Friday, July 12, 2002
In the post below I mentioned Lebron James, the high school phenom, who has already been on the cover of Sports Illustrated and will start his senior year of high school in the fall. He's already been talked about as a stone cold lock to be the first pick in the 2003 NBA draft as everyone agrees that he'll be skipping college and taking his game to the professional level immediately. But an article at ESPN.com addresses an additional issue, namely which shoe company will he be signing with and when can he do it. The deal is estimated to be somewhere between $20 to $25 million. If the Ohio State High School Association permits it (they've yet to rule on this, as it is somewhat uncharted territory) James could sign that multi-million dollar contract before he finishes high school. Though James is certainly extremely unusual in this respect, the trend has been towards more and more players making the jump straight from HS to the NBA, or stopping off for a year or two in college before moving on to the pro ranks. Assuming that trend continues, and assuming that James breaks new territory here in being allowed to sign his shoe contract, this is why good HS players, apart from their own motivation, will not do their geometry homework, or their book reports, they don't need to -- they could be multi-millionaires before they grab their high school diplomas. Even if James signed with Nike or Adidas this fall and was forced to give up his amateur status by the Ohio State High School Association, he would still be the number one pick in the 2003 NBA draft.