LeBron James, Student Athlete? Ranking the NBA Star’s Ohio State Athletic Options

Which OSU sport is Akron’s hometown hero, onetime Cleveland Cavalier and current L.A. Laker best-suited for? Columbus Monthly has the answers.

Chris Gaitten
LeBron James sent Ohio State fans into a tizzy when he asked on social media whether he was still eligible to play college sports. We bet he’d have a heckuva volleyball spike.

On Sept. 24, LeBron James sent Ohio State fans atwitter when he asked on social media whether he was still eligible to play college sports. Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith replied in a tweet that he could be—in a sport other than basketball. Then Smith practically rolled out the scarlet-and-gray carpet—“Would love to help you!”

So when King James becomes a Buckeye—because he would never publicly spurn his home state fans—which sport will he play? Here are some options, ranked according to probability on our Buckeye leaf scale.

Volleyball (5 leaves)

There’s already a volleyball recruiting profile for James on the National Collegiate Scouting Association’s website. It’s fake, but there would clearly be a battle for his services (and monster blocks).

Esports (4 leaves)

James loves video games, and though esports are nonvarsity, playing from an ergonomic chair might be more tempting than a letter jacket following a career of liquefying his knee cartilage on the hard court.

Baseball (3 leaves)

After watching Michael Jordan throw away two seasons on baseball, James would probably pass on America’s pastime. It’s the only way he doesn’t want to be like Mike.

Golf (2 leaves)

Think James’ athleticism would translate well to the links? Think again. A recent video taken at Top Golf revealed his stunted swing—it’s like watching a Maserati back into a dumpster.

Football (1 leaf)

Sure, James was an all-state wide receiver in high school, but forget it. No billionaire is taking head shots on crossing routes in Ann Arbor.

This story is from the January 2023 issue of Columbus Monthly.