With LeBron Back in Cleveland, OSU Should Become His Second Home
By Tony Gerdeman
COLUMBUS, Ohio — If you've ever wanted to see an entire state thrown into a fit of sports ecstasy, then Friday's announcement that LeBron James was returning to Cleveland was the equivalent of a free weekend preview of Cinemax for a 12-year old boy.
The prodigal son finally came back, and despite inflicting torment upon those who loved him when he left four years ago, they warmly welcomed him home with well wishes and wet kisses.
I don't think Ohio has been this happy since Michigan hired Brady Hoke.
Like me, not everybody in the state is a Cleveland Cavaliers fan, but we can all appreciate when something great happens to our home state, and LeBron James returning is definitely a great thing for all of Ohio.
It should also be a great thing for Ohio State athletics. Let's not forget that James has his own locker in the men's basketball locker room. And it was Urban Meyer who quickly sent a tweet to James that read, "Welcome home my friend. See you this fall!!!"
That's right, three exclamation points. LeBron James even impacts punctuation.
And as you can see, it didn't take long for Meyer to use James's return to his advantage. There may not be a more influential athlete in America than LeBron James, and here is Urban Meyer essentially namedropping him like a grand champion.
Meyer knows the impact that James could potentially have on the Ohio State football program, and Thad Matta didn't give James a locker just because they had the room and some extra wood laying around
A year ago James walked with the football team from the team hotel to the Skull Session, and then led them across the street and into Ohio Stadium prior to the Wisconsin game.
There is no doubt that if his basketball schedule allows it, he'll be doing it again this coming season. If Meyer has his way, that visit will come the weekend of the biggest official visits on the recruiting calendar.
And we should also expect him for the Michigan game. Since that game is likely to be a noon kickoff, he should have no problem making it to wherever the Cavs may be playing that night.
Basically, now that he is back in Cleveland, he doesn't need to be such a stranger, and every Ohio State coach on the roster should be trying to get him involved.
After all, if he's happy to help, then let him help.
The next time one of the world's best fencing prospects is visiting OSU, head coach Vladimir Nazlymov should make a call to see if James is available to swing his own sword for the Scarlet and Gray cause.
Ohio State needs to make LeBron James the kind of brand ambassador that would give Dave Brandon an enveurism. (That's when your head explodes with envy.)
His presence on the sideline alone should be worth at least one five-star recruit per season, per sport.
I'm not saying Ohio State should put him on the payroll, but if he'd like an office, it might be time to call in the architect.
LeBron James loves OSU, he has said it repeatedly. It's time to let him put that love to work. In fact, the open-door policy that Urban Meyer and Thad Matta have with him should be applied to the rest of the University. Heck, it should stretch off campus as well.
If LeBron wants the Out-R-Inn opened at three in the morning on a Tuesday night because Johnny Manziel is in town and they need a large enough porch to handle the drinking pygmy elephant that Manziel travels with, then dammit, open up the Out-R-Inn!
The Ohio State University is the most popular sports entity in the state, so it would only be natural for Ohio's most distinguished athlete to be a valued member of it as well.
LeBron James has finally returned home. His room at Ohio State was left just as it was the last time he was here, and now that he is back in Cleveland, the Buckeyes are hoping that he'll be able to visit a little bit more often.
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