During an ESPYs call on Friday, TheWrap asked executive producer Maura Mandt if the so-called Worldwide Leader in Sports actively pursued James to announce his return to the Cleveland Cavaliers at Wednesday’s awards show.
“No, there was not an attempt to have that be there,” Mandt told TheWrap. “And with ‘The Decision,’ it wasn’t something we were looking to have that announcement be on the ESPYS. Certainly, if LeBron wanted to announce on the ESPYS, I would have happily had him there.”
Mandt did promise that the show would touch on the big news though, even on short notice. “We’re going to be reflecting on the year, and LeBron is something that happened, so it will definitely be something that we’ll address in the show,” she said. “But just like in sports, we don’t try to make that news happen. It unfolds.”
On Friday, James penned an essay posted to SI.com with magazine journalist Lee Jenkins. After four seasons and two championships with the Miami Heat, James is returning to his hometown Cavaliers, who drafted him No. 1 overall in 2003.
The 22nd annual ESPY Awards will be televised live on Wednesday, July 16 at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN.