LeBron James, the greatest basketball player ever not to play college hoops, spoke up about the very stupid FBI investigation that has currently engulfed the sport. While James didn’t play college ball, he dipped his toe in the recruiting process and has firsthand experience with its shady side. His take on how to fix the NCAA: Torch it.
“I don’t know if there’s any fixing the NCAA,” James said. “I don’t think there is. 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.” He called the association “corrupt” and compared the federal investigation to the movie Blue Chips.
When asked about the craziest offer he received during the recruiting process, James laughed. “I can’t even talk about that, man. 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.”
“Obviously, I’ve never been a part of it, so I don’t know all the ins and outs about it. 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 called for the NBA to buff up its farm-league system, which would weaken the NCAA’s grip on basketball development. He noted the way the top-level soccer teams start developing kids as teenagers, so that by the time they’re ready to join the first team, they’re used to the structure of pro sports and have been paid throughout the time needed to develop.