GREENWICH CT - JULY 08: LeBron James and ESPN's Jim Gray speak at the LeBron James announcement of his future NBA plans at the Boys & Girls Club of America on July 8 2010 in Greenwich Connecticut. James announced during a live broadcast on ESPN that he will play for the Miami Heat next season. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Estabrook Group)
If all you did was watch the ESPN special, "The Decision", you might be pretty confused about who exactly LeBron James was considering during free agency.
When ESPN had to report something FACTUAL, they managed to actually say the name of the Clippers without laughing or gagging. So early in the show, Stuart Scott listed the names of the six teams that met with LeBron last week (listing the Clippers last of course, but at least he included them).
The graphics department, however, apparently only had the budget to photoshop five uniforms... because, you know, six would be so much more work, and would take up so much more time. So as we went to the first commercial, the big teaser was LeBron in five different unis - Heat, Cavs, Knicks, Bulls, Nets.... The Clippers didn't even get in the game this time. They got a 'Did Not Play - ESPN's Decision'.
Perhaps even more insulting, the Clippers were also omitted on the crawl (which let's face it, it's text and it's almost worthless, how hard would it be to be thorough and cover all six of the teams who LeBron himself said he was considering?). The crawl went through the other five teams, listing the team's cap space and their key players. Omitting the Clippers there was especially galling, not just because it would have been so easy to include them. It also happens that in that particular context (listing the key players on the roster), the Clippers would have actually looked pretty damn good. I'd put Baron Davis, Eric Gordon, Blake Griffin and Chris Kaman up against the lame players they listed for the Knicks and the Nets.
Fortunately, the star of the evening was a bit more gracious. LeBron thanked the Clippers for their interest, and specifically stated that these were the teams and cities in which he was interested - actually listing the Clippers FIRST at one point in the show.
Look, I know the franchise is viewed as a joke. But that was weird, right? There were SIX teams that went to Cleveland. LeBron and his people invited SIX teams. They didn't say "We have to invite the Clippers to be polite, but we're not considering them." They received pitches from SIX teams. To show five mocked up uniforms, and to list five teams on the crawl... that's either sloppy or mean, isn't it?