Lebron James is barely 18 and has already been compared to Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan.
The 6’7″ high school senior from Akron, Ohio is the No. 1 high school player in the country. Shoe companies like Nike and Adidas, the NBA, and the sports media have courted him for years.
James considered declaring for the NBA draft when he was only 16-years-old. NBA rules state a player must wait for his class to graduate and be at least 18-years-old to be drafted.
Some people hoped James would have challenged that rule. Had he done so, James would have become a glorified high school dropout. He later made the decision to finish high school.
At this point, James’s options are pretty predictable. No one expects him to go to college. He will go No. 1 in the NBA draft, and sign a shoe deal worth more than $25 million with either Nike or Adidas.
Lately Lebron James has been driving around in a customized Hummer H2 worth about $50,000 months before graduating high school. The car is said to be a birthday gift to James from his mother, Gloria.
The family’s financial hardship has been well documented. There is no way James’ mother could make such a purchase without taking out a loan on his future earnings. Another possibility is she received the car as a gift.
Either way, the Ohio High School Athletic Association is investigating. If the car was a gift, James forfeits his amateur status. Saint Vincent-Saint Mary High forfeits all the games he played in from the time he received the car.
Maybe Lebron James and his Family feel they don’t owe his high school anything. Since James has no plans to play college ball, he’ll walk away unscathed.
Talk about the need to delay gratification. If James’ mother got him the Hummer in a few months, the car would be a non-issue.
It is hoped the next financial decision Gloria James makes for her son comes in the form of investments.
No athlete is worth much injured.
Augustine Rho for the Editorial Board.