Ex-ESPN Reporter Michelle Beadle Talks About Why LeBron James Allegedly Tried To Get Her Fired

ESPN has lost more than a few notable names over the last several years. 2021 alone saw the departure of Maria Taylor as well as the surprising exit of longtime anchor Kenny Mayne. Another familiar name that fans are sure to know is Michelle Beadle, who worked for the widely watched sports news network from 2009-2012 and 2014-2019. She’s since claimed that LeBron James once tried to get her fired from the Disney-owned company during her tenure and, now, she’s sharing more details about why James allegedly wanted her removed. 

Michelle Beadle initially made these allegations against LeBron James in December 2021. The TV personality, who co-hosted NBA Countdown with (the now-removed) Paul Pierce and others during her second ESPN stint, claimed James had someone at the network that he wanted to see hosting in her place. At the time, she also insisted that James’ business partner, Maverick Carter, would act coldly towards her whenever they encountered each other. Beadle dove back into the topic while appearing on The Sessions with Renee Paquette and asserted that the NBA champion was upset with her because she criticized a certain TV special he was a part of:

I made fun of The Decision, and I was one of about a bazillion people that did. … This was a long time ago, I guess when I followed him, and I got a DM that was, ‘Why are you so mean to me on television?’ And I just sort of laughed it off, I didn’t even think about it. And then, fast forward, we’re at the Olympics, and I remember people were sharing messages. Like, ‘Hey, they’re doing this thing,’ and I never went. Like, LeBron and all of these people were having parties and stuff in London, and I never went to any of that stuff. That has literally been my only sort of two overlaps in life with [James].

The Decision, as sports fans more than likely remember, was the 2010 ESPN special in which LeBron James announced that he’d be leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers and “taking his talents” to South Beach to play with the Miami Heat. The program generated high ratings for the network but was heavily admonished by sports pundits and general fans. This was particularly due to the prolonged reveal of James’ actual decision. 

Michelle Beadle went on to share more thoughts on the Space Jam: A New Legacy headliner during the chat. After chastising the way he conducts himself, she summed up how she views him overall, and she didn’t mince words:

Now, I’ve been vocal because my job entailed [sharing] opinions on television, and I’ve never really cared for the way he conducts himself in most things. I find it to be very fraudulent and passive aggressive, which is not my cup of tea. But my god, I’m so far from the only one who thinks that, like one of a million people who thought that. I think he’s just a very successful, very wealthy man who still sweats dumb stuff, and that’s just that simple. And it’s unfortunate because my goodness, if I was him, I wouldn’t even hear the voices.

During the conversation, the sports journalist also said that she did take the alleged firing attempt personally, asserting that “[James] wanted me fired, he tried to do that.” She also insisted that others have reached out to her, claiming that “that kind of shit was happening to them, too.”

As of this writing, LeBron James has not publicly commented on Michelle Beadle’s accusations. It’s also worth mentioning that Beadle doesn’t view this alleged situation as the biggest annoyance she experienced while at ESPN. Judging by this new interview, she seems to be relieved that her apparent experiences with the network and James are behind her.

Erik Swann
Senior Content Producer

Erik Swann is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He began working with the publication in 2020 when he was hired as Weekend Editor. Today, he continues to write, edit and handle social media responsibilities over the weekend. On weekdays, he also writes TV and movie-related news and helps out with editing and social media as needed. He graduated from the University of Maryland, where he received a degree in Broadcast Journalism. After shifting into multi-platform journalism, he started working as a freelance writer and editor before joining CB. Covers superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. He eats more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.