This week marks the 3rd anniversary of LeBron James’ ill-advised, oft-mocked televised chit chat with Jim Gray in which he broke Cleveland’s hearts and announced his decision to team up with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami. BroJackson.com’s Courtney Cox was working as a studio stage manager for ESPN at the time, and on the night of “The Decision”, Cox was given the delicate task of keeping the peace amongst the 60 or so children
assembled as window dressing for the occasion meant to represent the event’s beneficiary, The Boys & Girls Clubs. Murphy’s Law being what it is in a live TV situation, Cox recalls an issue that arose “about 30 minutes before the show started.”
Most of the guests were seated, comprised of high-level execs primarily from Disney and the Boys and Girls Club. I didn’t know most of the people present, but one of the higher-level faces I did recognize approached me concerned. He asked me about which seats were taken and if we could get more. Nervous about shutting down someone that could get me fired, I played it safe and tried to dodge the awkward responsibility of assigning seats. He whispered softly, “Kanye West is here and I don’t know where to seat him.”
Mind you, this is not long after the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, where Kanye gave Taylor Swift the business in his infamous “I’mma let you finish” speech.
So I ask the high-level face, “Are there any seats in the back we can find?” thinking that the further back he sits, the greater my chances of properly wrapping up when I tackle him on his way to the limelight. He said, “How about those three seats on the third row?” He wasn’t seeing what I was seeing.
So Kanye walks in with no entourage, just a couple of people, and now I’m thinking he’s either here because he was at the wedding rehearsal for Carmelo Anthony and LaLa, or he was the Chicago representative picked to show out when LeBron chose the Bulls. To this day, I’m still not sure why he was in the building.
I spend the first 15 minutes or so honed in on ‘Ye’s every move. He seems chill, he’s wearing his glasses indoors, and he’s not making sudden moves. I forget he’s there until one of the camera operators says, “I think Kanye West fell asleep.”
At the biggest non-sporting sports event in a while, Kanye West fell asleep before anyone announced anything. He was doing the church/school head nod and everything. Wake up, Mr. West. He would eventually wake up and leave well before The Decision ended.