Throwback: When LeBron James Called Out The NCAA For Being ‘Corrupt’

Published 12/31/2020, 5:54 AM EST
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) reacts against the Phoenix Suns during a preseason game at Phoenix Suns Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports


Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James skipped college and directly jumped to the NBA. He is one of the three players in NBA history to be drafted #1 overall pick coming out of high school. Coming from a humble background, he chose to skip college to provide for his family.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

The NCAA doesn’t allow its student athletes to make money off their own name. Due to this, LeBron has been vocal about his criticism against the NCAA. “I’m not a fan of the NCAA,” James said back in 2018. “The NCAA is corrupt, we know that. Sorry, it’s going to make headlines, but it’s corrupt.”

Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James (23) participates during a practice session before Game 3 of the NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio, on Tuesday, June 7, 2016. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group) (Photo by MediaNews Group/Bay Area News via Getty Images)

His argument is that if colleges and the NCAA can make money off the student athletes, it shouldn’t be a one-way track.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

He said, “I know how much these colleges are gaining off these kids. I’ve always heard the narrative that they get a free education, but you guys are not bringing me on campus to get an education. You guys are bringing me on it to help you get to a Final Four or to a national championship.”

NCAA listening to LeBron James, albeit two years late

In April 2020, the NCAA’s Board of Governors announced rule changes to allow student-athletes to “receive compensation for third-party endorsements both related to and separate from athletic.

This matter was taken to the Supreme Court on the grounds that it violates the antitrust laws. The Supreme Court announced that it will review the case in 2021. It is the first NCAA case the Supreme Court will be hearing since 1984.

The biggest question behind whether student athletes should be paid, is whether, at the end of the day, are they just students or employees? Many have said that the students being forced to play despite the lockdown is a clear indication they are employees.

Nov 29, 2020; Lexington, Kentucky, USA; The Richmond Spiders team celebrates as they go into a timeout in the second half against the Kentucky Wildcats at Rupp Arena at Central Bank Center. Mandatory Credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

If the Supreme Court doesn’t allow this to pass, the influx of young athletes into foreign leagues will grow. Players like LaMelo Ball and RJ Hampton chose to play overseas over college, so they could get paid. Others like Jalen Green and Isaiah Todd chose to enter the G-League directly.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

LeBron had suggested a farm league as an alternative to the NCAA. But at this rate, the G-League could become the farm league, if students continue forego college to play there.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :

Aaron Mathew

1527 articles

Aaron Mathew is a sports analyst at EssentiallySports. A graduate in Mass Media from Xavier’s College, Aaron has been a part of EssentiallySports since May 2020 where he covers both NBA and NCAA basketball news, and has also covered NBA 2K. In the past, Aaron has worked at the Sports Desk of Mumbai Mirror.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT