Lebron James & Lebron James Jr Basketballers Extraordinaire
The big news in sports yesterday, aside from Arsenal FC being being in the round of 16 by AS Monaco, who would have that that the Gooners would lose at The Emirates?!, is that Lebron James has issued an ultimatum about his son, Lebron James Jr. being scouted by universities looking at him as a prospect.
Let’s tackle one issue at a time. Arsenal is a big club that millions of people follow every game, and with one of the longest serving managers in football history in Arsene Wenger, who coincidentally, managed AS Monaco before moving to London. Monaco on the other hand are a small team with a stadium that can only fit a quarter of The Emirates. They were only promoted to Ligue 1 in France recently, and no one saw the 3-1 demolishing of the Gooners. Now, when we talk about the game’s advertising, sports announcers and bookies who placing long odds on Monaco even getting a draw away from home, but to go out and sufficiently thrash Arsenal was not an advertisement that even the most speculative of bookies would have happily taken.
How does this relate to Lebron James Jr. being scouted by universities though? Well watch this clip:
I don’t know anything about basketball, but it seems like he is pretty good. What I do know however is professional scouting. All major teams in all major leagues are always looking out for new, young talent and the next big superstar. This is something that Arsenal is particularly good at.
When a parent, like Lebron James, comes out with a public statement telling universities and other scouts that his child is off limits, that sends a strong message. From an advertising perspective it can be spun a couple different ways. First, that this guy means business and anyone who tries is going to be met with the strongest resistance to him signing a pre-contract or any other obligation. This can also mean that “Bronny” is being encouraged to just enjoy himself, which as a 10 year old is vital to his continued interest in the sport. The second way advertisers and scouts will spin this, is that the kid is a prodigy and must be signed as early as possible because he is the next Michael Jordan or as Martin Ødegaard is being compared to Lionel Messi.
In either case, I believe it is necessary for the child’s guardians, parents and coaches to protect the children from the media and scouts and even predatory agents who can smell a hot commodity and will want to capitalize on them as much as possible in their short athletic careers.
What do you think? Do you think Universities should be scouting a 10 year old for a collegiate sport, and is Lebron James right to shield his son from this publicity?