HURLBURT FIELD, October 1 – LeBron James and his manager claim that race played a role in negative news coverage of his decision to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat in July.James, the two-time reigning NBA Most Valuable Player, and manager Maverick Carter told CNN that they felt the fact James is black played a part in criticism of "The Decision", an ESPN special where he revealed his choice.
"I think so at times," James said when asked if race played a role. "It’s always, you know, a race factor."
The much-maligned television show raised three million dollars for the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and James said that despite much reaction the TV show was over-the-top, he would do it again to raise money for a youth charity.
Asked about the race topic after his workout Thursday with the Heat at a US Air Force base, James repeated his feelings.
"I think people are looking too far into it," James said. "At the same time, sometimes it does play a part in it. But I’ve said what I had to say, and I’ll continue to move on."
Carter agreed with his superstar client’s position.
"It definitely played a role in some of the stuff coming out of the media, things that were written for sure," Carter said.
"It’s just about control and not doing it the way it’s always been done or not looking the way that it always looks."
Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert called James narcissistic and cowardly just hours after the special aired.
Fans began burning Cavaliers jerseys bearing James’s name and a baseball spectator in Cleveland wearing a Heat jersey with James’s name on the back was so badly heckled that he had to be escorted away under police protection.