View Full Version : LeBling James
01-12-2003, 09:12 PM
Thought this might generate a little discussion. I must admit, I was a bit of a fan when SLAM magazine first mentioned him... even when SI came out with the story. But now it's gotten to the point where it's just sickening.
<< Expensive SUV raises question about James' eligibility
CLEVELAND -- LeBron James is traveling like a professional player these days. And not just on the court.
James, the nation's most hyped player and expected No. 1 pick in this year's NBA draft, is driving around Akron in a Hummer H2, a sports utility vehicle popular with many pro athletes.
James' ride -- with a base retail price of nearly $50,000 -- has state high school officials wondering if the 18-year-old has jeopardized his amateur standing.
"We have some concerns,'' said Clair Muscaro, commissioner of the Ohio High School Athletic Association. "The thing I'm concerned about is that it was (a) gift from the outside. ... When our schools see something like that, it throws up a red flag. It's different than a parent buying their son or daughter a small vehicle.''
The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that James, a senior at Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary High School, was given the vehicle as an 18th birthday present by his mother, Gloria.
The SUV is outfitted with three televisions and a hookup for computer games. Gloria James obtained a bank loan to finance the purchase, the paper said quoting anonymous sources close to the team.
Gloria James declined to comment Sunday after her son scored 30 points to lead the top-ranked Fighting Irish to a 76-41 win over 18th-ranked Detroit Redford at the Cleveland Convocation Center.
"I've got nothing to say about that,'' she said.
Muscaro said the athletic association is interested in hearing what the 600-student private Catholic school has to say about the young superstar's vehicle.
"We have not yet talked to the school,'' Muscaro said. "We plan to follow up with a phone call. We'll see if they know anything about it. We would like to find out what they know. I think it is important for our member schools to know what's going on.''
According to an athletic association bylaw, an athlete forfeits his or her amateur status by "capitalizing on athletic fame by receiving money or gifts of monetary value.''
"If he has violated any of the rules, he would have to give up his amateur eligibility from the time the car was delivered,'' Muscaro said.
St. Vincent-St. Mary athletic director Grant Innocenzi said the school plans to comply with the athletic association's inquiry.
"Our school officials will fully cooperate and expect our coaches, as well as the family, to act similarly,'' he said.
If ordered by the athletic association, Innocenzi said the school would provide documentation on how the car was purchased.
"If they said they wanted it to prove his eligibility, we would do that,'' Innocenzi said before Sunday's game.
Innocenzi said he has not seen James' SUV, and he would not comment on whether he was concerned that James had jeopardized his amateur status.
James' coach refused to answer questions about the situation.
"We're just talking basketball,'' Dru Joyce said. "I'm a basketball coach, and he's a basketball player.''
But not just any basketball player, which is why his choice of personal transportation has caused an uproar with some of the athletic association's 823 members.
Muscaro said he has received phone calls, letters and e-mails since the beginning of the season from parents and coaches questioning St. Vincent-St. Mary's travel to out-of-state games and ticket prices for James' games.
"It has been one thing after another,'' Muscaro said.
Because of James' popularity, he and his teammates have played in 10,000-plus seat arenas around the country and many of the school's games are available on television for a fee in northeast Ohio.
"I've heard from parents who have had to pay $12 to $15 to see their son play just because they were playing against St. Vincent-St. Mary,'' Muscaro said. "They're used to paying only $3 or $4, and now it's like they're going to see a big-time college. Is that fair?''
Muscaro said St. Vincent-St. Mary has cooperated with previous OHSAA inquires about James.
01-12-2003, 09:59 PM
Hahha like the LeBling James name i'm gonna have to borrow that one from you. Yea he has really gotten arrogant. When I first seen him in Slam it was what like 4 years ago? Maybe 5? To see how this has become has gotten out of hand. This is like some movie where you know how the outcome is gonna be. High School players dominates high schoolers. High School player gets drafted by NBA and is hyped up. High School players doesn't show much in first season. I don't ever believe we will be able to call him a top 5 player in this league but I hope I am wrong.
01-13-2003, 12:35 AM
that "bling" crap is getting a bit old... it should have died out before it ever started.
01-13-2003, 05:39 AM
"According to an athletic association bylaw, an athlete forfeits his or her amateur status by "capitalizing on athletic fame by receiving money or gifts of monetary value." "
What about the story about LeBron giving away shoes that some of the shoe companies had given him? He was getting on the intercom in the cafeteria at school and asking school spirit related questions and giving away shoes as a prize. That means the shoe companies were giving him stuff, and now, all of a sudden, they are worried about him getting something for nothing. The school is making money off of him by selling tickets to the game for bigger bucks and having the games on pay-per-view, which is cool as long as an athlete doesn't get something free. They screw players in our country and say, "it's the rules". Bah, humbug.
David: It's all about the benjamins. If they ever allow players to knowingly receive free and valuable property or worse yet out right money, then we might have to look at paying the players. That would mean lots less money for those currently profiting off of the "amateur" sports.
These sports were supposed to be for the enjoyment and enrichment of young players. They are turning and in many case have already turned into big businesses. Look at major college sports. These are multimillion dollar a year businesses which for the most part don't have to pay the employees who do most of the work. It's a great scam if you can get away with it.
01-13-2003, 12:06 PM
In theory, college athletes aren't exactly "unpaid." In almost all cases, they are receiving a full scholarship to a university in exchange for their services as an athlete. Once upon a time, an education was actually considered a valuable thing. Nowadays unfortunately, most athletes view the "education" part of their collegiate career as a mere nuisance that can sometimes threaten their eligibility.
NYMavFan: In the same vane you could say that private school atheletes are "paid" by receiving atheletic scholarships. But I don't buy that argument and I don't buy the one about college. Considering the number of hours that college atheletes have to work (40) they could easily afford college and room and board and all other benefits that they get from the college. Many don't graduate. They receive little benefit from college. In essence college is the minor leagues for many of our sporting franchises. Especially the big money ones like football and basketball. And don't put it all on the atheletes. This system was engineered and is perpetuated by people looking to make big money off of the atheletes while giving as little as possible in return. For major college football and basketball programs the education part of scholarships has become nearly nonexistant, certainly for the more highly talented players. When you offer scholarships to guys who can barely read, I don't think you can say you're trying to offer them a valuable education. College isn't for everyone, unless you have tremendous athletic skills.
01-13-2003, 02:35 PM
LRB, re-read my post. We're essentially saying the same thing, except that you are viewing this from a purely monetary standpoint. At one point in time, before sports became big money business, going to college as a student-athlete WAS all about the education. The best athletes often attended the best universities, take for example the heyday of the ivy league in sports. The whole point now is that the importance of sports has outgrown education in much of the general population's minds. Big money has followed that shift in thinking, and now we're left with big name sports programs with universities attached to them.
I agree with you--nowadays the claim that athletes are trading their services in exchange for an opportunity for education is a sham. That's the way it USED to work and probably SHOULD work, but not anymore. The system hasn't adapted to accommodate this change in conditions, and as a result, schools often profit mightily off of an athlete's work without any *monetary* compensation. However, you shouldn't forget that many of these players often are not physically or mentally mature enough to go pro right after high school. Going to college gives them an opportunity to grow and mature and learn from some of the best coaches in the game. You could view the opporutnity they have to develop as another benefit they receive in exchange for their services as a player.
01-13-2003, 03:16 PM
LeBron James is overrated.
<< At one point in time, before sports became big money business, going to college as a student-athlete WAS all about the education. >>
Don't disagree with you there. In fact you can still find this outside of Division I schools.
<< Going to college gives them an opportunity to grow and mature and learn from some of the best coaches in the game. You could view the opporutnity they have to develop as another benefit they receive in exchange for their services as a player. >>
I'll agree with you for the ones good enough to make the pros. But what about the ones who aren't? And I don't like the whole hypocricy of the the thing. IMO we should totally scap Divison I football and basketball and replace them with minor league teams owned and operated by the colleges that have to pay the players. Schools not wanting to participate could go down to division II. At least remove the restriction from players where they can work. No this system sucks and takes undue advantage of young atheletes. At least with a semi pro team they could organize in a union to protect themselves. Rent the movie Varsity Blues and see what the coach does to the players in that movie for his own personal gain. I know several people who have had like experiences in high school and college. I had a good friend who was permantely crippled by a coaches stupididty in high school. I myself played through I don't know how many practices with concussions in junior and senior high. Some of that is changing, but these students put their health and in a few cases their life on the line with little to no compensation. The risks increase tremendously with the money. People are more than willing to risk a players health to make them more money. I think our whole amateur system needs to be revamped. It certainly doesn't work like it should in many cases.
01-13-2003, 08:37 PM
<< LeBron James is overrated. >>
And until he performs on the NBA court he will continue to be.
01-14-2003, 10:45 PM
lebron dropped 50 and hit 11 3's, dayam
01-17-2003, 03:32 PM
Now it makes sense. He did it for the tax write-off ;-)
<< It's not just a Hummer, it's a tax break
By BRAD WONG
SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER REPORTER
Jan. 17 - BELLEVUE -- Standing next to his shiny Hummer H2, John Brightbill recounted a perk that a fellow owner noted about driving this immense sport utility vehicle.
"He said some young women wanted to drive around the block with him," said Brightbill, a real estate broker. "That hasn't happened to me yet."
Real estate broker John Brightbill stands beside his Hummer H2. He is considering the tax write-off -- "I've been using it partially for business." Gilbert W. Arias / Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Click for larger photo
But some people have a more practical reason for laying down $50,000 to $60,000 to buy an H2: a federal tax deduction of nearly $38,000.
"The government is sort of subsidizing people for buying these land yachts," said Henry Pierman, a certified public accountant with Hauser & Associates in Bellevue. "It's one of those odd things that happen. I would say maybe half of the CPAs are aware of this loophole."
In the mid-1980s, he said, Congress tightened rules about how much money can be written off on luxury automobiles used for business -- but excluded vehicles with a gross weight of 6,000 pounds or more, partly an attempt to help farmers afford tractors, large trucks and other heavy equipment.
But many SUVs, including the 6,400-pound H2, fall into that heavyweight category, and now a new class of small-business owners and the self-employed, such as construction company executives, doctors, real estate agents and lawyers, is qualifying for the deduction.
The main requirement, said Pierman, is that people use their SUVs more than 50 percent of the time in their business.
"The soccer mom isn't going to get a write-off for buying one," he said.
The loophole has drawn critics, including Taxpayers for Common Sense, a non-profit group in Washington, D.C.
"You have a litany of these 6,000-pound vehicles that were not originally intended to be deducted," said Aileen Roder, the group's program director. "The original goal was to help family farmers and small businesses who need these vehicles."
Her group estimates that the tax incentive's application to SUVs cost the federal treasury $840 million to $987 million last year.
It's not known just how many buyers of H2s and similar SUVs would qualify for the tax break in Washington state.
But Hummer dealers said that since its debut in July, the H2 has been rolling off their lots in droves and ending up at the homes of professional athletes, doctors and businesspeople.
"For the right people, it's a pretty hefty advantage," said Darrel Landers of Dick Hannah Hummer in Vancouver, referring to the tax incentive.
The state's five dealers in Bellevue, Tacoma, Vancouver, Lynnwood and Spokane have sold more than 450 of the H2s.
"It's as hot as I've ever seen it, and I've been in the business for 40 years," said Brent Barron, a general sales assistant for Osborne McCann Cadillac in Tacoma, which has sold 90 H2s. "I could sell 190 of them if I had them."
"It's outselling any high-end sport utility vehicle," said Bruce Huskinson, product manager for Hummer of Bellevue, which has sold 120.
Several owners and dealers say the H2 is selling so well because it's sporty, stable and more practical for daily use than the larger H1 model. That's not to mention cheaper: The H1 sells for $110,000 to $120,000.
The H2 can come with such high-end features as a built-in telephone and a global positioning satellite system. Dealers also point to its power and climbing ability.
Then there's the tax incentive. Word of the potential savings brought pauses and gasps from some owners. A few joked that they need to chat with their accountants.
Brightbill, the 63-year-old Eastside realty agent, is considering the tax write-off, which he heard about after buying his H2. "I've been using it partially for business," he said.
Brad Sonne, 35, a construction company owner from Mukilteo, said he may qualify for the tax provision, although he bought his H2 for personal use.
"It's just one of the coolest things out there. I don't know how to explain it," he said. "I saw it in an ad in August, and when I saw it, I said, 'That's it.' "
He sees nothing wrong with the tax incentive.
"It's a great deal for construction companies who are buying everyday vehicles for their crew, and where they may have put it off for another year," he said.
"A tax break is a tax break. I don't see anyone complaining about it when it's a tax break for families."
The tax deduction is a combination of rules written in the 1980s and business incentives passed after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
Pierman, the Bellevue accountant, calculated the $38,000 deduction by taking an H2 costing $55,000 -- and presuming the buyer falls into a 40 percent tax bracket. Many SUV buyers are in this category, he said.
For 2002, a qualified buyer can take an immediate deduction of $24,000.
After that deduction is taken, about $9,300 can be deducted through a bonus depreciation on capital expenses, part of post-Sept. 11 legislation.
In addition, there's the normal depreciation over five years that can be taken on vehicles used for business. The 20 percent deduction in the first year is taken on the amount left after the $24,000 deduction and the bonus depreciation. That, Pierman said, comes to $4,340.
The total comes to $37,640 that can be deducted in the first year. That would reduce the buyer's income tax by about $15,000, he said.
Other vehicles besides the H2 that qualify for the tax break include the Mercedes-Benz M-Class SUV and Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe, and some pickup trucks and cargo vans, according to Pierman.
He lamented the attention to the tax incentive.
"I think it's actually bad because Congress may close the loophole," he said. "If they see something that the public sees as 'too good of a thing.' You know, subsidizing gas hogs."
There are also complaints about the H2's fuel economy, about 10 miles per gallon. The Seattle-based Transportation Choices Coalition argues that SUVs contribute a high percentage of greenhouse gas emissions because of their high fuel consumption.
"I think a lot of people aren't aware of the impact on human life and the natural environment," said Peter Hurley, executive director. "Our solution is to design them safer and more efficiently."
Bellevue resident Karen Santa, 46, is aware of that sentiment. Since she switched from driving a Mercedes-Benz and bought her H2 in December, activists have left a note and a bumper sticker on the vehicle.
The sticker read: "With every tank full of gas, we're killing Americans." The note read: "And the reason you bought this gas guzzler . . ."
Still, Santa is pleased with the vehicle's handling, appearance and her global positioning satellite system. She's already taken her H2 off road in the snow and has used it to pull her son in a sled on Crystal Mountain.
"It's a fabulous vehicle. You just push a button and say call home and it calls home," she said of the telephone feature.
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