LeBron James is Coming Home (And That's Great News for Ohio State)

By Jason Priestas on July 12, 2014 at 7:42a
75 Comments

LeBron James is coming home. That's fantastic news for the city of Cleveland, but also pretty good news for Ohio State.

For starters, LeBron (and to a lesser extent, Johnny Manziel) bring cachet to Cleveland and the state of Ohio. After taking body blows for the better part of two decades, Cleveland is hot again. It's the epicenter of the sports world right now.

James and Manziel give the state juice and preemptively counter the argument from neckbeards in other parts of the country that Ohio is boring—that nothing happens here. Not with an ESPN satellite truck permanently parked in the 216.

Here's LSU coach and former Michigan Wolverine Les Miles openly expressing his Ohioness:

That's the LeBron bounce.

Ohio State, understandably, is eager to tap into what James can offer to the school's basketball and football programs:

While James made the leap directly from Akron's St. Vincent–St. Mary straight to the NBA, his affinity for Ohio State has never been questioned. He has said he would have gone to Ohio State had the NBA's one year of college rule been in place when he graduated and Ohio State returned the favor by honoring his No. 23, giving him a locker and plastering his name and logo all over the school's new basketball facility.

Yesterday, Urban Meyer said LeBron had “an open door” and spoke about how James had spent time with and spoken to his team on several occasions. Thad Matta was even more effusive, telling cleveland.com, “For me, it's one of the greatest things for the state of Ohio, because you have the greatest basketball player in the world in our state. And all the people in Ohio that are going to get to watch him play more now, it's a great thing for basketball here.”

LeBron's presence on the sideline of football games adds and extra jolt to an already electric environment. He was there for the Wisconsin game last season and no doubt helped make that one of the program's best recruiting weekends of the year. With five primetime games on the schedule this season, expect to see much more of James now that he's just a couple of hours down the road from Ohio Stadium again.

If you're a five-star prospect planning official visits, why not schedule a trip that comes with a decent chance of meeting the most popular athlete in America?

Here's freshman Johnnie Dixon, one of the nation's top wide receiver prospects in the 2014 class and product of Florida power Dwyer High School:

Jerome Baker, who, depending on who you're asking, is either the state of Ohio's top- or second-rated prospect, committed to the Florida Gators Friday morning. Meyer and his staff were already expected to pursue Baker up to National Signing Day, but you have to think the four-star talent is already having second thoughts about life in Gainesville.

All Buckeye

Braxton Miller, like Terrelle Pryor before him, have each felt the LeBron bounce on Twitter while at Ohio State. How is that not enticing to a prized recruit?

And what if LeBron begins to participate in offseason workouts in Columbus, along with Mike Conley, Jared Sullinger, Evan Turner and other former Ohio State basketball players? Think that helps Thad Matta a little bit?

Near the top of Matta's recruiting wish list is V.J. King, the class of 2016 phenom from St. Vincent–St. Mary, which just so happens to be the school that LeBron emerged as a prep superstar. Wonder if James will help on that front?

None of this is to say that James' affiliation with Ohio State will lead to football and basketball recruits choosing the Buckeyes simply because he may show up for a football game or take part in an open gym, but all things being equal, the LeBron bounce could provide a slight edge and often, that's all Thad Matta or Urban Meyer need to close the deal.

75 Comments

Comments

Rob Reese's picture

Great piece.  I agree with the theme 110%, that Ohio State is a big, BIG winner in the Return of the King.  Now recruits will visit under the lights and rub elbows with the King.

+5 HS
BroJim's picture

Yeah, it's not going to hurt.

I season my simple food with hunger

+1 HS
FROMTHE18's picture

He also sent a strong message about how important Ohio is to him, specifically Northeast Ohio, would have to contribute to top ohio players wanting to stay home and represent their state. A win for Lebron, Cleveland, and Ohio.

+10 HS
buckeyedude's picture

IMHO, I think Lebron needs to recruit Cincinnati as well.

 

 

+5 HS
chitown buckeye's picture

Agree completely. Recruits won't choose OSU because of James but James being around will help get kids on campus. Once here, the coaching staffs can sell OSU. James may be able to draw interest from recruits who might not be high on OSU. The key is just to get them on campus and who knows maybe they like what they see or didn't expect OSU to be like this. I think James could provide that little something extra to get kids to look at the state of Ohio.

"I'm having a heart attack!"

+6 HS
BUCKSOMIES's picture

I think it's called the "snowball effect".

+4 HS
whiskeyjuice's picture

"You'll find out that nothing that comes easy is worth a dime. As a matter of fact, I never saw a football player make a tackle with a smile on his face." -- Wayne Woodrow Hayes

+10 HS
Chief B1G Dump's picture

Ohio is the heart of is all!

From presidents, to football And coaching, to  the traffic light, to hoops now, to OSU...Ohio flat out produces world influence. Pound for pound, Ohio gets it done better than anyone. Fact. 

Ps, Welcome back LBJ. 

+12 HS
robobuck's picture

Don't forget astronauts! And the airplane! And chili on spaghetti!

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.  1 Corinthians 9:24

+8 HS
Jack Burton's picture

And Wendy's, Dave Thomas was a great man!

It's all in the reflexes - Me

+9 HS
Nutty's picture

WhoTF could downvote a comment about Dave Thomas? This place is ridiculous. The man was an incredible humanitarian who lived his life to promote adoption, especially of children with special needs.

+9 HS
nm_buck's picture
WhoTF could downvote a comment about Dave Thomas? 
+4 HS
Nutty's picture

I stand corrected. LMAO.

NuttyBuckeye's picture

Chili on spaghetti!  It sounds so damn crazy until you try it!  I have told many Michiganders about it, and they have tried it when in south/southwest Ohio.  They love it, too.

Marc Pocock (a.k.a NuttyBuckeye)

You can take the man out of Ohio, but you cannot take the Ohio out of the man. Go Bucks!!

+3 HS
IGotAWoody's picture

I would tell Meatchickenders about it, too, if I gave a DAMN for any of them.

 - License to kill gophers (wolverines, badgers, etc) by the government of the United Nations

+3 HS
NuttyBuckeye's picture

LOL... Well, since I moved here and married my wife (born and raised in Rochester), I have some good friends and plenty of family here now...

The good friends actually are MSU fans, and they hate scUM, too!

Marc Pocock (a.k.a NuttyBuckeye)

You can take the man out of Ohio, but you cannot take the Ohio out of the man. Go Bucks!!

+1 HS
IGotAWoody's picture

I feel your pain. That's a big 10-4 on the MSU fans - they can get under your skin occasionally, but they're nowhere NEAR as annoying as the average Wolveweenie. Sorry, I'm being redundant. They're ALL average.
 

 - License to kill gophers (wolverines, badgers, etc) by the government of the United Nations

KINGBUCKEYE419's picture

He's always shown Ohio State a lot of love. He came last year I believe during the Wisconsin game when a lot of big time recruits made their official  visits.  

+1 HS
Ekes42's picture

That's correct.  It's in the article as well.

+4 HS
whiskeyjuice's picture

Don't forget about OSU basketball.......

"You'll find out that nothing that comes easy is worth a dime. As a matter of fact, I never saw a football player make a tackle with a smile on his face." -- Wayne Woodrow Hayes

TobyMagic's picture

I agree this is HUGE for tOSU.. Not only does bball have early rights to King gear now he's right down the road and will be more prevalent.  After reading that essay I think someone needs to remind him that OSU is a big (biggest for most) part of Ohio sports fans lives and he could to be the greatest ambassador ever.. Imagine his effect on recruiting, even if it's just using his thumbs and smart phone

Soggy_McMuffin's picture

Could u imagine if he and Drake were at FNL!! Ridiculous!

Gooz-fra-bah...

unknownmusketeer's picture

Will Lebron James be bringing his friend Johnny Manziel to the facilities?

+3 HS
robobuck's picture

Will Justin Beaver tag along?

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.  1 Corinthians 9:24

+2 HS
Gobucks2204's picture

Don't forget Floyd Mayweather too.

robobuck's picture

What a strange trio...man what would possess them to hang with the beebs?

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.  1 Corinthians 9:24

NuttyBuckeye's picture

[Mod: The word "fag" is unacceptable for this site. Don't let it happen again.]

Marc Pocock (a.k.a NuttyBuckeye)

You can take the man out of Ohio, but you cannot take the Ohio out of the man. Go Bucks!!

-6 HS
Crimson's picture

I'm sure it was innocent enough, whatever it was.

FUCK!!!
+6 HS
NuttyBuckeye's picture

Whoa!  I am truly sorry for this.  I failed to read the rules thoroughly and I will re-read them again.  I apologize to you all.

Marc Pocock (a.k.a NuttyBuckeye)

You can take the man out of Ohio, but you cannot take the Ohio out of the man. Go Bucks!!

+1 HS
Tater_Schroeder's picture

After reading LBJ's essay on SI, I completely expect him to provide a helping hand to Ohio State. His devotion to his home state will certainly be a shot in the arm for retaining Ohio talent in all sports. I CAN'T WAIT to see him on the sidelines at more Ohio State prime time games!

How Firm Thy Friendship

+4 HS
KingsRite's picture

That is why I was so excited to see this happen. Not only are the Cavs relevant again but it is a boost to the entire state of Ohio. Love it!

“I have yet to be in a game where luck was involved. Well-prepared players make plays. I have yet to be in a game where the most prepared team didn't win.” -Urban Meyer-

+4 HS
FitzBuck's picture

Fitzbuck | Toledo - Ohio's right armpit | "A troll by any other name is still a troll".

+6 HS
whiskeyjuice's picture

"You'll find out that nothing that comes easy is worth a dime. As a matter of fact, I never saw a football player make a tackle with a smile on his face." -- Wayne Woodrow Hayes

+8 HS
buckeyedude's picture

I have to believe Lebron heard some of the boos when he came back to Ohio to visit and probably felt bad about the way we split.

I really just wish all of the fans that booed him and burned his jersey and said the awful things would own up and apologize for being douche bags. He made a business decision, and it looks to me like it was the right one, at the time. He wanted to cement his legacy with a championship, which he did, and it allowed him to come home. A championship is like a college degree: it's a great accomplishment and once you have it, nobody can take it away from you.

Hopefully, Cavs ownership will spend some Benjamins to surround James with some decent teammates, this time.

 

 

+8 HS
Furious George 27's picture

More people are mad that he made his business decision way too late in the process and left Cleveland w/out options to find other players. I never faulted him for wanting to leave as a F/A but telling an owner 2 mins before the decision is pretty f'd  up and he admitted that. That said the CAVs made out with three #'s and miami's #1 in his absence and got LBJ back everything is aligning up for the CAVs now which is crazy

Yeah, well…that’s just like, your opinion, man.

+5 HS
buckeyedude's picture

he made his business decision way too late in the process and left Cleveland w/out options to find other players.

I really don't understand this. Is it Lebron's job, as a businessman, to "leave Cleveland with options to find other players"? I don't believe so. As an NBA player, his job is to be the best basketball player he can be. That includes winning an NBA championship, which he did in Miami. Do you think he would have won a championship in Cleveland, had he stayed? I'll answer for you: very unlikely.

He did what he had to do. He has a family.

 My son has Lebron jerseys from Cleveland and Miami. I have no problem with that. He has cemented his legacy as one of the greats by getting a championship, which he wouldn't have done had he stayed in Cleveland. I can hear the comments of the so-called experts had he stayed and never won a championship: "Yeah, he's good, but he never won a championship."

He's a smart man and I really give Lebron a lot of credit for ignoring the nutjobs and staying true to his home. OHIO. Welcome back Lebron! I can't wait to see the Cavs play this year!

 

 

+8 HS
Buckeyeneer's picture

I really don't understand this. Is it Lebron's job, as a businessman, to "leave Cleveland with options to find other players"?

No, but there is such thing as etiquette. He waited to make his decision after all the other big trades were made. There were no quality free agents left to soften the blow. In this case, he made his decision early in the free agent signing period so at least Miami has a fighting chance to get in on someone else to replace him or at least resign Bosh and Wade. It does make a difference.

"Because the rules won't let you go for three." - Woody Hayes
THE Ohio State University

+3 HS
Furious George 27's picture

Exactly!!!!

Yeah, well…that’s just like, your opinion, man.

-1 HS
buckeyedude's picture

No, but there is such thing as etiquette.

Now you sound like Bert and the "B1G gentlemen's agreement" to not steal other B1G recruits. Etiquette? The NBA is a business with big $ involved.

 

 

+1 HS
Buckeyeneer's picture

Dude, comparing me to Bert is over the line. No need to go to that level.

Seriously though, I'm not a big NBA fan, so I really didn't care that he left. That's why I could shake my head and laugh at his surprise at the backlash he received without being enraged myself. However, for a guy like James who really wants to be liked, and who self admittedly loves NE Ohio, he could have taken steps to make his departure a little less brutal. To continue your business theme, it's common in the business world to not burning bridges as you never know when a current competitor may become a future collaborator. As he is back it's obvious that the damage was repairable but it likely wouldn't have gotten as nasty as it did with a little more tact.

"Because the rules won't let you go for three." - Woody Hayes
THE Ohio State University

+3 HS
Furious George 27's picture

LeBron took less money to go to Miami, so to say he did what he did because he was a businessman and because he has a family is just dumb. The guy is a Millionaire, he was not strapped for cash. He left to win a championship which is fine, but to say in 4 years that it would be unlikely for the CAVs to win a title had he stayed is pretty ignorant as well. The Heat only won 2/4 and that was the only reason why they joined up. They get 0 if he does not go to them.

Yeah, well…that’s just like, your opinion, man.

-3 HS
buckeyedude's picture

Furious, Lebron wanted to win a championship. He did that. He also increased his marketability and value. He made the right decision. I was sad to see him go, but understood his decision. Glad he's back.

and for the record, I haven't given you one DV. I think we can agree to disagree on this one.

 

 

Furious George 27's picture

As stated before I could care less about his decision but to call actual fans of the CAVs that were upset douche bags is why I commented. I can see why they are upset in the first place, you can't because you are not a fan of that team just a fan of the player as mentioned by the Miami and Cleveland jerseys you have. And marketability wise he already had the endorsements, joining the heat didn't change that. I get it that you are a fan of him and he is an awesome player. But who are you to start taking jabs and telling fans of the actual team on how they should feel? That's why I commented on your post I kind of felt that you calling those people douche bags was over the line on your part. Cleveland fans wear their hearts on their selves when it comes to their teams so I can understand their beef and heat of the moment reactions. Obviously a non fan such as yourself would not understand that part of it with your lame business comments and random shit you had no real proof to back up. There are fans of a team and then there are fans of the player who don't get it

Yeah, well…that’s just like, your opinion, man.

sivaDavis's picture

It's "I couldn't care less" not "I could care less".

"I've had smarter people around me all my life, but I haven't run into one yet that can outwork me. And if they can't outwork you, then smarts aren't going to do them much good." - Woody Hayes

+4 HS
Furious George 27's picture

Doesn't could and couldn't work? One is is a stronger word of than the other. Bottom line though, LBJ back is great for Ohio , Cleveland and OSU so many positives

Yeah, well…that’s just like, your opinion, man.

Crimson's picture

Doesn't could and couldn't work?

No.

I could care less: there are some (possibly many or all) things I care less about, so I care about this issue.

I couldn't care less: there is nothing I care less about, so I do not care about this issue.

+1 HS
robobuck's picture

As a Cavs fan I'm guessing he could care less

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.  1 Corinthians 9:24

Crimson's picture

I don't follow basketball much, but I never hear anything about Cleveland not having time to find other options.  I always hear about The Decision and how classless he was.  Let's be honest, without Lebron at that time, no options would want to come to Cleveland anyway.

+4 HS
Furious George 27's picture

If you didn't notice the rest of basketball was waiting on his decision thursday night before some of the bigger names started signing. Yeah you're right no one was coming to Cleveland w/out LeBron.... However, you also cannot go after some solid f/a's because you are trying to get the players he wants. So essentially the middle tier players were gone and none of the top players were coming. He wanted to win a title, I get it, but he also was pretty adamant about how he was going to get one with the CAVs before he left so there are those fans that felt like he was not keeping his promise. Like I said I don't really care that he left, but I understand where people are coming from in being upset. Its pretty classless to let your employer know you are not coming back on live TV

Yeah, well…that’s just like, your opinion, man.

-1 HS
Idaho Helga's picture

Agreed, in fact, I never understood all the hate for his leaving.  This is very good news for tOSU.  I  hope he either stays clear of Johnny Moneyball or Johnny learns a thing or two from LBJ. 

When you think about it, it's sorta amazing that this guy who has had so, so much attention on him starting at such a young age has not done anything stupider than "the Decision" or "moving to a better city & team".   I just never understood the haters.  And that "decision" crap might well have been his agent's idea, we'll never know.

Not an NBA fan, but welcome home King.

'

+3 HS
chemicalwaste's picture

If this was a website for the big east I might let the misspelling of Jared Sullinger go, but this is eleven warriors...

+3 HS
Jason Priestas's picture

I have great shame. Thanks for the heads-up.

chemicalwaste's picture

Hey, I'm here to help.

buckeyecountry's picture

Proud to be a Buckeye. Lebron always was and will always be. Welcome home.

+5 HS
Kingbuck12's picture

Welcome back King James. This will only help OSU in every way. It might make ESPIN hate us more, but thats just fine with me. Cant wait to see you recruiting for us on the sidelines this fall. GO BUCKS!

Kingbuck12

+4 HS
EvanstonBuckeye's picture

It might make ESPIN hate us more

I don't know about that. Their coverage of LeBron is obsessive and fanatical. I'm not one of the conspiracy theorists, but I have to think this can only help the way ESPN portrays us.

+1 HS
teddyballgame's picture

Lebron might own the cavs some day

+4 HS
buckeyedude's picture

I think he does already. LOL.

 

 

+8 HS
buckskin's picture

I've got to say that his comments in the SI article make me proud to be an Ohioan. His apparent love for OSU helps endear us Buckeye fans to him as well. I have to admit, I too am excited for the upcoming sports seasons in Cleveland.

+4 HS
EvanstonBuckeye's picture

In the NBA, 99% of the players would have little to no impact on a university (especially one they actually did not attend). A very high percentage of them, meanwhile, would likely make no effort.

As we know, however, LeBron is the one percent and coming back to Ohio is going to be very, very positive. It already is. Rarely has a free agency move silenced so many haters.

+4 HS
buckeyedude's picture

Rarely has a free agency move silenced so many haters.

Boom! Thank you. Agreed.

 

 

+1 HS
jamesrbrown322's picture

Can you imagine, for example, if Jordan had started going to Illinois games in the 90s, and stood on their sidelines, wore their gear? With how impressionable a lot of these young athletes are, it could be a very different athletic department right now.

I'll say this - having LeBron on the sidelines, and if possible, attending games at the Schott, is certainly going to do nothing to hurt OSU. It may even help on the Bragg and King recruiting front...who knows?

Maybe he can bring Pryor as a guest, and smooth the whole thing over...

"I can accept failure, but I cannot accept not trying." - W.W. Hayes

+3 HS
MikeTheBuckeye's picture

It only helps, not hurts, to have that much more attention on the great state of Ohio. The city of Cleveland brought in some big time names this offseason and I hope that translates to some big time names in Columbus. But my favorite part about all of this is Lebron's letter to ESPN. The obvious love and passion for the state of Ohio makes this state that much more attractive to recruits out of state who haven't had a chance to appreciate what all of us have grown to adore. Which is big. With Urban recruiting nationally, it is big for others to see what Ohio brings to the table. And I hope it makes in-state recruits, for all sports, appreciate what being home really means.

+1 HS
Nick's picture

Guess I'll watch some more NBA games now

+1 HS
Fear The Elf's picture

The fact that he is great boon for OSU now is undeniable. He is probably the 3rd best recruiter in Ohio right now beside Urbs and Thad. His impact will be unmistakable.

That said, I am about 90% he goes to Akron if he went to college. Dru Joyce, Romeo Travis and Keith Dambrot were there.

+5 HS
Eph97's picture

Maybe. How insane would it have been for Akron to have won the NCAA's if he went there?

buckeyedude's picture

It would have been like Larry Bird and Indiana State(who?) playing Michigan State for the NCAA championship.

 

 

+2 HS
The Butler's picture

Near the top of Matta's recruiting wish list is V.J. King, the class of 2016 phenom from St. Vincent–St. Mary, which just so happens to be the school that LeBron emerged as a prep superstar. Wonder if James will help on that front?

I've wondered the same thing. Given that LBJ has stated more than once that if he had to spend one year in college it would have been at Ohio State, one must ask themselves: How can he not? 

+1 HS
WhySoSerious's picture

Die hard buckeye fan. Only ohio team I like living in Cali, happy buckeye fans make me just as happy!!! Congrats Ohio.

Rare&Uncommon

Like the ball in the stands, we balls out

+2 HS
KingsRite's picture

LeBron James’ deal with the cavs is reportedly for two years at $42.1M.

“I have yet to be in a game where luck was involved. Well-prepared players make plays. I have yet to be in a game where the most prepared team didn't win.” -Urban Meyer-

Eph97's picture

Meyer needs to get LBJ, Drake, and Manziel for FNL this year. Imagine the star power those 3 would draw.

+3 HS
buckeyedude's picture

Either that or the Virginia Tech game, under the lights, when everybody is watching, even on the west coast.

 

 

+3 HS
ShowThemOhiosHere's picture

Well, I said it when he was going to be at the Wisconsin game last year - it can't hurt.  It can help and maybe help a little more now that he's playing for Ohio's NBA team.  I don't know how many kids will be like "ooo LeBron loves OSU I think I'm going there", but you aren't going to go visit at TTUN, ND, USC, UF, Cryami, or anywhere else and meet the guy. 

Class of 2010.

Buck Commander's picture

Keep Manziel away he would probably be crootin for A&M LOL

Every time I set my DVR to record Biggest Loser......It always records Wolverine Football Games!