December 12, 2002

Is LeBron James doomed to fail?: I think it's kind of ridiculous for a high school basketball player to be featured on national television, with the sort of hype he's generating. What next - televised one on one from the playground of St. Francis Pre-School?

posted by owillis to basketball at 11:10 PM - 9 comments

He'll be fine, once all this high school nonsense is out of the way. His coaches, teachers, friends, and parents are all living on the LeBron dollar right now, so as soon as his distances himself from that, he'll be okay. The funny thing was I was reading an article about him this morning, and Jerry Krause said that he didn't want to be in a position to take him, and that he wouldn't want him. Is Krause really that insane or is he just blowing smoke. It's hard to bluff on a kid that is going to go #1 no matter what.

posted by corpse at 09:05 AM on December 13, 2002

I wanted to watch the guy play, but televising a prospect like LeBron is NOT the same thing as televising actual teenage champions like Sara Hughes or Serena Williams, as people would have you believe. (The other difference between the other athletes LeBron's age is that they're getting paid -- or getting paid above-board -- which makes "exploitation" a more legitimate concern with him than your typical tennis star.) That said, it's probably ridiculous to overhype any athlete not playing at the highest level of his or her sport, but it doesn't stop the networks from anointing guys in college football and basketball (men's and women's) who can't play (see: Rebecca Lobo) and coaches who probably can't coach (see: John Calipari). In fact, Dick Vitale's purpose seemed to be to go on a soapbox about the glories of college hoops and how the NBA should have an age limit. Of course, there's no conflict of interest from him -- without players to hype, he's pretty much loses his relevance. As far as LeBron being doomed to fail, he gets the benefit of the doubt here.

posted by jackhererra at 09:27 AM on December 13, 2002

Isaiah Thomas has jokingly, or not-so-jokingly, suggested that there shouldn't be an age-limit but a talent-limit. His view is that there are prodigies in all sectors of life; geniuses that are gifted and should not be held back. LeBron, in Isaiah's view, is a basketball genius/prodigy. He may not be a genius in other areas of life, but in basketball he is able to compete at a higher level than 99% of kids his age. So Isaiah sees no problem with LeBron entering the pros at 16 or 15, as long as he can genuinely excel at that level.

posted by jacknose at 12:49 PM on December 13, 2002

Hey, how was the Bill Walton/Dick Vitale combo? I can't believe I missed that; it sounded like it had all-time greatest train wreck potential.

posted by Justin Slotman at 01:22 PM on December 13, 2002

My cable was out, so I missed it as well. Walton and Vitale are my two favorite commentators!!

posted by corpse at 01:43 PM on December 13, 2002

I missed it, but there's nothing wrong with watching someone extraoridnary do there thing. Consider how many people read the writing of crappy...

posted by djacobs at 03:23 PM on December 13, 2002

I don't know. I had a friend that played against Kobe Bryant in the famous Myrtle Beach Holiday high school b-ball tournament in 1995. When he returned, he told me about Kobe and to keep an eye out for him b/c he was going to be very very good in the NBA in a few years. It was the next year that Kobe was drafted. My friend told me that there was already a substantial press following Kobe around. It's not quite National Television, but a good player is a good player, and failing a major drug burnout or something, I don't see why this would affect LeBron too much.

posted by Ufez Jones at 03:38 PM on December 13, 2002

Walton and Vitale dispensed the worst beating since the Rodney King riots. I tuned in to watch LeBron James, but gave up after a half. The LeBron hype is a bit ridiculous, but I have less problem with kids turning pro and going for millions than I do high schools and colleges making money off "amateur" student athletes who aren't allowed to profit. Looking at how unselfishly he plays, LeBron seems to have the attitude necessary to succeed in the NBA. His biggest obstacle is going to be the hangers-on with all of their demands, drugs, and trouble. The first person LeBron hires after his multimillion-dollar shoe contract should be an old-school ex-NBAer to mentor him.

posted by rcade at 04:50 PM on December 13, 2002

I don't think you can say that Isaiah is "onto something", but he's right.

posted by jackhererra at 10:37 PM on December 13, 2002

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