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David Stern on LeBron James’ The Decision: ‘We knew it was going to be terrible, and we tried very hard for it not to happen’

NBC Sports logo NBC Sports 9/14/2018 Dan Feldman
a man holding a sign © Marc Serota/Getty Images

The Decision was bad. Everyone agrees. Even LeBron James has apologized and expressed regret for how he announced his departure from Cleveland for Miami in 2010. (Just don’t don’t think too hard about how similar The Decision was to the nationally televised recruiting announcements celebrated annually.)

Anyway, some people – including then-NBA commissioner David Stern – foresaw the negative consequences.

Zach Lowe of ESPN, quoting Ian Thomsen’s “The Soul of Basketball“:

“It was terrible,” Stern would say. “It was terrible on its own. It is fair to say that we knew it was going to be terrible, and we tried very hard for it not to happen.”

It obviously took a great amount of confidence in his own importance for LeBron to do The Decision. To do it against the commissioner’s wishes makes that even more true.

In the end, Stern was right. Fair or not, The Decision damaged LeBron’s reputation. He would have been better off skipping the event.

But this was an early – messy – example of LeBron learning how to exercise his vast power. And that served him well in the long run.


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