INDEPENDENCE (92.3 the Fan) – LeBron James was able to circumvent the NCAA in 2003, which probably prevented the governing body of college sports from profiting immensely. Though, the scorn of the King may have been heightened had he experienced what many student athletes complain about.
The former top overall draft pick out of St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in Akron was asked Tuesday about his feelings on the bubbling college basketball scandal in which players have been receiving payment to attend certain universities.
“NCAA is corrupt, we know that,” he said.
James hinted at the possibility of receiving similar offers to go to college following his senior season of high school, but did not say anything as to what he was offered.
“I can’t even talk about that,” he said. “Me and my mom was poor, I’ll tell you that, and they expected me to step foot on a college campus and not to go to the NBA? We weren’t going to be poor for long, I tell you that. That’s a fact.”
The four-time MVP admitted that he does not know ‘the ins and outs’ because he never played college ball, but he did challenge the sincerity of what the institution offers.
James also noted that he has a pair of boys who may want to play basketball professionally, and that his family will have decisions to make when that time comes.
“I do know what five-star athletes bring to a campus, both in basketball and football. I know how much these college coaches get paid. I know how much these colleges are gaining off these kids,” James said. “I’ve always heard the narrative that they get a free education, but you guys are not bringing me on campus to get an education, you guys are bringing me on it to help you get to a Final Four or to a national championship.”
With a growing developmental league, LeBron floated the idea of expanding the NBA G League into a farm system like that of minor league baseball.
He also incited the story of FC Barcelona soccer superstar Lionel Messi and the European academy systems in which players are trained by clubs from an early age before being promoted to the professional ranks.
Often in contact with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, LeBron says he has ideas he wants to outline about the current one-and-done rule, as well.
“We have to figure out if a kid is like 16 or 17 and he doesn’t feel like the NCAA is for him, if we have a system in place, we have a farm league where they can learn and be around the professionals but not actually become a professional at that point in time, but actually learn for a few years, learn what the NBA life is about, learn how to move and walk and talk and things of that nature, then in two years they’re able to, just like guys do overseas,” he said.