Saturday, April 18, 2009

King James

Watching the NBA playoffs is not my favorite way to spend a sunny Saturday afternoon. For TBG, though, watching LeBron lead Cleveland is just this side of heaven. (Heaven was watching Michael Jordan 6-peat.)

It's hard to remember that LeBron is the same age as the Little Cuter. He's a big man playing a big man's game, and he's playing with authority. The high school phenom turned Rookie of the Year. The man who has all of Cleveland "Believe"-ing. A real reason (beyond fabulous greek restaurants) to live by the shores of Lake Erie. And yet, he's still so young.

He's been drawing a paycheck since he was 18 years old. This wasn't a paycheck most high school grads receive - this was serious money.

Whole organizations were devoted to his interests. Paul Silas was hired to nurture him. Nike paid him $90,000,000 to be a human hanger and a shoe model.

And he was just a kid.

Last summer, LeBron played for Mike Krzyzewski and Team USA. This season he's playing defense like never before, and leading the Cav's to a first round victory over Detroit as I type. Does anyone else see a connection? Seems like LeBron went to college last summer.

Perhaps it was playing on an international stage. Perhaps it was representing the United States of America. Perhaps it was just natural maturation. Perhaps. Perhaps it was a set of intangibles surrounding the college experience and those who, like Coach K, live their lives surrounded by those intangibles.

No question that Coach K is a really good college coach. He's a teacher, a motivator, a game coach, a leader. The players he coaches are college students who don't earn more than he does. And those players graduate.

No question that LeBron is a really good basketball player, either. I just wonder if there's not something about college that's rubbed off on him.





*For a concise history of this topic try : http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/columns/story?columnist=adande_ja&page=highschoolers-090416


Hoya Saxa!

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