Brian Windhorst Still Fighting LeBron Mouthpiece Narrative
Brian Windhorst, the "ubiquitous ESPN basketball writer and television personality," has spent 15 years "dogged by the perception that he is little more than a [LeBron] James mouthpiece with the good fortune to have also been born in Akron," according to a profile by Kevin Draper of the N.Y. TIMES. Windhorst has "covered James for almost two decades, since James was 14." This has led to Windhorst being accused of being a "sycophant who clings to one of the world's most famous athletes." However, Windhorst said that he "left the full-time LeBron beat" in '12, after moving to N.Y. to "cover the entire league while keeping one eye trained on James." Draper notes despite Windhorst wanting to "shake the label of being LeBron's personal reporter," he does not seem to be "trying all that hard." He will write a few "big pieces about James's team each year, and he is writing a book about James's businesses, his fourth book about James." After leaving Miami, Windhorst "became more of a national breaking-news reporter," though he "hated much of it, especially the pressure to break news about draft picks." Lately, he has "chided the sports media for how it reports his words," and has even taken ESPN "to task." Now in his 16th year of covering the NBA, Windhorst has "figured out how to do exactly what he wants." He uses podcasts to "talk about the news he cannot quite break, and rejects broadcast interviews with James because he does not like negotiating conditions with James's handlers" (NYTIMES.com, 11/21).