Jim Gray: We could have been more sensitive to Cavs fans with The Decision

In 2010, LeBron James announced that he was taking his talents to South Beach; on Thursday, Emmy winner Jim Gray reflected on that iconic moment

The DA Show
November 12, 2020 - 10:26 am

It may seem hard to believe, but The Decision was just over 10 years ago. Yes, in July 2010, LeBron James announced on live television that he would leave the Cleveland Cavaliers and sign with the Miami Heat.

James was roundly criticized for the segment, which sparked a wide range of emotions among Cavaliers fans, many of whom burned LeBron jerseys in effigy.

Jim Gray, who interviewed James during that segment, did not see that type of harsh reaction coming.

“No, not really, didn’t have that crystal ball,” Gray said on The DA Show. “It was just a moment where we felt at that time that it was a good thing to do, to be able to give all that money to the Boys and Girls Clubs. In essence, it’s the same as a press conference, except you’re doing it with just one person. So, no, I don’t think that anybody could foreshadow or see what would cascade right after that event.”

In retrospect, Gray, who has won a dozen Emmy Awards, has mixed feelings about The Decision.

“Ten years later, I feel that show and The Decision still reverberates today,” he said. “It’s about player empowerment. It’s about a guy who took control and decided where he wanted to go on his terms with the people he wanted to do it with. In many ways, it’s led to the dawning of players conducting themselves and communicating by themselves through their own outlets – The Players Tribune, Twitter and so forth. So to me, it’s now, as you look back, a Curt Flood type of moment, and I think the players owe a great debt of gratitude to LeBron for taking all those risks.”

That said, Gray understands why many Cavaliers fans reacted the way they did.

“Well, I think that we could have done a lot better toward the fans of Cleveland and have been more sensitive and have taken that into account,” he said. “The program wasn’t without flaws, but by and large, LeBron was painted as a villain – and this guy’s not a villain. Look at everything he’s done with I Promise. Look at the way he’s played on the court. Look at his social-justice stands. He’s not a villain. He wasn’t a villain then, and he’s not a villain now. So, yes, I think the criticism was harsh, but we could have done better.”