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The Early Lead
Posted at 03:08 PM ET, 07/11/2011

LeBron James to outfit Kentucky, Ohio State and Miami basketball teams in Nike brand jerseys


The LeBron James brand continues to grow much faster than his NBA championship trophy case. (Mike Ehrmann - GETTY IMAGES)
Championships be damned, LeBron James continues to expand his sphere of influence in the basketball world.

According to a report in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel from Saturday, three Division I programs have signed on to don jerseys sporting Nike’s LeBron James brand.

Kentucky, Ohio State — which has sported an “L23” James-inspired logo on its uniforms since 2007 — and South Beach neighbors Miami have all reportedly hitched their wagons to King James’ star.

If it’s true that you’ve got to beat the best to be the best, then James may well be on his way in the college ranks. Michael Jordan’s Nike jerseys — the Jordan Brand — are already form-fitting five-time NCAA champions North Carolina, Georgetown and Cal.

But not everyone is excited about scandal-ravaged Ohio State associating itself with the man who left the hometown Cavaliers in the lurch.

This from Cleveland Plain Dealer columnist Bill Livingston:

“Cleveland, with one of the most fervent Ohio State fan bases in the country, rolled out the red carpet for the Buckeyes in March, providing an enormous homecourt advantage in the two NCAA Tournament rounds at The Q. Now the payback is game-day, official uniform homage to James, Public Enemy No.1A, after Art Modell’s eternal No. 1?

Now the real question becomes, who will win a championship first? King James or a college team wearing his jerseys?

Livingston might choose option c) neither.

“One thing, Buckeyes. You might as well just make the games last 30 minutes now, not 40. Either that or you’ll violate public nudity ordinances.
“Because we all know that uniform disappears in the fourth quarter.”

By  |  03:08 PM ET, 07/11/2011

 
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