|July 13, 2010|
|White House Bound to Take Heat for LeBron Misfire|
|By Kevin McCauley|
|It won't be long until Fox News and President Obama's other tormentors blame him for the LeBron James boffo misfire on ESPN, a performance that sullied the "brand" of anybody even remotely involved with what the Washington Post neatly dubbed ďan orgy of excess.Ē |
The self-anointed "King," who has never won an NBA title, is now compared with "A-Rod" (aka Alex Rodriguez) of the New York Yankees.
That linkage hardly flatters. The King will dribble in the court of Dwayne Wade, ruler of the Miami Heat. A-Rod pays homage to King Derek.
The White House connection to the James/ESPN carnival of hype comes in the form of Obama's chief of staff Rahm Emmanuel, the presidential enforcer and noted ballet dancer.
Rahm's brother and Hollywood mogul, Ari, brokered the whole James/ESPN mess. Ari, co-CEO of the William Morris Endeavor agency, supplied Ad Age with some of the back story of "The Decision" program.
The inspiration came when Ari was enjoying the NBA Finals with media maven Dave Geffen. They were approached with the national TV idea by James' agent and sportcaster Jim Gray, who ultimately dragged out the "I'm taking my skills to South Beach" revelation form James.
Deflecting criticism that the James embarrassment was so over-the-top, Ari called the effort a "major success for advertisers, and we're getting closer to pushing the needle on advertiser-content programming."
So the question is: How much did Rahm know about the James/ESPN program and when did he know it? Did he tip-off the basketball-loving commander-in-chief, who wanted to see LeBron leading the Chicago Bulls to a championship, rather than hitching a ride with D-Wade?
Another question: Can Ari do anything to help the Chicago White Sox, Obama's favorite baseball team, get back to the World Series. Itís been a five-year drought.
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