2003-02-15 / Sports

The Rollercoaster of Life Has Its Highs And Lows

Goodbye "G"
By Elio Velez
The Rollercoaster of Life Has Its Highs And Lows By Elio Velez

By Elio Velez

LeBron JamesLeBron James

Goodbye "G"

Before I start, I want to say goodbye to my dearest friend, The G-Man-Gary Toms, who is leaving us this week. When I first arrived, I didn’t know what to do and I felt like a klutz. But the G-Man took time out of his busy schedule to help me out to become a somewhat competent dude today. There is no doubt in my mind that Gary will go on to bigger and better things and he will make a big splash. I Love ya bro. Peace.

Lebron Rollercoaster

The LeBron James controversy the past month has been a circus show. First it was all the attention about the $50000 ummer that he received from his mother. Then it was the two retro jerseys Lebron received that caused him to be suspended. Then the suspension was lifted and showed the tri-state area all of his might with 52 points in the Trenton Classic.

LeBron James is sure prepared for the NBA now.

Now of course James made a mistake in receiving the hummer because he should have waited until after the NBA Draft to go nuts with buying stuff. But James has been taught by his mother Gloria and all of growing entourage to take gifts. It’s not like it’s easy for anybody to turn down a nice shirt, yet a 50K hummer that was purchased legally.

Yup. Legally. James’ mother did not go to a loanshark to purchase the car. She actually got the bank to believe that James will pay it back eventually. Why? Because James is going to be a star and he will pay it back. So even the banking industry is counting on James to be the next Michael Jordan.

When the Ohio State High School Association could not find credible evidence that the car was purchased illegally, the state still decided to go after James. And this is after James has put mucho money in the coffers of his school St. Mary’s. And the local cable company that carries his pay per view game. And the state, which receives money from the $50-$100 tickets they charge at a James event. For a high school game.

James received the $845 retro jerseys of Gale Sayers and Wes Unseld. (Unseld’s Washingon Bullets jersey cost more than the Bear’s Gale Sayers jersey. That is a crime in itself.) The fashion of wearing retro jerseys has grown even as it is a bit overpriced to get a Jerry West Lakers jersey or Johnny Unitas jersey. That is an article in itself.

James didn’t say no. He knew it was sort of illegal to take gifts such as those but the store gave it to them. The OHSAA decided to suspend him forever. But a circuit court judge decided to lift the suspension to allow James to play at the Trenton shootout. The judge thought the OHSAA should have sat down with James and taught James what was wrong about taking the jerseys. It’s what high school is supposed to do. Teach. Not make James a cash cow for administrations’ coffers.

The store wanted publicity from James’ name and that about sums up why all of the hanger-ons from so-called friends, to stores and shoe companies cling to James’ jersey. Most of the people that know James want to stay on his good side and ride the money train right to the NBA.

The hangers-ons know that James is gold. James worked out with Michael Jordan and Antoine Walker last summer. The Cavaliers got suspended for working him out. Celebrities want to meet James. James has two cell phones with numbers such as P-Diddy and Ashanti to name a few on speed dial.

At 18 years old, James is bound to make mistakes. He is still growing up and if James doesn’t know by now, his talent is a blessing and a curse. The process of becoming a superstar has just been fast-forwarded in the past two years by a lot of people.

The media will heighten James’ mistakes. Some of the media who have delighted in raising his stature will love to take him down for the slightest slip.

There are people that will be on his side with the best of intentions and others who want to go to the parties and pass the Courvoisier.

A few years from now, it might be James’s biological dad, who ran out on LeBron before birth and wants to become a father figure to King James. Or it might be his Eddie Jackson, a kind of semi-step dad who has been a big influence in Gloria and LeBron’s life who went back to prison again for the fourth time.

LeBron James is learning hard and valuable lessons about the reality of the world that he is about to join. If James can keep his head up and out of trouble, the eyes are all on him. At least until the next prospect comes along.

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