Lebron’s Impact On and Off the Court

From the Perspective of the Columbus Dispatch…

Disclaimer: This article is a work of fiction and should not be interpreted as factual or representative of real events. The hypothetical scenario discussed in this article, involving LeBron James and his sons enrolling at Ohio State University to play football and basketball respectively, is purely speculative and has no basis in reality. It is meant for entertainment and creative purposes only.

Earlier this morning, famed NBA star and Ohio native, LeBron James made a joint announcement with Ohio State University that shook the sports world to its core. James, along with his two sons Bronny and Bryce James, would begin attending classes at Ohio State University at the beginning of the next fall semester, in the case of Bryce, at his earliest eligibility. 

On top of these already momentous announcements, it was also revealed that James planned to pick up where he left off in high school by playing for Ohio State University’s football team the Buckeyes. A course of action that is legal under the current NCAA guidelines, as James had gone professional only in basketball and not football. His sons, once they become enrolled, are also planning to pursue a collegiate career in the university’s basketball program. And that James will be teaming up with OSU to develop and launch a new streaming service that will cover content such as exclusive interviews with James and his family.

The deal is already looking to be a very lucrative one for James as he is expected to pull in around 12 million dollars in this first year at OSU thanks to the money he will receive from the sales of his new football jersey.

For anyone versed in sports history, it is impossible to look at these developments without thinking back to James’s days in Cleveland, where his NBA career first started. It began back in 2003 when he was selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers as the first pick in the NBA draft, and after leaving and returning to the team, it ended in 2018 when James signed a new contract with the Los Angeles Lakers. 

James left the Cavaliers for the first time back in 2010 to play for the Miami Heat, where he stayed for four seasons before transferring back to the Cavaliers in 2014. Then in 2016, he played an instrumental part in the Cavalier’s win of the NBA Championship. An event that is still fondly remembered by many Ohioans to this day. 

The deep history between James and Ohio is now set to continue toward its next chapter, this time with Columbus taking center stage. When James had last returned to play sports in his home state it heralded a championship win, but with his decision to attend and play at OSU, could it hint at something even grander? For the economy of Columbus, it certainly does.

Columbus is already the second fastest-growing city in the Midwest, with only Indianapolis Indiana outpacing it. The star power that will be brought to the city by the enrollment of James and his sons will have a wide-reaching effect on the city’s economy, but it will be mostly centered on and sprouting out from an influx of tourism.

Columbus already plays host to a thriving tourism industry with many notable attractions such as the city’s zoo and aquarium that already draw the attention of many around the country. This recent news can only bolster the industry more, and when considering the full ramifications of the deal between the James family and OSU, the revenue boost to the city is expected to be in the hundreds of millions.

Local shops and restaurants will see the brunt of this uptick in tourism. Blaze Pizza, a chain restaurant in which James is a major stakeholder, has a location within Columbus and will likely be one of the major stops for visiting fans. This is because James is very public about his work with the chain.

Blaze Pizza is not unique however in its association with James. Many other brands that have locations within the city or have products that are widely available in other retailers have had the NBA superstar as a spokesperson in the past. Among these Brands are Nike, Intel, Coca-Cola, Upper Deck, and Dunkin’ Donuts. All of these products and more are likely to see increased purchases both from their association with James and because of their availability throughout the city. 

These brands and others like them may try and reach out to James once again now that he is dominating the news cycle, for more marketing deals. But as bright as the future might be for these brands, it is certainly brighter for the city of Columbus Ohio, and its people.


Written By Timothy Dempsey

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