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LeBron James never played college basketball but he will have a permanent place in Ohio State's new locker room.
The Buckeyes have given James a locker and it will be used to display James' branded Nike gear the school uses to help in recruiting, coach Thad Matta told reporters in Columbus on Tuesday. Ohio State started wearing James' signature uniforms and shoes in 2007. Matta made James an honorary member of the team at a ceremony in 2009.
"We always want to pay our respects to him for what he did for us in '07, in terms of we were the first LeBron school," Matta said. "And obviously we get tremendous product from him, and I know he's very proud of what he does for us."
The new locker room itself is named after Michael Redd, the former Ohio State star who gave $500,000 toward a $19 million renovation of the university's basketball facilities. But James, who decided when he was 16 that he'd forgo college and enter the NBA draft after high school, will occupy a spot next to the Buckeyes' current players.
James has frequently attended Ohio State football and basketball games over the years. Last year, James hosted Buckeyes football coach Urban Meyer and his family at a Heat game in Miami.
"He's very proud of what we've done and just in terms of his name and being from Ohio and the fact we wear his gear," Matta said. "That's important for us."