At what cost? LeBron brings attention, money to alma mater

by karlhenk

Niles, Ohio — LeBron James sells.

He sells jerseys. He sells tickets. He even sells sponsorships to his birthday parties.

James can sell just about anything, anywhere he goes, including at high-school sporting events.


James and University of Akron men’s basketball coach Keith Dambrot watched Dambrot’s son, Robbie, play soccer for St. Vincent-St. Mary, James’ alma mater, when the Irish played at Medina last Thursday. When word spread that James was in the house, the paid customers were on their way.

“All of a sudden, every kid in Medina was showing up at our soccer game,” said Medina Athletic Director Jeff Harrison. “He treated our kids well and our attendance was above average.”

After the 2-2 tie, Harrison said James stayed to sign autographs and take pictures. He also tipped some youngsters a dollar each to get him some popcorn.

On Friday, James showed up at his alma mater’s 17-14 football victory over Archbishop Hoban in Akron.

LeBron James brings money wherever he goes. But for a Catholic school, do the monetary benefits of having a professional athlete around outweigh the moral drawbacks?

But are appearances by James something St. Vincent-St. Mary should embrace?

After all, James has been accused of undertipping restaurant staff, soliciting prostitution and definitely has fathered children out of wedlock.

St. Vincent-St. Mary is a well-recognized Catholic high school, which strives to educate and develop young minds in the name of God.

It even says so in the school’s mission statement:

And now, James is practicing with the high school’s football team.

From a business-ethics perspective, would you want LeBron James — not exactly the model Catholic — continuing to hang around young, impressionable minds?

Do the monetary benefits outweigh the moral drawbacks?