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LeBron James in Miami (Nba Decision 2010)

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Uploaded on Jul 9, 2010

In a made-for-TV event, LeBron shares an awkward goodbye

Posted Jul 9 2010 2:11AM

GREENWICH, Conn. -- If it's a book or an article and you want to find the deeper meaning within, the subtext behind the words, you read between the lines. If it's live television, with its cameras, red lights and "30 seconds -- quiet on the set!" commands, you focus on those moments of truth that peek out during commercial breaks. When the cameras blink.

That was when the relentless cynicism of what LeBron James had just announced, and how he was going about it, revealed itself in full.

Dozens of kids were seated just -- so on two sets of metal bleachers, positioned as backdrop for James' multi-million dollar announcement Thursday that he would spend his next five NBA seasons with the Miami Heat. The "studio" was, in fact, the gymnasium of the Boys & Girls Club in this upscale community 30 miles north of New York City. Back in Cleveland, where James spent his first seven seasons as the sort of hometown hero (he's from Akron) professional sports rarely see, he and his youngest fans would have filled such a room with warmth and love.

Here, the kids were props, LeBron fans for a night thanks to his odd selection of their club as his platform. Given strict instructions to hush during the important yakking between the suddenly former Cavaliers star and handpicked interviewer Jim Gray, the Greenwich kids looked to be having as much fun as Joan Crawford's offspring at Thanksgiving dinner.

They had to sit quietly when the cameras rolled. And when the cameras were off, they got to watch James sit quietly. Seriously. Awkwardly. Grimly.

Here he had just announced the decision that was going to define him and his dream for seasons to come, a dream that he had seeded and nurtured since the last time he, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh signed their synchronized contracts, and James looked glum. He took a swig of Vitaminwater, the product so strategically placed during James' and ESPN's co-production, "The Decision." He fidgeted with his ear piece. He stared around and through Gray.

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