Meet the reporter who's covered LeBron James since he was a high school player - Poynter
Brian Windhorst has been covering LeBron James since the . the Cleveland Scene editor who struck up a relationship with Windhorst when. Or does Brian just think that they're friends when in actuality they only As he rose up from his locker just now, LeBron James spotted the He is his mouthpiece and to be that, you need to have a working relationship lol. Brian Windhorst goes so far back with LeBron James, he actually had to beg his editor at the Akron Beacon Journal to report on his games. He has covered James’ journey at all his various stops: Cleveland, Miami and back again in Cleveland. Now an NBA reporter for ESPN, Windhorst.
Back when Woj was working for Yahoo, I would work heavily with Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne and maybe over the course of a transaction season, I would report five signings and three trades or whatever, something like that. I was always running farther back in the standings. So I was never going to be that type of reporter. Going from beat writer to TV personality, for lack of a better word, how has that changed the way you cover the league?
But the NBA has a fanbase that really embraces complexity. Like one of the things that has been happening this week is that people are trying to analyze these Laker moves post-LeBron.
I think you were the first to report out that that little one sentence that Klutch [the agency representing James] sent out was going to be all the people were going to get for a month. I wonder if you have any thoughts or knowledge about why they went that route, because I know the way that LeBron has announced this stuff has been so carefully crafted in the past.
They sort of set the market. It was going to happen no matter what. But the reality was that these essays that came out came out after his Sports Illustrated essay. He sort of set the market. And what they have seen is, for lack of a better way to put it, a bastardization of what they created, and I think they wanted to swing the other direction and just go very simplistic. Now everybody is doing a mix of heartfelt and elaborate. Because I assume he has so many more people surrounding him than he did.
So for a long time he was very difficult, very unapproachable. So the beat writers who have covered him the last couple years in Cleveland enjoy a relationship on a day-to-day basis that I never had with him. Those guys, while they are very good, they are the beneficiaries of LeBron spending 10 to 12 years learning and evolving his media strategy.
So I am not anywhere near as close to LeBron now as I was five years ago. What is your relationship with him like now?
I can go up and ask him stuff if I want. I do a handful of LeBron-centric bigger pieces during the year. But I only do five, eight of those a year. Back when I was a beat writer, I was writing about him virtually every day. I know that for a while, you were worried or you said you wanted to divide yourself from him a bit because obviously you guys have been so closely connected for 20 years now.
All right I am done with LeBron every day now; I am going and moving on. I wanted to generally move away from that just to expand my horizons. But I want to be clear: A big part of my job is to continue to write those pieces and to continue to offer insight into him and that will remain the case for the rest of his career.
Have you guys ever talked about the parallels in your lives? Not for a long time. When we were in Miami, a little bit.
I guess that was the most obvious moment. See, the first year in Miami, he and I were both miserable. The first year in Miami, he and I were both miserable. Windhorst on James and him Why? He and I had never lived outside Ohio before, and it was completely different, it was completely different circumstances. But he had his two sons and his girlfriend who he left back there.
And he talked about not being happy down there the first year. I had to have security the first game back, yeah. You had to have security?
But he insulted me. What was the anger about? That you were moving on to greener pastures? I think it was a couple of things.
How LeBron James and Dwyane Wade's friendship has survived
I think one, ESPN announced the move kind of splashily with The Heat Index, and they announced it in October and so a period of time had passed, and it just reignited a small section of the fanbase. I mean I want to be clear here: It was not comparable to what LeBron felt.
However, it was affecting my movements and daily life in Cleveland for the days before I physically left, and it also was affecting my family. I shut down my Facebook page, and I have not been on Facebook since. I want to be clear here: However, it was affecting my movements and daily life.
Windhorst on life immediately after "The Decision" But I have not had a Facebook page since because what was happening was people were able to target my family, and also my family was able to see what people were saying to me. So Facebook is not a part of my life because of that.
I think the fanbase reacted because it was a way to lash out at LeBron. I was way more accessible.
Brian Windhorst Knows More Than He Can Say On TV
The media sits in the middle of the fans. Yeah, and the irony about it was, while it was great professionally, I was miserable there [in Miami]. But you weren't sure exactly how he felt because he wouldn't tell you.
Then one morning, he calls and tells you the partnership is over. Immediately, as in that hour. Your successful business is wrecked in an instant. And later you find out he had told other people, people he didn't even know as well as you, about his decision before he told you.
LeBron James Dwyane Wade friendship
Editor's Picks LeBron readies for final matchup with D-Wade Asked why his bond with Dwyane Wade has stood the test of time, LeBron James said, "Some things you just can't explain, and that's why we have our brotherhood.
What would happen to this relationship? Would it hold but be damaged forever? What are the chances the bond would actually grow stronger and tighter? Granted, it's hard to frame the experiences and situations NBA superstars face and compare them to anything else. Yet even when looked at through the lens of the NBA experience, what Wade and James have gone through together is unique.
Monday night in Los Angeles, James and Wade will play against each other a final time. It caps a winding, complicated and wonderful 16 years together that saw them team up and break up twice, win titles twice, bitterly lose a gold medal and gloriously win a gold medal. But perhaps the greatest accomplishment is that, after those 16 years, Wade's retirement tour -- deemed "one last dance" -- can include another happy spin around the floor with his most famous dancing partner.
The Wade-James relationship easily could've been badly damaged inwhen James elected to leave the Miami Heat and undid the partnership the two formed four years earlier. Wade, without knowing what James was going to do, opted out of his contract with some belief that his partnership with James would continue and they would both sign rich, long-term deals in Miami.
Had James done things differently, Wade could've just stayed in his deal or gotten an extension that could've benefited him significantly.
Only James privately knows how much, if at all, Wade's injury history factored into his choice to return to Cleveland to join a younger and healthier team. James has said several times the choice wasn't about personnel on either team but about a desire to return home. Of course, there's way more to the story. Wade helped recruit James and Chris Bosh to Miami in and then took less money than the other two to help the Heat afford to add role players.
But James played the worst playoff series of his career, dragging Wade down and perhaps costing the Heat the title. James' eight-point Game 4 stands as maybe the worst night of his career. In a stat that is forgotten but telling, James actually ranked third on his own team in scoring during that Finals.
Despite that major letdown, Wade's response wasn't frustration or resentment, but instead humility. The next season, he encouraged James to step forward and become the Heat's leader and to control the team, something Wade by all rights as a former champion could've commanded himself. James was the better player -- it was the right decision -- but it was anything but easy.
When Wade started suffering knee issues, James returned some of the favor by carrying the Heat to a fourth straight Finals in his last year in Miami. But even after being left behind by James, and dealing with the fallout both personally and professionally as a result of his decision, Wade showed nothing but support for his friend. In the months after James' return to Cleveland, Wade called on Heat fans to honor James and not boo him when James came back to play in Miami.