ESPN host's staggering claim about LeBron James after losing job

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·Sports Reporter
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LeBron James allegedly influenced ESPN to let go former host Michelle Beadle in favour of his own pick. Pictures: Getty Images/Instagram
LeBron James allegedly influenced ESPN to let go former host Michelle Beadle in favour of his own pick. Pictures: Getty Images/Instagram

A former ESPN host has accused Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James of influencing the network to fire her from a prominent hosting job several years ago.

Michelle Beadle, the former host of ESPN's NBA Countdown program, has been discussing her broadcast career on her podcast, which is hosted by The Athletic.

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The 46-year-old claimed in a recent episode that she had learned of James' role in her demise at the network, which was ostensibly to have longtime collaborator Rachel Nichols promoted at ESPN.

Speaking with NBA writer Ethan Strauss on his House of Strauss podcast, Beadle described the shock of learning one of the world's most prominent sports stars wanted her out of her job.

Beadle ultimately left ESPN in 2019, with Nichols taking over as host of NBA Countdown soon afterwards.

Nichols hosted the show in conjunction with Maria Taylor, however Nichols would leave the network herself in 2021 after a recording in which she speculated Taylor was given the assignment of hosting the 2021 NBA Finals because ESPN was seeking to improve its record on diversity on air.

“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 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 (James' business associate and close friend) Maverick Carter. He refuses to shake my hand.” 

Beadle said the broadcast media world was a 'cutthroat' business, expressing disappointment that she was pitted against another woman in Nichols for the hosting job.

She told Strauss there was plenty of 'garbage' going on when the studio lights went out.

“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.”

LeBron James explains anger over NBA Covid-19 protocols

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James isn't happy with the way the NBA handled his positive COVID-19 test

James returned to action last week after it was determined he experienced a false positive. James discussed going through the NBA protocols, and revealed the part that angered him.

"I tested negative first. And then my second test came back positive. Usually when you have a positive test, they will test you right away to make sure," James said. 

"There was not a follow-up test after my test. It was straight isolation, and 'you've been placed in protocol.' And that's the part that kind of angered me.

LeBron James has discussed his frustrations with the NBA's Covid-19 protocols after he recently returned a false positive test. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)
LeBron James has discussed his frustrations with the NBA's Covid-19 protocols after he recently returned a false positive test. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

"I had to figure out a way to get home from Sacramento by myself. They wouldn't allow anyone to travel with me, no security, no anything, when I traveled back from Sacramento. 

"I had to put my kids in isolation for the time being, put the people in my household in isolation for the time being, so it was a big-time inconvenience."

James' positive test later in November, making him unable to play in the team's game against the Sacramento Kings.

Three days later, James was released from NBA health and safety protocols after testing negative twice in a 24-hour period.

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