Former ESPN host Michelle Beadle says NBA icon LeBron James once tried to torpedo her career because he was upset with her commentary.
Beadle, now a contributing analyst on San Antonio Spurs telecasts, addressed the previously rumored incident during a podcast appearance with fellow former NBA Countdown host and ESPN alum Paul Pierce.
According to Beadle, James was annoyed with her after she had mocked the infamous "Decision," when LeBron announced on a special televised event in the summer of 2010 that he was taking his talents to South Beach, as he famously put it.
James later "tried" to get her fired for being one of the many pundits who panned the stunt, Beadle said.
“He tried,” Beadle said when asked by Pierce. “He did try to do that. I was like, ‘Wow, I’m honored that I’m even on your mind. Thank you very much. That’s a weird place for me to be.'
"My stuff with him started out not personal. I made fun of 'The Decision' like 400,000 other talking heads did at the time. And, I think for some reason, that was it. So, it wasn't personal to begin with. Obviously, now it will always be personal, but it is what it is. ..."
Beadle was removed from NBA Countdown in mid-2019 and left the Worldwide Leader soon after, ending a 10-year run during which time she became one of the more familiar and aggressively promoted faces on the network.
Her time there ended quietly for reasons that are unclear, with the company buying her out of a reported $5 million annual salary. She was replaced on NBA Countdown by Maria Taylor and Rachel Nichols, who are both no longer with ESPN.
Last month, Beadle seemed to tease a potential return to a major network in a series of social media posts, though so far only her limited work as a Spurs broadcaster has materialized.
Pierce meanwhile was fired by ESPN in April after he mistakenly livestreamed himself at a debauched poker party, ending his several years as an analyst on NBA Countdown.
The Celtics great says he has no ill will toward ESPN over his exit, adding that he felt like NBA Countdown had lost its way with stale talking points and disruptive lineup shuffles.