LeBron James' decision to take one hour out of ESPN's regular schedule is expected to rake in a huge rating which will eventually benefit Boys & Girls Clubs of America. The NBA player personally asked the sports channel to spare him a time slot on Thursday, July 8 to announce where he would land his free-agency deal which worth tens of millions of dollars.
In the special called "The Decision", James will tell former ESPN and NBC reporter Jim Gray about his decision in the first 10 to 15 minutes of the 9 P.M. ET broadcast. "We're not going to string it along," said Norby Williamson, an executive vice president of ESPN. "That wouldn't benefit anyone; not us, not sports fans, not LeBron." Meanwhile, Michael Wilbon who was also hand-picked by James will be in the Bristol, Conn., studio with Stuart Scott and Jon Barry to add material to the one hour telecast by interviewing the sportsman.
There's a big question as to why ESPN would like to dedicate a full 60 minutes for James to simply say where he would go. Apparently, an earlier talk between James' business manager Maverick Carter and Gray ended up with the latter saying, "Why don't we buy time on the network, you own the show and he announces his decision?" It then led to the idea of attracting advertisers within the one-hour and giving the money for charity. Nike, Sprite, McDonald's, Vitaminwater, Bing and the University of Phoenix are some who have signed up.
In the biggest upset for ESPN, the speculation about which team James will sign to has been circulating 24 hours before "The Decision" airs. Phoenix Suns forward Jared Dudley who was James' former teammate spilled it out on his Twitter that the two-time MVP will go to New York Knicks. But, there's also plenty who said Miami Heat will be his destination.