Lee Jenkins Rumors
Charania, a senior at Loyola University Chicago who turned 22 in April, is one of the most prolific NBA news breakers today. “Every time he breaks a story,” says Sports Illustrated’s Lee Jenkins, “I sit there and look at Twitter and envision him in, like, junior year chemistry, sort of tuning out the professor and getting a text from a major agent about a story that’s going down.”
On Wednesday, Mr. Jenkins traveled to Las Vegas. He met with Mr. James on Thursday night before writing the essay with him. Mr. Jenkins emailed the essay to his editors around mid-morning on Friday. “Everyone reading it was learning the news for the first time,” Mr. Stone said. The magazine, which introduced a top-to-bottom redesign of its website last month, alerted its technology team that a big story would soon publish. That way they’d be prepared for the extra traffic. They weren’t told, however, what the big scoop was about.
Only about six Sports Illustrated staffers saw the piece before it went live, according to Mr. Stone, who had worried it would somehow leak. “I can’t tell you how stressful the last 24 hours were,” he said. “There were a lot of smart, good reporters pursuing this story.” “We’re going to sleep well tonight,” Mr. Fichtenbaum added.
Editors didn’t tell their business-side counterparts about the scoop ahead of time. “The reason we got this story, I think, is because Lebron’s team trusted us not to turn it into a circus,” Mr. Stone explained. “So to parlay it into a commercial endeavor ahead of time would have been inappropriate.”