Wednesday, September 14, 2011
LeBron James plays pickup at Kentucky
By Eamonn Brennan
John Calipari's relationship with LeBron James is no secret, nor is it anything new. But it does remain a huge competitive advantage.
High school basketball players may not universally like LeBron James -- the dude's Q rating hasn't exactly been thriving in the past 12 months -- but you can bet each and every elite high school basketball talent wants to be the next LeBron. They want the dominating talent, the massive shoe contract, the immediate success, the Beats by Dre headphones, all of it.
Which is why tweets like the following are like little miniature recruiting bombs. Who doesn't want to play late-night pickup basketball with the most talented player and most famous player in the world? Late Tuesday night, LeBron posted the following message on Twitter:
Just got done hooping at UK with the team, and alum Rondo, @EBled24 @boogiecousins! Great run! #BigBlueNation
In case you're not good at deciphering (or Googling) Twitter handles, that's Boston Celtics point Rajon Rondo, as well as fellow Kentucky alumni Eric Bledsoe and DeMarcus Cousins, one-and-done players on 2010, Kentucky's first season under Calipari. That sounds like a really fun pickup game.
It's also a handy little recruiting tool. If you come to Kentucky, you might get the chance to play pickup basketball with ... these dudes! It's undeniably cool. Calipari doesn't even have to say anything. The snowball effect does the work for him.
And sure, this exact scenario isn't something Kentucky can replicate on a regular basis; unless I'm missing something, this kind of contact would be illegal if James and the rest of the NBA's players weren't currently mired in a lockout. But James can always attend Kentucky games. He can have a presence near the program. The more he does, the more high school players will take note.
As if Calipari needed any more help recruiting. I mean, it's almost unfair.