LeBron James shoots back at Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim for Darius Bazley/agent comment

Elsa/Getty Images
5 Comments

Former Syracuse commit Darius Bazley hired agent Rich Paul, signed a $1 million shoe deal and will sit out the upcoming season waiting to become eligible for the NBA draft.

That left Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim – who has a history of spouting nonsense when it comes to players getting paid – making salty-sounding comments.

Jeff Goodman of Stadium:

LeBron:

Ben Simmons, another Paul client:

Boeheim:

Boeheim has said he was joking, and maybe he was to a degree. But I sense these are issues LeBron takes seriously.

First is the implication he steers Paul’s agency. Unquestionably, LeBron opened doors for Paul and continues to lend his name to Paul’s endeavors. But they both want to make clear, for reasons tangible and intangible, Paul is advising clients on his own.

LeBron is also taking aim at the entire system of amateurism. In that regard, he and Boeheim are on opposite sides.

Boeheim, via Donna Ditota of Syracuse.com:

“I don’t think we should ever compensate players. I think we can do as much as we can for players. The cost of attendance is good. They get more meals now so they can keep their meal money. I think those are all good things and I think more of those things should have been done. But I don’t think you can compensate players straight out. What’s the salary? How much? Do you pay football, men’s basketball, women’s basketball? We got a great lacrosse team, do we pay those guys?

“And everybody says, ‘The coach makes this and the players (don’t make anything).’ The player is 17 years old. I’ve been working my whole life. There’s a lot of 17-year-old kids that don’t make money. Most of them. These 17-year-old kids are getting a $75,000 scholarship. And they compare that to a coach making all this money. What’s the comparison there? I’m a grown man. I’ve been working for 50 years. That’s just not a comparison. It makes no sense.  You might as well say that NBA players aren’t making enough money because the owner’s worth $2 billion. So the players should be making more money. It just makes no sense.

Syracuse’s football, men’s basketball, women’s basketball and lacrosse coaches all earn different salaries. Athletic directors around the country figure it out. Surely, they could determine how much to pay players. That absurd argument doesn’t fly in any other industry.

Salary shouldn’t be determined purely by experience, either. The most important factor is an employee’s value. There are many people who’ve worked 60 years. Boeheim doesn’t want all them paid more than he gets.

NBA players got what they could negotiate for. College players are limited by the NCAA’s cartel, which depresses wages. Yet, college sports generates massive revenue that has to go somewhere. Usually, it winds up in the hands of coaches and administrators. It is not a fair system.

People like LeBron are working to change it, no matter how big mad it makes Boeheim, who’s enriching himself in the current setup.