Sports Views #2
LeBron sucks edition!
5.2.2003 by Big D

Well, if you happened to read my latest show reviews, you may have noticed that I got off on a bit of a tangent about so-called HS basketball "phenom" LeBron James. I also noted that I would write more in-depth about it later, so here goes.

Now, unless you've been living under a rock or something, you've probably heard about some guy named LeBron James. But if you haven't, let me fill you in:

James is a hot-rod basketball player at St. Vincent-St. Mary's HS in Ohio (the specific town escapes me at this point in time). Although he has been the "second coming" for several years now (according to some), he really gained notoriety last year when he wanted to forego his senior year in order to jump to the NBA. Not his senior year of college, mind you-his senior year of HIGH SCHOOL. Give me a break. I mean, that's all well and good, but imagine this: suppose his first game out, and he does something like tear his ACL, MCL, and PCL simultaneously, in such a way that prevents him from playing in the NBA. Ever. Then what? My point exactly.

Fortunately, common sense and rules intervened at that point, and he was "forced" to return for his senior year. Great. So basketball season hits, and now he's got games NATIONWIDE. AND ON NATIONAL TV.

Let's look at these individually:

1. Nationwide games:
This just strikes me as more of a novelty than anything else. I mean, a team from Ohio playing in Westwood, CA? I know that sports and other extra-curriculars take up a lot of a student's free time. And that's just playing against other schools in the same state! I mean, in order to play a game halfway across the country, you'd have to take a MINIMUM of 2 days off from school to make it work. I would have to question why administrators or teachers would be willing to make concessions in academics in order to facilitate these massive trips.

And, on a sidebar, note that ticket prices for these games are 10-15 bucks...Hmmmmm...

2. National TV coverage.
Don't get me wrong. I briefly tuned in to the ESPN2 game in December to see if this was going to live up to the hype. Well, it did, but only to a point. And the fact that they are putting games on regional PPV is questionable as well. I'm not saying the kid can't play, but it just seems like an attempt to cash in on his skills. I'll wait until he hits the NBA before I pass judgement on that.

And let's not forget that around this time, the shoe companies are jockeying for position, and he's also off shooting hoops with Jordan. Concentrate on schoolwork? Makes you wonder. Also note that since he's the "chosen one", he thinks he can choose which NBA team he plays or doesn't play for. Pretty brash for an unproven commodity. And he'll only interview with Deion Sanders? WHO DOES THIS GUY THINK HE IS?! ARRRRGHHHHH!

Now this is where the situation starts to gain its infamy. It's mid-January, and James pulls into the schoolyard in a brand-new Hummer H2, valued from 50-80k, depending on who you ask. This is a problem on a lot of levels.

First off, how is the mother even affording something like this? I've heard that she works very little, if at all. I worked full-time for the last 6 years and probably didn't make enough to pay for something like that in full...hell, I could probably die under the weight of the payments. It's allegedly on the up-and-up, but until I can see some numbers or something, it seems pretty shady. And if she figures she's going to be able to afford this based on his future earnings, that is really troubling.

Besides, why do you need something like that, even when you're 18? WHen I was 18, I drove a 1986 Ford Aerostar. "Shucks, all the peolpe down in Texas drive Lexuses and BMW's et al. Well, Akron, Ohio isn't Texas, and I nkow for a fact that a lot of the parents down there are flat LOADED, so I think there's less of an inherent problem with that. Honestly, since the guy thinks he's a pro already, would it kill him to wait 4 more months to sign a pro contract and buy it then? And, if he's always cris-crossing the country to play his games, and obviously spends the rest of his time studying (more on this in a sec), when would he have time to drive it? Too much, too soon.

*The Jersey(s)*
And no, this isn't about the show on the Disney Channel. Reports surface last week that James has acquired a couple of famous throwback jerseys, those of Wes Unsoeld and Gayle Sayers (retail value approx 850). Now this is where the story picks up. Why it does now, and not when the guy has a closet full of this kind of stuff, and a bunch of expensive shoes, is unknown. But somebody caught wind of this gift-lo and behold, the OHSAA rulebook (and probably about 95% of the country's school athletic boards) prevent players from accepting gifts due to their athletic acumen, for lack of better term. So now James is suspended from basketball for the rest of the year, barring an appeal.

And now it gets hilarious. Here's a clip from his interview with Deion Sanders on February 4...

"It was just me and a bunch of my friends went in there and the guy said, 'You know, I'll give you a couple of jerseys for your reward for being on the honor roll,' right?"

Yeah right. I think he forgot the wink-wink and nudge-nudge part too. How could he honestly think that the reason he got this stuff was because he was a good student? I made the honor roll a bunch of times when I was in HS, and I didn't just walk into a store and have somebody say "here's a bunch of stuff since you're a smart guy". Although that happened in my dreams a few times, and it's a nice thought, it just doesn't work that way. And for James to try and play it off like it does is just lame, ridiculous, and about 50 other words I can't think of. And then he just tries to play the general public like he was in the wrong, and that we should go out of our way to believe him. This whole thing seems pretty fishy if you ask me.

If you think you can stomach it, check out some of the hoopla surrounding this guy. It's too much. But I'll leave the final judgement up to you, although I'll tell you right now, I'm right on this one!

Back with more controversial stuff next time. In the meantime, watch "Around The Horn" on ESPN at 5E/2P and check out Woody Paige. This guy is the man!

This is my old project, THROWDOWN.

A group of friends and I put together this little project in 2003 as an outlet of out collective rage and anger about the subjects that each of us cared about. I was the editor-and-chief and games writer back then.

It was a blast to do and it to be involved in a great collaborative effort using the strengths of my friends was simply amazing. I hope you have fun reading our work as much as we had in creating it.
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