David Stern Reportedly Tried to Stop LeBron James' 'The Decision' from Happening

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistSeptember 14, 2018

GREENWICH, CT - JULY 08:  (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) LeBron James attends the LeBron James Pre Decision Meet and Greet on July 8, 2010 in Greenwich, Connecticut. Proceeds from tonight's 2.5 million dollar event will be donated to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.  (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Estabrook Group)
Larry Busacca/Getty Images

Most everyone, LeBron James included, agrees The Decision was a bad idea. 

What we didn't know—until now—is that the NBA reportedly tried to stop it from happening. Former NBA Commissioner David Stern called the television program "terrible" in Ian Thomsen's book The Soul of Basketball.

"It was terrible," Stern said (h/t ESPN's Zach Lowe). "It was terrible on its own. It is fair to say that we knew it was going to be terrible, and we tried very hard for it not to happen."

It's unclear how Stern went about attempting to prevent The Decision. The televised event raised millions for charity but is widely viewed as the low point of James' career, an act of hubris in which he went on national television and broke up with his hometown franchise to create a superteam in Miami.

"If I had to go back on it, I probably would do it a little bit different," James told reporters in 2010. "But I'm happy with the decision I made. There's always going to be a misunderstanding. I don't know what I would [have done], but I definitely would have changed it."

It's impossible to argue with the results. The Heat went to four straight NBA Finals, winning two, with James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. His move was also the epitome of player power in the NBA, setting the stage for, among other things, Kevin Durant's exit from Oklahoma City to the Golden State Warriors.

James has ultimately learned from his own mistakes. His return to Cleveland came via a Sports Illustrated article, and he left the Cavaliers for the Los Angeles Lakers via a press release in July. 


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