LeBron James continued his political outspokenness this week by blasting the NCAA as “corrupt.”
“I don’t know if there’s any fixing the NCAA. I don’t think there is,” James said, according to ESPN. “It’s what’s been going on for many, many, many, many years. I don’t know how you can fix it. I don’t see how you can fix it.”
The comments were in reference to recent federal investigations into college basketball recruiting in which “pay-for-play” scandals have allegedly taken place and young athletes have been taken advantage of by industry insiders.
“I can’t even talk about that, man,” James 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’ll tell you that. That’s a fact.”
The Cleveland Cavaliers star said the NBA should further develop its minor league system to give kids more options other than going to college where they will make nothing — while others around them make millions.
James skipped college himself and went straight to the NBA after high school. He criticized some in the college arena who profit greatly from the athletes who receive a free education.
“Obviously, I’ve never been a part of it, so I don’t know all the ins and outs about it,” James said. “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 … 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, so it’s just a weird thing.”
James has two sons who play basketball. Both could wind up being recruited by colleges — but James says they would need to weigh their options when that time comes.
“I’m not a fan of the NCAA,” James went on. “I love watching March Madness. I think that’s incredible. I’m not a fan of how the kids don’t benefit from none of this, so it’s kind of a fine line and I’ve got a couple boys that could be headed in that direction, so there’s going to be some decisions that we as a family have to make. But I know, as the NBA, we have to figure out a way that we can shore up our farm league, and if kids feel like they don’t want to be a part of that NCAA program, then we have something here for them to be able to jump back on and not have to worry about going overseas all the time, I guess.”
He continued, “We have to figure that out, but kids getting paid is nothing new under the sun. You all seen ‘Blue Chips’? It’s a real movie, seriously … The NCAA is corrupt, we know that. Sorry,” he added with a slight smile. “It’s going to make headlines, but it’s corrupt.”
James seems to be deliberately trying to build a pundit platform for himself for when he stops dribbling and gets off the court.
While James certainly has more authority to be outspoken on athletic issues than on political ones, this new speech following his heated criticisms of President Donald Trump makes it all curious timing. James seems to be deliberately trying to build a pundit platform for himself for when he stops dribbling and gets off the court.
But at least these latest comments are centered on something LeBron actually knows about. In the future, if he wants to be outspoken, perhaps he should stay away from politics and keep to the sport he actually has experience playing.