Jason Llyod

The Kent Sterling Show
Friday, December 8th

Jason Lloyd of The Athletic: Cleveland. 

00:15:40

Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

Join that bankers life field house of Jason Lloyd of the athletic. Wrote the blueprint on LeBron James Cleveland's deliverance in the making of the modern NBA before we get into that let's talk a little MBA and cavaliers. What does a light covering perhaps the most interest seeing her second most interesting team in the league Jason. It's something new every day. And I think with the brown it's safe to say. He's probably still the most recognizable athlete in the world certainly top three I think. So that brings its own city unique challenges. But he's fantastic to deal with for those of us were on the team every day we can get meantime we want peace very accessible it's it's rarely heard the guy his stature. To be as open as he is with the media. So that's been wonderful. And it's been. It's been arrived these last four years is no doubt about it it's banned from the day it's funny I was in the air in the day he came back. When when the letter drop that you come back to Cleveland I was flying to Vegas for summer league. And when the plane landed like literally you my entire life changed forever admit there. And by the time the plane landed I'd even go back to Heidi good second hotel a mystery to me arena and just aren't working and it's been cut I think it's an oral whenever cents. Because of that because you're real around LeBron all the time you're work is probably consumed a way more than a never was due. Yeah I had its funny you say that because again when I was on the plane by the time the plane landed. Throughout that day I was getting text messages and voicemails from agents who didn't call me for two years ago. No matter how many times I called them and now suddenly. They were very just sitting and talking to me and it's just one of the little side things that I didn't always think it's the circles like yeah we're real the last two years and I was trying to get to vote yes everything changed when LeBron comes. How do you view and LeBron speaks to the media because he's very point eight he knows everyone's listening. And his words carry a whole lot whenever he speaks. Yes he's really good this is he's a leader and he was first time around. He wasn't like the first time round I think Hewitt's. Nervous I think he was he told with a one time he was he was afraid of people wouldn't. Interpret what he's trying to say. And now he's thing care anymore and now he's at Miami delighted for him and a lot of different ways in this one of them. In the way he handles the media in the way he. Gets his point across and he he's he's very necessary in that if he doesn't know a lot about a topic. Then he won't comment on it until he does and when he does things he's not afraid or back. It it's again it's it's. You know I would put him up there. Not to get this off the tracks but when you look at everything he's done this foundation and some lives and exchange in his hometown I would put him up there. With how and Utley in terms of social change and I know that that's kind of ridiculous statement on the surface. We think of every everything out he did that I think queen when you really look at it. You know working a story now about. The people like the moms that are get energy Keyes of think of single parent kids. And they never thought to have much flight before and he's given them the opportunity to go back to school and get through ged get better jobs and he's provided its college scholarships for kids who go through his program. They maintain certain GPA reitsma requirements their shirt having a four year college degree. Like the things he's doing athletes you just don't see not athletes these days and it's it's remarkable that he's literally changing people's lives have you east. He's seen it tangible benefit from Hammond actor Brandon. In this city and how he's been able to impact it's zero for Akron Beacon Journal and I got to believe especially over the last decade you're able to see those benefits right away. Yeah absolutely and you know it again goes back to his I promise program with the kids and it's not so much infrastructure it's not so much. Buildings and he's corrected or anything like that but he is billion of bricks and mortar school like that's that's where it says he's building a school for his kids and as I've promised program. He says it's there it's the most important thing he's ever done in his life. So it's it goes it transcends far beyond basketball what what LeBron is providing community in northeast Ohio. You know he he got the championship that the whole reason why wanna come back to a championship he did that. But beyond that go far more important masters of the of the way he's changing and impacting people's lives. He's taking kids who may not have a shot to go to college him for your degree if they put in the work. That's one of the things that they you know it's one of those famous lines from. His Letterman returned is nothing is given never concerned. And and that's what he's doing now and that's what he's showing these kids he's he's he's providing them with counselors. And with. Advisors in people who can help them at their school work and tutors who can help them get the grades and they put in the work and put in the effort. They'll see the rewards long term and kids who would not have no shot go to college four degree forms. Last thing as a relates to LeBron I'm curious being a reporter covering him every day and now you're a little bit differently with the athletic he can take more time with your stories. But knowing the impact that he has how do you evaluate writing some kind of sides or say I'm Kyle Korver was discussed that you ground verses. Whenever LeBron talk you have to write some story about whenever he commented on yeah I can do. Moved away from that in the way that we kind of view things we can excuse me at the athletic now are. Don't write what people can get for free because they can get for free our foreign policy the Netflix subscription based site I personally believe. Again not to go off the rails I think we're all moving this way eventually in the media. In terms of some sort of pay a site. But you know so I've kind of backed away at times from abroad stuff because there's so much LeBron out there. That you know I won't necessarily right to LeBron news item of the day just because it's going to be in fifty different places for free why but it waste my time with that. So it's tricky being able to maintain the relationship with them without. Writing about him every single day but I've I've taken it kind of pick and choose my spots with them it's something about a week or so go on Dwyane. Go into eventual. And the browns fantastic talking about that and you know talking about who's you know he wasn't welcome in the locker room so. When you pick your spots with LeBron and any use the very best of what he says I think from making even greater impact when you do. Thought here Jason Lloyd of the blueprint and also on the athletic. That's switched to move from Akron Beacon Journal to the athletic how difficult of a decision was that Korean. How much better do you like it not having those deadlines and can really spend the time to invest in each story. Yes this the best I've ever had. I have loved working there and I mean I'll try and boil down what could be a week's worth of talking down to thirty seconds. I didn't think I was gonna take the job I wasn't gonna meet with them. And we were driving back last year in January from Sacramento to San Francisco's German bread winners and some bon Temps. And we got back the hotel San Francisco after the cast with the kings get ready for the cavs warriors game last year and I'm OK today. I'd mention it Brian something about you know there's this place the athletic they like talkative and on and talked on. And Brian was incredulous that we've been in the car for an hour and fifteen minutes you expect now to bring us up. You send me if I'm just meet with them what's occurred just just go ahead knew them. So I know them and I told Adam has been one of the founders asset value of fifteen minutes of the Starbucks around the corner where the cast practiced in two and a half hours later we're still sitting in Starbucks talking. And our desert knowing Australians take this job it's it's remaking the the industry bit. In terms of like it's it's a pace site. It's it's it's everyone thinks it's funny deserve when things are not to pay for opinion why why would I pay for your opinion it's not that it's I'm sure there are there are opinion pieces and there's. Collins analysis but it's it's just deep dive issues on and on the NBA the NFL college basketball baseball whatever the sport it's taken a deeper look at things it's not just hot takes its not just guys spewing opinions. We're here every day were with the teams every single day. And so we're around these guys it's it's it's educated. Analysis I guess. And you know who knows and hopefully soon we can bring it Indianapolis we'll see. And that's part of that I've seen many of the writers including yourself transition the post game stories I mean. Who cares about that twenty to two run typically in the second quarter Seattle running thoughts are final thoughts as they're called and I've even done that myself after games and I think that's. We more enjoyable for the fans and more thought out. Yes funny the final thoughts here has agreed to come from how to start and it was very organic. And I had no idea that it was gonna become a sparklers it did. It was actually when the browns in Miami when the caps are awful I governor pre season game and I wrote the story and I had also left over information about like. Roster decisions and to some. Bits and pieces are there really fit anywhere else or just dumps on the post online and reflect well actually Greta what you do that more often. And from that just sort of evolved in this thing. Now after every game this final cost column and can be a little bit of opinion can be a little bit statistics it could be. Kabul video clips can be really anything that applied to that day. And it really took off. They became really popular now all of a lot of people at the F but it could sort of model that and I think it's a great way to sum up like you said it doesn't really matter so much that. The brown scored thirty points are scored ten in a row he can find that anywhere but it's gonna look deeper than that I think readers to a guy. Zero but get recently published. I wanna talk about the process because that's a fascinating thing to me first of all how did it come about was he your decision or he pitched by agents and both companies trying to get some kind of LeBron story out there. Yes that's exactly how one actually so I was on vacation canceled championship in June 16. And by the time we stop working it was really like the last couple days of July about time we were dying and could put seasonal way. And I was on vacation on the East Coast of my family and my agent email we sure as my agents at times she emailed me and say hey. I just want gauge your interest in red no brown book and cats and championship and and I said well it's funny you mention that because I am the only person who has covered this team Holman road since. The ground came back here since he left the first I'm sorry since he left. I'm joined one I've got the whole story like I know it's and it's looked like the cast had this plan in place that they wanted to bring the Brownback. When he could be a free agent but. You're not you don't see the whole picture at at the time it's after the fact where you can see where the bread crumbs were leading. And as the years went you know I can sometimes see the picture what was happening here. But then once they win the championship then when you can look back into the hole eighteen then you can write that story that I couldn't break prior to. And I told him I want it hasn't so she said let's do this so long long long story short. I went where I want to workers who like him back from vacation I spent the whole month of September 22016. Right in what's called proposal. It's about 151000 or proposals about 14 to 15 of the book it's a good chunk of the book. So early it gives publishers and editors a good idea of what the public of peace would be. And we sent that out to a bunch of different publishing houses. And penguin random house loved it. Signed a deal with them and got to work right and it. And it. You know it's hard enough writing current TV two games throughout the season 41 games on the road that we drop writing a book on top of it last year is. The killer it was it was a lot of work his populous it was a big undertaking a metric there are another one while traveling a full time wanna beat again. I skipped all star weekend to finish it. I there's that it may still not be done if Freddie if I went to Austin we can and at depth that we was huge and being able to crank up four chapters so help put a bow on it. We each week cram all of last season in two. The into the book. And wrote that over the summer after the season ended finish it up for good in July and it bookstores and of October. Jason Lloyd the author of the blueprint and also of the athletic how much time did you have to take away from that the daily B units in the all star weekend and everything else and what was it like getting the Akron Beacon Journal back then OK with that. Yeah they argued that there there are great and you know the people at the beacon or wonderful I got I have no complaints I never want to leave bruises. That opportunity yet but it was too too good to pass up. So that's why had to make that decision but they're wonderful with a the problem was finding time at home to write with the wife and three kids at home. And as much as were gone when we're home it's hard to say OK I'm gonna go lock myself in the office now for three hours. I know you haven't seen before days that I gotta go work again. So do us all it was a lottery and on the road I do a lot of hotel writing. Late at night. Middle of the day when we're when we're traveling I pulled a couple all nighter at home after the kids to bed. It's our right 9 at 10 o'clock at night and writes a six or 7 in the morning. This couple hours and then get right back to work so. It was hard like you said it was. As a process man it was it was a wonderful experience I'm thrilled I had the opportunity to do it it's Ben you know when I am from northeast Ohio. And when you are from northeast Ohio and you've seen the impact that it championship has on the region that has gone so long without. And to be able to chronicle it to be able to stand the visiting locker room. With champagne on issues and know what it means to so many people. It was it was a humbling honor to be able to not only. Either for the championship season that then to have the opportunity to document it in a book it's it's something I don't think program. Beyond finding that time to set aside it was and perhaps the most difficult point finding unique stories because of how well covered. This casting and LeBron is. Yes and just went 47 news cycle it's hard to pay uncovered new material and be be able to sit on it for eight months until the book comes out. There is a lot of stuff that I didn't report at the time for a variety of reasons. Some of that may be was off the record at the time because it was sensitive nature whereas a couple of years later you can use that so there are some of that. There is some good you know I thought some good carry anecdotes between Carrie and Mike brown and why that didn't work first time around. Want to David Griffin talked to Griffin former cavs GM. Obviously everyone talks about Anthony Bennett the debacle depicted that was. And Griff was very honest in assessing that draft and how AB became the number one pick in the draft. Probably will go down as the worse number one pick in the history of the draft. So there was there was a lot of information is that like I said I was the only ones and not you were paying attention to this team the four years he was in Miami because they were the worst team in the league. Cumulative record there were the worst team in the NBA those four years he was gone so no one is really paying attention to. But there is still a lot going on. Behind the scenes in terms of protecting salary cap space trying to it acquired. Trade assets to use in the event that he did come back. To sort of flip this thing over and turn it over. You know there is lot of people fired a long way Byron Scott was fired Mike Brown's fired Chris Graham was fired general manager so a lot of people they made a lot of mistakes along the way and yet they still pulled it off. So. It was it was hard yet and plus not to mention you know again breadwinners are good friend of mine also wrote a book with David Tennant and came out five months before. So they knew is that the unique thing was. We were able to differentiate. Our story enough from their story their story is really focused on the browns' return to Cleveland and the championship season whereas mine was. The four years he was in Miami the plan to trying get him back how they went about doing its mistakes they made in the being able to pull off. And obviously win the championship. And there's some good David blatt stories in there as well because there's those are just countless. I'm yes. Now the book is a blueprint LeBron James Cleveland's deliverance and the making of the modern NBA the authors Jason Lloyd of the athletic. Appreciate you sitting down any talk a little bit about LeBron the calves and your book the need a Christmas gift they should be on the list for any NBA fan.
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