September 22, 2010
Hey, remember "The Decision"? Sure you do. That was a barrel full of laughing monkeys, wasn't it? Great times were had by all, except Clevelanders, and no one thought it was a bad idea at all. Certainly not ESPN, which had amazing ratings for the one-hour special and is planning something far more extravagant for the Miami Heat's training camp that begins next week.
ESPN will formally announce Wednesday that it's going to training camp with James' Miami Heat, with its coverage likely to outdo anything it did on Brett Favre's annual summer soul-searching. Starting at the team's media day Monday and continuing when its training camp starts Tuesday at Eglin Air Force Base in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., ESPN will erect a set and parachute in analysts Jalen Rose, Josh Elliott and Jon Barry and reporters including Rachel Nichols for continuous surveillance across ESPN platforms.
While senior coordinating producer Mark Summer isn't sure ESPN will get practice video, the mission is clear with a team he says has unbelievable story lines. "Obviously, with all the buzz, it's a bigger deal (than) past NBA training camps," he says. "Fans want to hear about the Heat, so we'll want to rampup the coverage."
Awesome. Let's all tune in to watch this, because it is going to be very fun and not infuriating in any way.
But really, this makes a lot of sense. ESPN has a heck of a lot invested in the Heat, as its networks are broadcasting 14 Miami games this season. And honestly, the Heat are the most interesting story going into this season. If ESPN is going to be embedded in any team's training camp, it would be the Heat.
That doesn't mean it's going to be interesting to watch, however. ESPN might not even have video of the team playing basketball, so the shows will just be guys sitting at a desk talking about what's happening behind closed doors. Maybe they'll catch some sweet clips of LeBron James(notes) wearing another T-shirt that says how awesome he is, but it sounds like a whole lot of airtime devoted to hoping something happens. Thrilling, I'm sure.
Then again, if we know anything about LeBron, Dwyane Wade(notes) and Chris Bosh(notes) it's that they like to put on a show for the cameras. Hopefully something cool happens, and hopefully it involves elaborate costumes and/or water buffalo.