Photo: LeBron James gets locker at Ohio State

@marcushartman

@marcushartman

Walk into the new Ohio State basketball facility, and you’ll think NBA superstar LeBron James has joined the Buckeyes. He hasn’t, and he won’t be involved with the team in any capacity. But the program did give him a locker, complete with a nameplate, in its new $19-million facility.

For what? It makes more sense than you might think. You see, James’ Nike line outfits the Buckeyes, and it has for the last handful of years.

According to Doug Lesmerises, the Buckeyes will display shoes, jerseys and warmups in the King’s locker when recruits visit campus.

Really, it’s all about wooing the recruits with cool things like this.

About Brent Yarina BTN.com senior editor Brent Yarina covers football and men’s basketball for BTN.com. He writes the popular uniform feature “Clothes Call,” which also focuses on the latest cosmetic changes across Big Ten arenas and stadiums. Read all of his work here. You can subscribe to Yarina’s RSS feed and follow him on Twitter @BTNBrentYarina.

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Show Comments (23 Comments)
23 Post Your Comment
Mindy Ringhofer on 9/3/2013 @ 6:20pm EDT Said:

But what use is wooing new recruits with something like that? He didn’t play for the Buckeyes! At least woo them with someone who’s played there before.. Jim Jackson!? Lawrence Funderburke????? RIDICULOUS.

Todd Johnson on 9/3/2013 @ 6:37pm EDT Said:

How is this not an NCAA violation? Trying to claim a particular pro star endorses a university?

Dennis Mockler on 9/3/2013 @ 6:42pm EDT Said:

If Ohio State gets recruits for something this misleading let them have them. I used to respect Thad Matta and Ohio State a great deal. That has changed significantly with this. Maybe they should create lockers for Magic, Larry, Kareem and few others. Matta and OSU don’t need to conduct themselves like this, they’re too good. LOW CLASS.

Chad on 9/3/2013 @ 6:46pm EDT Said:

OSU basketball recruits must not be very bright if this nonsense impresses them.

Wayne Zeides on 9/3/2013 @ 7:08pm EDT Said:

I never liked LeBron even when he played for StV-StM…give me a break…

Brandon on 9/3/2013 @ 7:37pm EDT Said:

@Mindy: Oh yea because everyone remembers Jim Jackson and Lawrence Funderburke. Didn’t they play for um, um….Who did they play for in the NBA again?

hadley smith on 9/3/2013 @ 7:46pm EDT Said:

If LeBron played at ohno, then yes this would make sense. To me, they are just grasping at straws here because the recruiting hasn’t been the best lately and there doing this as a gimmick to woo the recruits that visit. As mindy said, honor a player WHO’S PLAYED THERE!! What about Jerry Lucas..John Havlechek (sp) ..even Bobby Knight…

B1GFan on 9/3/2013 @ 8:29pm EDT Said:

Lebron has no connection to that school. That is lame.

Bob Patterson on 9/3/2013 @ 11:54pm EDT Said:

Got to be some kind of NCAA violation. I to have lost alot of respect for Matta, this move in low class

Kobe on 9/4/2013 @ 11:49am EDT Said:

I think it’s hilarious. They should just enroll him in the same courses that Katzenmoyer took, it’s not like he had to go to class. I wonder what a guy like Robert Smith thinks?

Ty Waite on 9/4/2013 @ 12:17pm EDT Said:

LeBron has said many times he would have attended OSU if he didn’t go straight to the pros…. LeBron has always been a big Buckeye fan, and he just happens to the the best player in the nba.. so what’s the big deal? Haha.. keep hating… We will just keep winning… GO BUCKS!!!

Sam on 9/4/2013 @ 12:31pm EDT Said:

I like LaBron. I also remember LaBron saying that if he hadn’t turned pro after high school, he would have gone to Ohio State. I also remember seeing LaBron sitting in the stands supporting the Buckeyes. After all, he is an Ohioan. Thank you LaBron!

R Davis on 9/4/2013 @ 1:32pm EDT Said:

About as stupid as firing Gee. drdixie

Phil on 9/4/2013 @ 1:48pm EDT Said:

I’m sure it’s not a violation because Nike has told the NCAA that it isn’t one. The NCAA will change it’s policies for any who gives them enough cash.

Ken on 9/4/2013 @ 2:41pm EDT Said:

First, Lebron is from the state of Ohio and has said that if he did attend college then he would have gone to Ohio state, he has been seen at many OSU games. As for being a violation, clearly its not, admit it, you are all mad your school did not think of it first, its no different than all those special uniforms worn made by Nike, those are recruiting tools, its sad what people get in a huff over, Johnny Menzel signs thousands of autographs for money and no outrage over that, but OSU puts a locker for Lebron on campus and people are beside themselves in shock and disappointment, haters gonna hate I guess.

MattySold on 9/4/2013 @ 3:42pm EDT Said:

You people groaning are complete Freaking Idiots… Lebron is from Akron, NOT Miami, Louisville, Boston or LA… Akron, OHIO. If the pro rules for staying at school 1 year were enacted before he graduated, he said he would have went to OSU. He’s practiced with the team, been a huge supporter of the team and I’m sure gave them permission. And, recruiting is not only based on player rank but how many players. OSU only had a couple open spots this year but still has 3 players in the top 30, 2014 ranked #2 currently? Yeah, that’s terrible… As for not honoring past great players… Today’s recruits barely remember Jordan playing much less Lucas or Havlechek. They are honored in the school and on campus, just not the locker room. Any other school that wears Lebron Nike gear can use that as a recruiting point also.

xYike on 9/4/2013 @ 3:46pm EDT Said:

Wow, the amount of crybabies is astonishing. “I used to have respect for Matta …” Oh no how will Thad ever sleep soundly through the night without your respect!

phpearso on 9/4/2013 @ 3:53pm EDT Said:

@Wayne Zeides: You would have loved to have him on your team and you know it. ….jealousy rears its ugly head.. huh!

Jim Belcastro on 9/4/2013 @ 6:52pm EDT Said:

I been Ohio St fan all my life, i’m now 60, I will not forget James left Ohio, his fans in Ohio for money I think this joke it all about more money for James, put up locker for Robert Smith or any other great Ohio State athlete and we have lot of them

Justin on 9/4/2013 @ 8:44pm EDT Said:

OMG, people. Lebron is from AKRON. He stated a MILLION TIMES he would have played at AKRON if he would have played college ball. His high school coach Kieth Dambrott, and his three teammates ALL went to Akron. He still to this day helps the team out. He has summer camps at Akron and plays open gym when he is in town.

Larry on 9/5/2013 @ 8:55am EDT Said:

It really doesn’t mean squat where Lebron would have played ball, because he didn’t and we will never know for sure. But I did see a video of him saying he would have played for Ohio State. Anyway, the new locker facility is what will woo new recruits, and since in the eyes of todays youngsters, Lebron is king of the court, his locker, is just a “part” of the overall impression the facility will make. The article said, his locker is just a showcase for the line of equipment the players will receive.

David Walimaki on 9/5/2013 @ 5:22pm EDT Said:

So the Buckeyes are an advertising tool for Nike…and PROUD of it?
Telling recruits they will be able to wear Nike stuff….like a LOT of other colleges.
Pretty bush league, IMHO. I would expect better from a college like OSU.

Greg Hammel on 9/5/2013 @ 10:57pm EDT Said:

So, Iowa got in trouble for having Ashton Kutcher talk to recruits, but Ohio State can use Lebron this way??? Doesn’t make any sense.

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