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Thursday, July 22, 2010
OSU still cool with LeBron James

By Eamonn Brennan

So here's an indirect and unlikely consequence of LeBron James' famed departure from the greater Ohio area: What happens to his relationship with the Ohio State Buckeyes?

Since James began his own Nike basketball line, the Buckeyes have sported uniforms with the LeBron logo, worn LeBron brand shoes, and even presented James -- who obviously never played for OSU -- with a No. 23 Buckeyes jersey in honor of, um, James being really good at basketball, or something. The point is that OSU and LeBron are tight.

Now that everyone in Ohio (and pretty much everyone in the country) thoroughly loathes LeBron James, will Ohio State keep wearing those sneakers? Thad Matta's answer is yes:
Though James left Cleveland, Ohio State coach Thad Matta hopes his team continues its association with James on some level. "In my opinion, LeBron still loves Ohio, still loves Ohio State," Matta said Wednesday. "I hope that he remains a huge fan of ours because I'm still a huge fan of his. In my position, it's more who he is as a basketball player, not who he's playing for."

"Obviously, I view LeBron as one of the all-time greats. I do wish he would have stayed in Cleveland."

Fair enough, but one has to wonder how the average Ohio State fan will feel about that relationship. It's already bad enough that Cavaliers fans -- many of whom also support Ohio State -- have the spectre of James hanging over their basketball team for the rest of their sporting lives. Now, when they watch the Buckeyes play basketball, they'll be getting a reminder of James' outsized presence by watching a paid advertisement for the star's overpriced Nikes. Ouch.

Note to college hoops cameramen everywhere: During Ohio State games, please keep the footwear zoom shots to a minimum. Show some mercy. These people have been through enough already.