Friday, Apr 27, 2018
One of America's Great Newspapers ~ Toledo, Ohio


James will have to be careful of new associates

A word to the wise, LeBron James.

Don't forget your Akron roots.

And certainly don't forget where you came from, but school is out.

You're in the big time now.

It's what you've waited for your entire life: playing basketball for a living.

Oh, to be rich and famous and still 18.

James has everything anyone could want, but probably most of us will never have.

Everyone James meets from now on will either be looking for a no-interest loan or a handout, offering an investment tip or a business proposition, or just seeking the opportunity to rub shoulders with someone rich and famous.

Why James and his “people” wound up with egg on their faces in the story regarding an Akron businessman going public about a $100,000 loan made to James' father figure so LeBron could buy a $56,000 Hummer while he was still in high school, I'll never understand.

No matter what, James comes out looking bad, because the athlete considered to be the NBA's new Mr. Mass Appeal shouldn't be involved in penny-ante stuff like this.

Eddie Jackson, who once dated James' mother and was considered by James to be a father figure, procured the loan to buy LeBron and Gloria James each a car and to allow Jackson to travel and speak to shoe companies on LeBron's behalf.

Jackson, who's currently serving a three-year sentence for mortgage and mail fraud at a federal prison, got the loan with the understanding the money would have to be paid back by June 1.

But Jackson doesn't have a $90 million contract from Nike and his Cleveland Cavaliers' jersey hanging in stores all over the country.

Instead, we have Joe Marsh putting LeBron's personal business out in the street, telling Cleveland's daily newspaper that James reneged on a loan.

Depending on whom you believe, James offered to pay back the loan, with interest, until Marsh demanded an additional financial settlement.

Marsh said he plans to file a lawsuit.

Marsh didn't fabricate a story to extort money from James. James, with Jackson as his emissary, approached Marsh for money.

James wanted a Hummer.

He couldn't wait until after high school, when he could have purchased any vehicle in the world on his own.

He made an adult decision, so he should act like an adult and pay what he owes. No questions asked.

People can say I'm not giving James the benefit of the doubt, that he's just a kid caught in the crossfire between bickering adults. The Blade doesn't pay me to give James the benefit of the doubt, just my opinion.

Bottom line: James did business with someone who didn't have his best interests at heart.

The moral of the story:

Choose your friends and business associates carefully.

James can't pick his family, but he can pick his friends and those who claim him.

Jealousy is a funny thing.

It can turn friends into enemies, and enemies into friends.

James, the NBA multimillionaire, will have to be smart enough to tell the difference.

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