LeBron James is about to announce where he'll be playing on ESPN. Well, at least we hope he spills the beans immediately. The intro for the ESPN special, "The Decision," is ridiculous, calling him the "most coveted" free agent of all time. ESPN's sources still claim he's going to Miami, but Chris Broussard said there are "so many twists and turns" that he could head to NY, Chicago or stay in Cleveland. Sorry, NJ!
9:05 p.m.: It's still ESPN packages about how great LeBron is. Time to check LeBron James' Ego on Twitter: "GETTIN READY TO DO THE DAMN THING BUT SO MANY THINGS ARE ON MY MIND LIKE WHAT THE HELL IS UP WITH LINDSAY LOHAN? GIRL IS LUNCHIN."
9:07 p.m.: Blah blah blah more ESPN stuff. We get a shot of LeBron in the Boys and Girls Club gymnasium with Jim Gray; LeBron is wearing a gingham shirt. Jon Barry still thinks LeBron should go to Chicago. Broussard agrees that Chicago is a better fit with Derrick Rose, Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah, but says "you can't argue with Miami" given that Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh.
9:18 p.m.: ESPN claims that LeBron will be talking after the next commercial pod. We'll see.
9:22 p.m.: Jim Gray asks LeBron what's been going on this summer. To note -- there's a huge Vitamin Water cooler in the back of the audience (VM is a sponsor). King James says the process has been everything he's expected and more. He claims not many know his decision.
9:25 p.m.: Blah blah blah, Gray is asking how knows, when James has made up his mind, does the team know. James: The last time he changed his mind was in his dreams; the team apparently just found out.
James says the major factor was for him to "win now...Winning is a huge thing to me, Jim, you know that."
9:27 p.m.: "I'm taking my talents to South Beach and joining the Miami Heat," because it's the best opportunity to win championships. "I never wanted to leave Cleveland. My heart will always be around that area. But I also felt this is the greatest challenge for me, to move on... It's not like leaving Cleveland...it's about joining forces with the other guys...and winning for multiple years. If this was a perfect world, I would stay. I've done so many great things for the team, they've done so many great things for me.... This is a very emotional time for me."
9:37 p.m.: The ESPN commentators are now talking to LeBron, who says he'll miss his teammates and appreciates them. When asked what was lacking in Cleveland, James didn't want to say it was lacking, but, "I just think the attraction in Miami being alongside Dwayne Wade...Chris Bosh...the management...it's a new challenge for myself."
The Cleveland Plain Dealer's website states, "LeGone."
9:40 p.m.: James is asked whether he was attracted to New York and Madison Square Garden, Wall Street, the glitz and glamour. He says he was attracted to lots of places—but he doesn't say the m-word (money)—but he wanted to go to somewhere where he'd be able to win. Take that, Knicks with $99.7 million man Amare Stoudemire!
9:45 p.m.: James claims that he, Wade and Bosh will be taking less money. Just checked his website; it now says, "Next year, I will be playing for The Miami Heat. I would like to thank all of my fans for supporting me and I am looking forward to seeing you guys next season as I chase the NBA Championship."
9:49 p.m.: ESPN showed footage of someone burning a LeBron James Cavaliers jersey and was asked his opinion. He says, "I can't involved in that... I wanted to do what was best for LeBron James and what would LeBron James would do to make him happy... I had seven great years in Cleveland and I hope my fans understand. Maybe they won't, but I'm going to be ultimately happy with the decision I made."
Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz issued a statement, "LeBron James has worked hard in Cleveland, so maybe he needs this vacation in Florida before he moves on to reach his professional zenith — a championship dynasty in Brooklyn, USA."
At the end of the program, ESPN shows a pre-taped segment where the University of Phoenix says they'll donate another $500,000 to the Boys and Girls Club (all the proceeds from "The Decision" special sponsorships are going to the Boys and Girls Club) and offer five full scholarships to the University of Phoenix. That's maybe the only good thing about this special—donations to the Boys and Girls Club.