CNN interviews LeBron & Maverick Carter about “The Decision”

July 08, 2010 - Greenwich, CONNECTICUT, United States - epa02241974 Handout photo from ESPN showing LaBron James (L), NBA's reigning two-time MVP, as he ends months of speculation and announces 08 July 2010 on ESPN 'The Decision' in Greenwich, Connecticut, USA, that he will go to the Miami Heat where he will play basketball next 2010-11 season. James said his decision was based on the fact that he wanted to play with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

In a relatively short interview with CNN, LeBron James and Maverick Carter were asked whether or not race played a role in the backlash after “The Decision.”

O’BRIEN (voice-over): According to industry insiders, James and Carter have done just fine, striking multi-million dollar deals with State Farm, Nike and McDonalds. But those deals were overshadowed by this summer’s decision and negative headlines which seemed to tarnish LeBron James, the athlete, and the brand.

CARTER: It’s just about control and not doing it the way it’s always been done or not looking the way that it always looks.

O’BRIEN (on camera): Do you think there’s a role that race plays in this.

JAMES: I think so at times. It’s always, you know, a race factor.

CARTER: It definitely played a role in some of the stuff coming out of the media, things that were written for sure.

O’BRIEN (voice-over): LeBron James and Maverick Carter say what does bother them is that lost amid the controversy is the fact that “The Decision” TV program raised $3 million for Boys & Girls Club of America.

CARTER: We own the advertising time. We went out and sold it to brands and we took every dime and donated it to charity.

FRANK SANCHEZ, V.P., BOYS & GIRLS CLUB OF AMERICA: LeBron was using a significant moment in time to benefit young people. And a lot of people can take those opportunities and make it about them. He really was — his goal was to make it about kids and make it about giving opportunities for kids.

JAMES: For me to have an opportunity to give back to the Boys & Girls Club of America, that I would never change that. And if I have to take heat to give back to kids, I would do it the same way every single time.

I included the bit about the Boys & Girls Club because it is admirable that they donated all the advertising revenue to charity, but it still doesn’t change the way that LeBron ripped the heart out of his fans in Cleveland during an hour-long, primetime special. Again, it’s not the fact that LeBron left Cleveland that non-Clevelanders have a problem with, it’s the way he did it.

To be fair, Carter said that race played a factor in “some of the stuff coming out of the media,” but “The Decision” was such a big blunder that had it been Steve Nash or Larry Bird (in his day), the backlash would have been brutal.

It’s a free country and LeBron has the right to do whatever he wants, as long as he’s willing to deal with the consequences.

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