Michelle Beadle has further elaborated on the idea that LeBron James wanted her fired from ESPN.
In November, on her own podcast, Beadle said that she found out that James tried to get her axed. This week, Beadle went on the “House of Strauss” podcast and host Ethan Strauss asked what it was like to go through in real-time.
“To find out … I was just like ‘hey, what a weird person to have any input on your life,’” Beadle said.
“He had a person at the network who he wanted. He wanted her to be the host of [NBA Countdown]. He does not like me, and I honestly have stopped trying to figure out why. For some reason, it goes back years. I’ve been around Maverick Carter. He refuses to shake my hand.”
It is highly probable that Beadle was referring to Rachel Nichols as the person she believes James wanted to replace her on the studio show. James and Nichols have long had a collaborative professional relationship.
Previously in the podcast with Strauss, Beadle had said there was “garbage” going on behind the scenes and how it is a “cutthroat” business.
“For me personally, it was always a woman-on-woman thing,” Beadle said. “Could we just be more cliche? That is just a played-out lame thing people assume, and for it to actually come to fruition is just a disappointment.
“I had a job that was wanted by people. I get it. I wanted it too. It was a great job. In the game of trying to get that job, I learned that people were willing to do things that I just wasn’t gonna do. I wasn’t gonna play games with the media. I wasn’t gonna spread lies.”
After Beadle left ESPN in 2019, she was replaced on “NBA Countdown” by a combination of Nichols and Maria Taylor. Later, Nichols was heard on a surreptitiously recorded phone call griping that she had been passed over as host of the NBA Finals for Taylor, who is black, in ESPN’s quest to catch up in diversity. The phone call leaked to the New York Times. ESPN cut ties with Nichols and Taylor left the company.
On July 5, the day after the Nichols phone call ran in the New York Times, Beadle tweeted a “Goodfellas” gif implying schadenfreude with the circumstances.
Prior to Beadle, Sage Steele was the host of “NBA Countdown.” The duties eventually got split between Steele and Beadle, and then given to Beadle full-time.
On the podcast, Strauss, part-jokingly and part-serious, hypothesized that Beadle’s spoof of a James Nike commercial that Beadle did on “SportsNation” might have been what permanently tarnished the relationship.
Given it’s unlikely well ever get clarity from James on why he sought to have Beadle removed from her perch at ESPN, it will remain an enduring mystery as to exactly what Beadle said to draw the ire of the basketball great.
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