The Ohio State Buckeyes will have a king on its sideline Saturday night.
An Ohio State spokesperson confirmed to BuckeyeSports.com that four-time NBA MVP and Ohio native LeBron “King” James will be on the sideline supporting the No. 3 Buckeyes before the team’s biggest test of the season, a primetime showdown with conference foe No. 23 Wisconsin. Though he won't give a pregame speech to the team as was originally reported.
UPDATE: Urban Meyer tells ESPN that LeBron James is expected to attend Saturday's Ohio State game, but won't give a pregame speech to team.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) September 27, 2013
James, a native of Akron, has been a longtime Ohio State fan and was an All-State wide receiver during his high school days at St. Vincent-St. Mary. Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer, who coached wide receivers at Notre Dame from 1996-2000, recruited James to play football in South Bend.
Meyer remembered his failed effort to recruit the future No. 1 overall NBA draft pick at 2012 Big Ten media days.
James cordially responded to Meyer’s scholarship offer, “Thank you very much, I’ll consider it,” while James’ coach started laughing.
"'Thank you very much, I'll consider it,' and his coach started laughing," said Meyer, recalling James' response to his scholarship offer. "I didn't know what he was laughing at, so we went down and sat in a room and he said, 'Do you know who that is?' and I said, 'No' and he said, 'LeBron James' and I said, 'Who's LeBron James?' and he said, 'He'll be the next Michael Jordan' and I go, 'Come on.'"
Meyer also praised James’ focus on the court and the way he carries himself off the court. James has a locker in the Ohio State basketball locker room.
“You just see the way he articulates, his look, the way he treats people, the focus. We use him in those leadership meetings we use, those videos, his face is plastered all over them. First of all, our guys all admire him. And the head coach really admires him,” Meyer said.
It will be interesting to gauge the response to James’ presence by the Ohio Stadium faithful as he has been a polarizing figure in Ohio since he left the Cleveland Cavaliers to take his talents to South Beach and suit up for the Miami Heat. How chilly will it be?