Buckeyes, Cavaliers, WWW

LeBron James “Rivarly” t-shirt more divisive than politics: While We’re Waiting

LeBron James Ohio State Ezekiel Elliott
Matthew Emmons / USA TODAY Sports

Did you see Twitter last week? A tweet was sent out, randomly and innocently, in the middle of the afternoon. The guy who sent it out parts his hair on the side. He considered himself a businessman of sorts. Investments mostly. And the second that tweet hit, the line was drawn in the sand. The replies were many, and they were polarizing. Two sides, steadfast in their beliefs, proclaiming their feelings in ways that varied from direct statements to passive aggressiveness toward the other side.

That tweet? This one, sharing news that Nike was set to release a LeBron James t-shirt.

You see, it’s not just any t-shirt. Sure, it has James’ No. 23 on it, but the design itself was one that the Ohio State Buckeyes would be wearing in their much-anticipated, annual matchup against the Michigan Wolverines. It’s a game so big, regardless of standings and story lines that it’s still called “The Game.”

James’ ties to Ohio State are writ large. The school wears’ James-branded gear on the basketball courts. Their cleats are modified versions of James’ Soldier line. He has a locker in their men’s basketball locker room. Nike, itself, recently agreed to a deal with Ohio State that would pay the school upwards of $250 million. James is a hometown guy who just so happens to be the best at his profession at the age of 32. He returned home and won Cleveland its first championship in 50-plus years. He’s a global icon. So naturally, this would all be taken in stride.

Wrong.

https://twitter.com/aphaenke/status/930584516862849025

Lame. Disgusting. And DO YOU REALIZE LeBron James never went to The Ohio State University? This is simply a sample of some of the mentions I received upon posting a link to a shirt (which you can buy right here) with people legit angry that Nike would dare try to sell fans something (which they don’t have to buy, by the way) that includes their most famous athlete coupled with the school in which they have a substantial investment.

That LeBron never attended Ohio State (let alone play in the rivalry game, apparently) was super, super offensive to a lot of people.

In the other corner, however, are folks who either like LeBron, like Ohio State, or both, and really like the concept of having the world’s best basketball player have a fun concept shirt that celebrates both the player and the school, while committing to the rivalry by blocking out the M in JAMES with the famous red X.

https://twitter.com/tanknitrous/status/931158800043737092

https://twitter.com/tannerbalik/status/930869330077765632

A fan committed to the whole X thing in his Twitter name is all about it. One fan says it’s the only Ohio State gear he would buy. One fan even wants it for his birthday. Here’s hoping Angela came in clutch for Jordan Speith Jr.

The replies were roughly equal. With the RTs piling up through the week, it was fun to see the waves of replies come from folks who clearly enjoy the shirt, and then the waves of those who really, really can’t stand it. There was no middle ground to be hand. No nuance. No understanding of the business side of things. It was as divisive of a sports-related item I’ve seen this side of Colin Kaepernick. People either swallowed it whole, or spit it out. There was no time for chewing.

2017, ya’all.1

 

This Week in #BleacherReport

This Week in Picks:

What. A. Week. Seriously—it was fantastic. After weeks of fledgling around the middle of the pack, I put together a 12-2 week ATS in my weekly pool. It would have been 13-1 if the Browns had not Browns’d late in the fourth quarter. A 12-win week not only put me in the money for the year, it allowed me to hedge my winnings on Monday night. Couple this with wins in both fantasy leagues (one by .6) and making money in FanDuel, and it was a week for the ages. If it sounds like I’m bragging, I’m not—I’m just very, very excited to have a week where it all finally came together. If there’s any bad news, it was that my TEN pick in this space last week was changed to PIT before Thursday’s kick. While it benefited me in the above mentioned pool, it is a red mark in this tabulation. I’ll take it.

Tennessee (-3) at INDIANAPOLIS
Carolina (-4.5) at NY JETS
Green Bay (+15) at PITTSBURGH

YTD ATS: 19-14 (54.2 percent)
Last Week: 2-1

  1. Apologies for no #ActualSportswriting this week. Been a rough few days in the office and I haven’t had much time to read. Next week. Promise. []