LeBron James on paying college athletes: ‘I would’ve been one of those kids … the university would have been able to capitalize’

James fully supports a new law that will allow college athletes in California to profit off their names and likenesses

LeBron James never played a day of NCAA basketball, jumping straight from high school to the NBA in 2003.

But that doesn’t mean he can’t imagine what it would have been like if he’d played in college.

James spoke with reporters Monday about the issue of pay for college athletes. He’s been outspoken in support of California’s recently passed law that will allow athletes at universities there to profit off their names and likenesses. In fact, California Gov. Gavin Newsom appeared on James’ HBO show “The Shop” this week to sign that bill, which the NCAA opposes.

James told reporters that he can imagine how a university would have capitalized on his fame if he had played college ball.

“For sure I would have been one of those kids if I had went off to Ohio State or if I had went off to any one of these big-time colleges where pretty much that 23 jersey would have been sold all over the place,” James said (via the Los Angeles Times). “My body would have been on the NCAA Basketball Game 2004.

“The Schottenstein Center (Ohio State basketball arena) would have been sold out every single night if I was there. Coming from … me and my mom didn’t have anything, we wouldn’t have been able to benefit at all from it, and the university would have been able to capitalize on everything.”

Newsome said California’s bill would “initiate dozens of other states to introduce similar legislation, and it’s going to change college sports for the better.”

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