Sunday, Apr 22, 2018
One of America's Great Newspapers ~ Toledo, Ohio

Rose Russell

LeBron James? Enough, already!

I'm about OD'd on L.J.

I'm so weary of hearing his name that I don't want to write it here.

You know who I'm talking about.

Yeah. Him. OK: (LeBron James.)

America's newest icon is phenomenal, all right. Good for him.

Another youngster of meager beginnings is headed for the big bucks and more fame.

I hope he invests his money well.

But gee whiz. He's only 18. Just turned 18 when he got the big H.

You know. The H2. Customized with three televisions and “King James” stitched into the leather seats and all.

That's heady stuff for any 18-year-old, never mind his or her race or class.

Of course, one day the Hummer will probably be parked in the back of James' garage, if he keeps it. If he does, it will likely be among the lesser sets of wheels in his fleet of vehicles.

That's providing he signs a multimillion-dollar NBA contract as everybody expects that he will.

So because I know you're likely worn out from all the L.J. stories, too, I won't debate the issue of the $845 throwback sports jerseys, the Ohio High School Athletic Association commissioner's decision to rule him ineligible because of the jerseys, or the Summit County judge's move to reinstate James.

Naaah. You've heard enough about that stuff, too.

And neither will I wax on about how the young man's high school, St. Vincent-St. Mary in Akron, makes good money because of him, or that the school's basketball coaches and team have likewise enjoyed the limelight of because sports fans want to see the 6-foot-8-inch L.J. play ball.

Naaah. That would be petty.

Yet this isn't even the beginning of LeBron James' career. Providing he signs an NBA contract for millions before he proves himself on the professional court, there will be a glut of media coverage about the wonder from Akron.

Say it isn't fair? So what.

Neither is life sometimes.

Lots of other kids have had their names in bright lights, and they too have made boatloads of money exhibiting other various skills.

Yet even I admit I'm not ready for another L.J. feature.

But the stories will come, and I will likely be among the commentators who state an opinion.

Meanwhile, I hope he keeps his head and invests his money well.

Truth is, all of this could be a set up for his failure if he doesn't keeps his focus. He has good grades, so nobody can say he isn't smart. He is very smart indeed.

But his young admirers must understand too that while L.J. is great on the court, he's also great at his schoolwork.

His young peers and observers should make schoolwork their priority too.

They also must understand that a LeBron James doesn't come along every day. That's why there's no point in whole neighborhoods of kids who dream of being in the NBA practicing their dribble until midnight every night.

Dribble for the exercise. Have fun playing. But don't abandon the books. Instead, hit them that much harder.

But even if you're good on the basketball or other sports court or field - and surely some of you are good - remember that it's not often that an athlete of LeBron's maturity and skills comes along and is so good that he has major advertisers fighting over him.

Unfortunately, those lessons are not as out front in debates about L.J. as they should be.

Blame today's culture for all the emphasis on sports figures who knock down millions, while teachers toil tirelessly trying to instruct, guide, and shape young minds for a pittance in comparison.

Sure, I'm tired of hearing about LeBron James. But hear about him I will.

I can still hope, however, that LeBron wannabes enjoy watching him play, but put their focus on the books.

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