July 8, 2020 will mark the 10-year anniversary of LeBron James' famously telling Jim Gray "I'm going to take my talents to South Beach and join the Miami Heat."
On Sunday, ESPN will take an in-depth look at one of the most polarizing free-agent decisions in sports history, in which James, an Akron native, left the Cleveland Cavaliers to join the Heat.
In the latest installment of his Backstory series, investigative reporter Don Van Natta, Jr. will take a deep dive into the lead up to "The Decision" and the backlash that followed. Then 25-years-old and coming off of two consecutive MVP seasons, James was met with widespread criticism when he announced he'd be leaving Northeast Ohio to sign with the Heat during a national television special on ESPN.
“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,” Van Natta said in a press release. “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.”
New details revealed during Sunday's show include information regarding how and when the idea for "The Decision" first came to be, NBA Commissioner David Stern's pleas to cancel the show and how James -- who returned to Cleveland in 2014 and led the Cavs to an NBA title in 2016 -- prepared for the show.
Those interviewed as a part of Sunday's show include:
- Author Buzz Bissinger
- ESPN's Michael Wilbon
- Former ESPN vice president and director of news Vince Doria
- NBA reporter Chris Broussard
- Author and Cleveland native Scott Raab
- ESPN's Bomani Jones
- Former ESPN president John Skipper
- Former ESPN executive Keith Clinkscales
"Backstory: The Decision" will air on ESPN on Sunday, July 29 at 9 p.m. You can watch a trailer for the episode in the video player below.