On Monday, ESPN announced that they would be airing an edition of Backstory, hosted by Don Van Natta, on Sunday, June 28th at 9 PM focusing on The Decision, the much-maligned primetime special where LeBron James announced he was taking his talents to South Beach.
Notably, this episode of Backstory seems to focus more on the actual creation of The Decision and its fallout rather than James’ decision to move to the Heat from the Cavaliers.
Here’s a quote from Van Natta.
“Our new Backstory episode explores the unlikely way The Decision was created, the reasons why it was done despite the risks and the tensions about it behind the scenes,” said Van Natta, who joined ESPN in 2012. “And despite all the criticism that LeBron James and ESPN received, the one-hour show had a far-reaching impact on LeBron and his inner circle while beginning a trend of star athletes telling their own stories through their own media and production companies. LeBron’s experience on The Decision was the launching pad for his own shows sold to multiple networks and helped him sharpen his voice on a wide array of important issues beyond the basketball court.”
And here’s a teaser trailer.
An inside look at @KingJames' 2010 decision to leave the @cavs for the @MiamiHEAT
A new episode of Backstory, ESPN's investigative docuseries with @DVNJr, premieres this weekend
Sunday | 9 p.m. ET | ESPN
More: https://t.co/YB9qsjF2Yi pic.twitter.com/I0J54dwJMh
— ESPN PR (@ESPNPR) June 22, 2020
Several of the people interviewed for the series are ex-ESPN president John Skipper, ex-ESPN exec Keith Clinkscales (who oversaw The Decision), Buzz Bissinger, Michael Wilbon, ex-ESPN VP and news director Vince Doria, Chris Broussard, Scott Raab, and Bomani Jones.
Notably, it doesn’t appear that James, any of his inner circle, or host Jim Gray were interviewed, and they really seem to be some of the key pieces to telling the story of The Decision.
My main point of interest in this episode of Backstory is whether or not the former ESPN execs involved take the necessary heat for green lighting The Decision, or if they still insist it was a great idea. If Skipper, Clinkscales, and Doria spend the hour patting themselves on the back, this will have been a complete waste of time. If they actually admit it was ill-conceived (to put it mildly), maybe this will end up being an interesting hour of television.