- LeBron called the NCAA “corrupt” following news of widespread illicit payments in college basketball.
- James believes the NCAA exploits its football and basketball players.
- He wants a strong NBA minor league to help young players get ready for the NBA.
“I don’t know if there’s any fixing the NCAA. I don’t think there is,” James said Tuesday. “It’s what’s been going on for many, many, many, many years. I don’t know how you can fix it. I don’t see how you can fix it.”
He went on to say, “I don’t know all the rules and regulations about it, but I do know what five-star athletes bring to a campus, both in basketball and football,I know how much these college coaches get paid. I know how much these colleges are gaining off these kids. … I’ve always heard the narrative that they get a free education, but you guys are not bringing me on campus to get an education, you guys are bringing me on it to help you get to a Final Four or to a national championship, so it’s just a weird thing.”
James went on to say that he wishes the NCAA would have a stronger minor league or farm system, and mentioned European soccer academies as an example.
“We’ve got a lot of kids, we’re worried about kids coming into the league early but they’re not ready, then out of the league because of that. … We have to figure out if a kid feels like at 16 or 17, he doesn’t feel like the NCAA is for him or whatever the case may be, we have a system in place where we have a farm league where they can learn and be around the professionals, but not actually become a professional at that point in time. Not actually play in the NBA, but learn for a few years. Learn what the NBA life is about, learn how to move and walk and talk and things of that nature.”
The NBA G League is growing well (previously the D-League until the start of this season) currently has 26 teams, with plans to add a 27th next year. But college basketball is still the overwhelming preference of top basketball prospects as far as trying to get to the NBA is concerned.
The ESPN report states that James, ” . . . also said he plans to talk to NBA commissioner Adam Silver about further plans for expansion the [G-League] can potentially make to support teenage basketball players.”