OK, it Might Be Time to Take the LeBron-to-Europe Talk Seriously

by Marcel Mutoni

Last Friday, Ian Thomsen of Sports Illustrated wrote a column about a Greek team (the same one that snatched up Josh Childress) possibly offering LeBron James an absurd amount of money to bolt for Europe. The piece, though certainly entertaining, was heavy on speculation and details were scant.

Last night, Chris Broussard of ESPN the Mag went a step further by citing a “source close to LeBron”, saying LBJ would consider playing across the pond if the money was right.

Here, friends, is what David Stern’s worst nightmare would look like:

A person close to James said Tuesday that the Cavaliers’ superstar would strongly consider playing overseas if he was offered a salary of “around $50 million a year.”


The Russian team CSKA Moscow and the Greek team Olympiacos, which recently gave Josh Childress a contract approaching $30 million over three years, have already contacted James, according to the person close to him. The person added, however, that no monetary or contractual discussions have taken place.

Now, yes, of course $50 million is an insane amount of money to pay a single player for one season of work. It would also be equally insane for said player not to seriously consider taking it. No matter how rich one may be (and LeBron is plenty rich), $50 million is still $50 million.

As Broussard points out in the article, consider that David Beckham was given a $250 million contract to play soccer in a country that largely ignores the sport, when he was well past his prime no less. What’s to stop a Greek or Russian team owner from throwing this kind of scratch at Mr. Global Icon in Training a couple of years from now?