Former “NBA Countdown” Host Michelle Beadle Believes LeBron James Got Her Fired For Criticism Of “The Decision”

Former “NBA Countdown” host Michelle Beadle is speaking out about the circumstances of her departure from the show, and all roads lead to LeBron James — according to her. Beadle was critical of “The Decision” in 2010 when LeBron James announced his departure from the Cleveland Cavaliers to become a member of the Miami Heat.

Many regard it as the beginning of the superteam era as James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh eventually brought South Florida two titles during their four seasons together in Miami. Beadle, who had replaced Sage Steele as the host of “NBA Countdown” on ABC and ESPN was highly critical of James’ move and found out later she would pay the price.

The King’s Revenge

“I found out after (I was fired),” the San Antonio Spurs broadcaster said on the “Awful Announcing” podcast. “In all the chaos that ensued after I left, all this other information started coming out. I kind of got wind of it as I was leaving. And then more stuff came out and I was just like, ‘What a crap show.’

“Yeah, you know, he’s (James) a powerful dude,” Beadle said. “I mean, there’s no getting around that he is an empire and an entity upon himself. All the respect for building such a powerful entity on a name and doing it well. So yeah, people are going to listen.”

Last year, during an episode of “The Sessions with Renée Paquette” podcast, Beadle revealed when James reached out to her directly via DM saying, “I made fun of ‘The Decision,’ and I was one of about a bazillion people that did,” Beadle said.

“It was hilarious, and I remember I got a DM that was like, ‘Why are you so mean to me on television?’ And I just sort of laughed it off. I didn’t even think about it.”

However, James wasn’t laughing.

The Nichols Effect

Beadle felt like fellow ESPN host Rachel Nichols also had a hand in her departure from the show and, eventually, the network. Nichols took over her duties on “NBA Countdown” after announcing her release from the show.

“I mean look, she’s ultimately not that powerful,” Beadle said about Nichols. “But I think some of the narrative that was being allowed to play out specifically in the New York Post at the time. I knew where it was coming from. We all knew where it was coming from.”

In 2019, The New York Post reported that Beadle, former host Jemele Hill, and more were removed with the departure of former ESPN President John Skipper. Incoming President James Pitaro reportedly wanted a “24/7/365 scoopmeister Adrian Wojnarowski,” style of work ethic for the network. However, the Post reported, “Nichols’ work ethic is more Woj than Beadle’s will ever be.”

Beadle saw this as a smear tactic to explain away her firing. She also felt that her replacing Sage Steele earlier was used as a rationale for Nichols replacing her.

“No, and I know that narrative was floated out there too,” Beadle said when asked if she took part in Steele’s replacement. “I didn’t have to. The decisions that were made had been made. I think your work should stand on its own and there shouldn’t be a bunch of backstabbing and stuff that goes on behind it. It’s not a good way to do it.”

Whether LeBron James and Rachel Nichols influenced James Pitaro to replace Beadle, one thing is sure: she lost out on her ideal job.

“It feels filthy, like it feels dirty,” Beadle continued to “Awful Announcing.” “And I loved the job. I loved doing ‘NBA Countdown.’ It was a dream gig.”

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