a constant national television broadcast presence and star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame to sideline reporting for the Sacramento Kings and bit roles on sports radio broadcasts.
As the LeBron Decision Show was, apparently, his idea, when Gray interviews James Thursday I doubt he’ll display the same lack of tact he did with Rose. Especially in the context of Gray using tonight’s production to rehabilitate a media career on life support.
Somehow though I think pandering to James’ narcissism won’t help Gray’s cause.