By all accounts, the latest edition of the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry is the biggest game on the final full Saturday plate of the 2016 season. It’s so big, in fact, that ESPN is expanding its College GameDay pregame show from the usual three hours to five.
It’s a game with a magnitude, you could say, that’s fit for a King.
LeBron James, a longtime and very focal fan of his home state’s flagship university, will be on the sidelines for the latest edition of The Game in Columbus, one that will pit his No. 2 Buckeyes against the No. 3 Wolverines. In addition to James, several of his Cleveland teammates will be in tow prior to traveling to the Cavaliers’ game against the 76ers in Philadelphia later on tonight.
James and OSU head coach Urban Meyer are members of a mutual admiration society, and James has been a guest of Meyer’s at a handful of Buckeyes game. James, though, has never been to The Game, a contest to which he refers as a “bucket list” game.
The King’s hoops head coach, as it turns out, played a role in James and his teammates taking in the greatest rivalry in all of sports.
“It’s something I’ve been working on for like two weeks,” Tyronn Lue said according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “Just thought it’d be nice for the guys. It’s always good to throw your guys a bone through this long season, all the things we have to do and being together, I just thought it’d be something good for us to do and to enjoy.”
Aside from his head coach’s generosity, the future NBA Hall of Famer has a business reason to be at the game, too, as the Buckeyes will be afforded the opportunity to, for the first time, wear cleats inspired by his signature Nike sneakers. The fact that the Buckeyes will be going up against a Wolverines team that will be adorned in Jordan-brand “Jumpman” apparel just adds yet another layer to the football rivalry.
“It’s just a coincidence that obviously the other team is in Jordan gear, ” James said earlier in the week. “It was just like, great timing, I guess, that it came together when they were playing Michigan in the biggest game of the season.”
The Buckeyes have a new cleat for this week’s game. And we have the quickstrike sneaker version. Release details to follow. pic.twitter.com/vgNAif3DyR
— Sole Classics (@SoleClassics) November 22, 2016
— Chris Fowler (@cbfowler) November 25, 2016