Let’s face it, LeBron James is having a rough go of it lately with the Lakers. He came back from a two-week absence while he rested a strained abdominal muscle, only to have his team drubbed by the Celtics in his return. That was followed up by the fisticuffs in Detroit, for which James was suspended by the NBA for a game.
Perhaps there is some bad karma there. That might be the theory, at least, of one former ESPN host who made a strong claim about James last week. Michelle Beadle, who was the host of the network’s NBA Countdown show until departing with a buyout in 2019, claimed in a podcast conversation with Celtics Hall of Famer Paul Pierce that James tried to have her fired.
Beadle now has a new podcast with The Athletic.
“He did try, yup,” Beadle told Pierce when he mentioned a rumor that James tried to have her fired. “He did try to do that. I was like, ‘Wow, I’m honored that I’m even on your mind. Thank you very much, sir. That’s a weird place for me to be.’”
Beadle Thinks Her ‘Decision’ Jokes Rankled James
Pierce, who has taken some public shots at James in the past and was a great rival to him on the court while James was in Cleveland and Miami, pointed out that he has nothing personal against James.
“I don’t have no personal stuff with him,” Pierce said.
Beadle is in a different position, though, and speculated that James did not care for her poking fun at ‘The Decision,’ the TV show ESPN aired to give James a place to announce he was leaving Cleveland for Miami.
“So, my stuff with him started out not personal,” she said. “I made fun of ‘The Decision’ like 400,000 other talking heads did at the time, and I think for some reason, that was it. So, it wasn’t personal to begin with it. It’s obviously, now it will always be personal. But it is what it is. But I am very comfortable with not liking people.”
Pierce Claims Most Focus on the Negative Things He Says About LeBron
Beadle also asked Pierce for his real feelings about James and why there is the impression that Pierce has some kind of vendetta against him. Pierce did, last year, leave James out of his Top 5 in NBA history, but he pointed out, he has also called James No. 2 all-time. So his history of talking about James is mixed.
“I have been open about, I know LeBron doesn’t like me and I don’t care for him and that’s fine, it is what it is,” Beadle said. “But when people say that you hate LeBron or don’t like him, they try to pretend that you’re jealous or what, what is the angle of that?”
People just hear the some of the negative things I have said about LeBron, but they don’t hear the positive things I say about LeBron because, you know, negativity sticks. Negativity always going to stick. I already said he’s second behind Jordan but people don’t hear that.
They look at the battles we had, so what? Am I supposed to like a guy—no, I didn’t like nobody on the court. Do I respect him? Of course, I respect what he’s done for the game, the longevity he has been able to provide and the shows he’s been able to give us, the spectacular athleticism over the years, of course I respect that and I honor that.