Chicago’s Simeon Career Academy sports a legendary prep basketball program, developing three recruits who topped their graduating class rankings. The late great Ben Wilson led the Wolverines to their first state championship in the 1980s, Derrick Rose captured back-to-back state titles last decade and Jabari Parker won four straight title trophies from 2010-13.
So, when LeBron James stamped his King James logo on the school, it raised some eyebrows.
On one hand, Rose is an adidas representative, somewhat controversially so, and some might argue James disrespected his fellow former MVP on Monday by literally slapping his Nike brand all over Simeon, the basketball gym and its students, particularly since LeBron’s Cleveland Cavaliers and D-Rose’s Chicago Bulls square off in the NBA’s season opener at the United Center on Tuesday night — some 12 miles north of the school where Rose ascended.
On the other hand, Simeon has long had ties with Nike, quite lucratively, so what’s wrong with the face of the brand and a program that’s arguably been the basketball king of Chicago sharing an evening together? In the grand scheme of things, nothing, really. But considering Parker signed with Jordan Brand upon entering the NBA, it may have been wiser to wait for him to represent Nike at Simeon when the Milwaukee Bucks visit Chicago later this season.
At the very least, if Rose was checking social media on the eve of the NBA season, he probably did a double take when seeing James write on Instagram, “Huge S/O to my young boys and all at Simeon Academy,” before adding, “#TeamLeBron Welcome to the movement.”