The current NBA rule prohibiting teams from drafting high school players has been in effect for well more than a decade.
But suppose that rule had been in place just a few years earlier—say in 2003—when LeBron graduated.
Would Ohio State have been LeBron’s choice as a one-and-done? Ohio State basketball was just above .500 in 2002-03. But...the Buckeyes were of course coming off a BCS title in football with a number of players returning.
And, please, just bear with me for a moment as I lay out the following fantasy scenario.
I know LeBron stopped playing football in the middle of high school. But, with his love of the Buckeyes, would the prospect of playing for a national championship team at Ohio State have been enough of an exciting incentive for LeBron to have joined the Buckeyes’ football squad? Would the possibility of completing what I believe would have been an unprecedented double—national titles in both football and basketball in the same school year—have made him contemplate trying to pull this off?
And, if so, could LeBron James as an additional offensive option at tight end or wide receiver made enough of a difference, especially with the absence of Maurice Clarett, for the Buckeyes to have repeated as BCS champs? Would Tress have adapted his offensive scheme to make full use of LeBron?
Turning to basketball, I know Ohio State was just under .500 in 2003-2004. But wouldn’t LeBron have singlehandedly elevated the squad into national title contention?
LeBron is no doubt among the greatest players in NBA history. But maybe, just maybe, he could have achieved the greatest college sports feat if he had been at Ohio State for just that one year and managed to play both sports. (And, yes, I fully concede that, if the NBA draft restriction had been in place in 2003, lots of people would have advised him not to risk getting injured on the football field. But, since lots of people play Fantasy football, I am momentarily engaging in a very different type of football fantasy.)