Lebron James aviods detention for his hummer

Christopher A. Smith

If I told you that there is a 6-foot-1 inch 12-year-old from Atlanta who is averaging 30 points per game for his CYO team, what would you say?

Would you watch him play if his game was televised on ESPN with commentary provided by an embarrassingly over-excited Dick Vitale?

And what if I told you that the Cleveland Cavaliers have vowed to select him with their first draft pick in the 2009 NBA draft?

And another thing:What if his mom just bought him a new mountain bike that is clearly out of his family’s price range, and that he recently hit an elderly woman’s parked car with it?

I would consider this story absolutely ridiculous. However, judging by today’s sports world, most people’s reaction would probably be, “I have to check this kid out.”

So is the tale of high school phenom LeBron James, whose pay-per-view home games have clearly crossed the line of what is newsworthy in sports.

I will admit that sometimes I go too far with my interest in athletics. And I am also not hiding the fact that watching LeBron soar above the rim in a breakaway dunk against Oak Hill Academy a couple of months ago was exciting. But the hype surrounding this kid is getting out of control. I am actually surprised that his enormous ego has not prevented him from getting through the doors of his high school gym yet.Maybe James will end up the next Michael Jordan. And maybe the team that drafts him will eventually become world champions. But how many times do we have to see over-hyped players fail before we stop wasting so much energy on them (i.e. Ryan Leaf)?

Let’s not forget that despite James’ athletic body and adept basketball skills, he is playing against teams that might send one guy to a Division I college basketball program.

Do the folks at ESPN really have nothing else to do with their time than to follow every breath taken by a high school senior?

The latest story is especially shallow. His mother took out a loan to buy him a Hummer for his 18th birthday. For most, a Hummer would be over the top. But not for Lebron. His Hummer was equipped with TVs and video game hook-ups. An investigation followed as to whether or not he should be able to continue playing high school basketball. Thankfully for his fans, he has been cleared to play.

First of all what is his mother thinking doing something like this when her son is in the public eye and months away from the amount of money that could buy a Hummer dealership and probably a manufacturing plant.

But more importantly, why do I see that as the top headline on ESPN.com?

I am interested in reading about the athletes who have already paid their dues, the professionals—the real entertainers.

The media needs to understand this and stop the nonsense before my previous example becomes a reality.

Now back to more important matters. Who do you think LeBron will take to the prom?