Jim Gray Says He Was Not Paid for LeBron Interview
(Ed. Note, July 12, 2010: It was originally reported by CNBC and later by Bloomberg that Jim Gray would be reimbursed for his expenses and receive an additional payment for his work on ESPN's LeBron James special last Thursday night. Now, CNBC is being told by its primary source and by Gray that the two payments are one and the same and he is only being compensated for his expenses).
Reporter Jim Gray told CNBC on Friday evening that he did not and will not receive any renumeration, beyond normal expenses, for his involvement in helping produce and report on Thursday night's LeBron James' free agent decision exclusive on ESPN.
"I am not receiving a single penny from LeBron or any entity involved with LeBron," Gray told CNBC. "I will receive a small stipend to take care of expenses. But I'm not making money off this."
Earlier in the day, CNBC was informed by a high-level source with intimate knowledge of Gray's arrangement with LRMR, James' marketing agency and William Morris Endeavor, that he would be paid a stipend, beyond expenses, by the group for his work. (See original story here)
ESPN acknowledged to CNBC that it did not give any money to Gray, who is now a freelance reporter and was pitched by LRMR and WME as James' preferred interviewer, other than to pay for his travel expenses.
When asked for clarity on the stipend Gray will eventually receive, an executive who was part of the production team, said Gray would receive "less than $1,000."
ESPN spokesman Mike Soltys told CNBC that the network was not aware of Gray's arrangement with WME or LRMR, which said that it would not directly be paying Gray.
"I'm the source," Gray said. "And any suggestion that I made money off this interview or this show is dead wrong."