With all the talk surrounding LeBron James’ future (C’mon LeBron!) and what NBA uniform he’ll wear this fall, it got me to thinking. What did LeBron miss out on choosing not be to a collegiate student-athlete?
I know what you’re thinking so let’s get 5 things out of the way.
- Yes, LeBron was NBA-ready straight out of high school and is arguably the best player in the game. However, watching these NBA Finals I’m sure Kobe Bryant would disagree.
- Yes, LeBron would have postponed (barring a serious injury) millions of dollars in contracts endorsements if he went to college. Tough to argue this point.
- Yes, LeBron probably wouldn’t be friends with Jay-Z (yet) if he went to college.
- Yes, he wouldn’t have hosted SNL if he went to college (not sure if this is a bad thing).
- Yes, he wouldn’t have made his sixth consecutive NBA All-Star game appearance this season if he went to college.
Okay, now that we have that out of the way, here are 5 things LeBron would have gained becoming a collegiate student-athlete.
- Education: Sure, LeBron is basically earning an MBA in business with all of his astute deal-making. However, nothing can replace a college degree. Plus, and as they say, you learn more outside of the classroom than inside of it.
- The College Experience: Sure, LeBron has probably experienced many things that you and I could only dream of. However, college offers the opportunity to grow and make mistakes outside of the spotlight. From joining student organizations, attending cultural events, participating in an internship or studying abroad, college is a once in a lifetime experience.
- Building Lasting Relationships: Sure, during his meteoric rise LeBron has had to grow up fast. He’s fortunate to have an inner-circle of friends that have traveled this road with him to fame and fortune. However, there’s something to be said for checking into the dorm that first day and meeting your new roommate for the first time and building an amazing friendship. Further this takes place in the classroom, with professors and coaches.
- Leaving Ohio: Sure, LeBron can travel at his leisure on a private jet and his career has exposed him to the world. Still, he plays for the Cleveland Cavaliers in his home state of Ohio. Nothing against Ohio, but getting away for college is an awesome experience for growth and learning.(Admittedly, I attended an in-state school for undergrad, Western Michigan University, but this is about LeBron.)
- NCAA Championship: Sure, not even the Fab 5 were able to win a NCAA Championship. However, I’m convinced LeBron could have accomplished this with numerous college programs. And it may have prepared him to win the big games at the NBA level.
So, did LeBron make the right move?
Antonio Neves is an award-winning broadcast journalist and author of, Student Athlete 101: College Life Made Easy On & Off The Field.