Attempting to describe how unwelcome he would be in the state of Kentucky, Christian Laettner once remarked that, in a urinary emergency, it would be safer to use a bottle while driving as opposed to stopping anywhere in the Bluegrass. After LeBron James‘ hour-long atrocity exhibition announcing his intention to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers and join the Miami Heat, one could see how James might feel the same way about his home state of Ohio, at least for a little while. That metaphorical shoe-to-the-chest is one from which many Ohioans — as the Gilbert Manifesto attests — are still reeling.
Not so, however, on the Ohio State University campus — at least within the men’s basketball program. Since we’re talking about shoes, Doug Lesmerises (whose last name means “the wild cherries” in French, if we’re not mistaken), a writer for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, reported yesterday that Thad Matta and his Buckeyes harbor no anger against James, specifically meaning that the basketball Buckeyes will continue to wear the LeBron-style Nike shoes as they have for the past three seasons. In Lesmerises’ report, you can see that Matta has chosen to take the high road. “In my opinion, LeBron still loves Ohio, still loves Ohio State,” he explained, later adding, “It’s more who he is as a basketball player, not who he’s playing for.” At the end of the article, though, Matta does indeed note that, “I do wish he would have stayed at Cleveland.”
We await Dan Gilbert’s response. He’ll probably choose to withhold comment on this one. But…let’s not be hasty. Remember, as we learned during the Cavs’ pursuit of Tom Izzo, Gilbert is an alum of Big Ten rival Michigan State.