Now in his fourth year with the Miami Heat, LeBron James has two championship rings and a heartbreaking defeat in the NBA Finals – heartbreaking only to him, Heat fans and all those bandwagon jumpers. But lets go back. Back to the time before the rings, before the infamous “decision”, and before he was drafted. Let’s go back to his decision to skip college. What would have happened if he decided to go to college? Let’s find out.
(*Note: James played in three postseason all-star games, the Jordan Capital Classic, the EA Sports Roundball Classic and the McDonald’s All-American Game. Therefore, he had lost his NCAA eligibility. For the sake of this article, we are pretending he was eligible to go to college.)
James plays both basketball and football at St. Vincent-St. Mary’s high school in Akron, Ohio. He shows a lot of talent and skills in both, especially in basketball, averaging 21 points a game. People aren’t sure which way he is leaning as to which sport he wants to pursue.
James completed another football season where he was named first team all-state. He is heavily leaning towards a career in the National Football League and is already telling all of his friends and family. Oh, and his basketball career is okay, too. He averaged over 25 PPG in his sophomore season and won his second Division III state championship.
In his junior year, James lost the Division II state championship. But on the bright side, he averaged a lot of points, was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated, won big awards, and had to resort to marijuana to cope with it all. He has definitely decided he’s going to the NBA now.
He carried the Fighting Irish all the way to the state semifinals! Sports analysts believe he could make it and succeed in the NFL. James tasted what it was like to win in football and wanted to win at a higher level. He’s officially decided, he’s going to the NFL!
“Wow, ESPN wants to follow me around with cameras and film my entire season?”
“LeBron, don’t you mean OUR entire season?” says a disgruntled teammate. “HA! No, that is not at all what I meant. I’m going to the NBA!”
It is now time for LeBron to choose a college. He will begin doing a couple of campus visits – Ohio State, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Harvard, Loyola and Miami.
James visits the hometown favorite and the school most likely to land the superstar, Ohio State. He has a great visit and secretly tells the coach that he is definitely going there. The school rejoices.
A week later, James travels to Michigan State. He loves what he sees and thoroughly enjoys the state. He tells everyone it feels a lot more welcoming then what he is used to. He tells Coach Izzo that he will be a Spartan next year.
James wins high school another state title but while his body is there, he is far too excited about being a Michigan State Buckeye. He can have both, right?
James visits both Wisconsin and Loyola. He loves Madison because it’s a party school and he feels like he could be a king. He decides he likes the nickname “King” and adopts it. He also decides Wisconsin is far too cold. He tells the coach to expect to see him at practice when the season starts. He goes to Loyola but just as a joke, the team isn’t very good and even though he feels he could turn the program around, there are better schools. He tells the coach how excited he is to be part of the team.
Boston is so beautiful in the winter; snow on the ground, ice on the water, James stands out as soon as he gets off the plane. Upon arriving on campus, he begins to receive dirty looks; they’ve never seen someone like him before – a basketball player. Despite the fact that Harvard is slowly improving on the court, he doesn’t get a real comfortable feel and decides against attending. He passes out cards to all the students he passes that read “LeBron James: Harvard Crimson Basketball Superstar.”
James makes the dreaded trip from Akron to Miami in March. He immediately dislikes the heat, the trees, the sand and all the water. He goes to the campus and thinks it’s too big. He meets some cheerleaders and thinks they are far too attractive. This isn’t the school for him. He tells the coach that he will never be a member of the Miami Hurricanes.
April 8, 2003:
Decision day. Media from around the country has been waiting for this day, the day “The King” decides where he going to go. As soon as he steps out from behind the curtain, camera bulbs begin flashing. He is dressed in a black suit with a red velvet cape and a gold crown. A smaller gentleman brings him a gold cane as he sits on what looks to be a throne. After 45-minutes of small talk, he finally decides. “This Fall, man, this is very tough. This Fall, I’m going to take my talents South Beach and join the Miami Hurricanes.” Miami rejoices, immediately begin selling t-shirts and season tickets and builds a new arena. “The King Is Coming.” Ohio State fans burned jerseys they had already purchased; Wisconsin fans continued to party as they didn’t know who LeBron was; Harvard fans were relieved, and Loyola players were so crushed, they went on to have the worst season of any team in Division I.
June 8, 2003
In a surprise twist, LeBron calls a press conference to announce he will be entering the 2003 NBA Draft. This is quickly dubbed “The Re-Decision.”
Well, I guess nothing would have changed after all. A lot more time would have been wasted and less would have gotten done. It feels like I just watched that episode of Family Guy where Lois kills Stewie and we find out none of it actually happened. Bummer.