By Giancarlo Santoro, Sports Writer
The only logical outcome when a $60-million man teams up with a $47-million man is to buy a sports team.
Mind you, these men aren’t some greedy CEOs that we all hear about on a daily basis. They are household names that nearly everyone has heard of, even those who hate sports.
The men with the deep pockets are none other than the two-time National Basketball Association (NBA) champion and Miami Heat forward, Lebron James, and soccer icon David Beckham.
Although talks at this point are only in the preliminary stages, here is the rough plan laid out by Beckham: a brand new, 25,000-seat stadium located in sun-kissed Miami, near the Miami Heat’s American Airlines Arena for the 2015-16 Major League Soccer (MLS) season.
Although the plan sounds lofty, it does seem doable, especially with the combined resources of Beckham and James. It seems odd an American basketball star teamed up with a retired, British soccer player, and it will be interesting to see if that collaboration will really work.
“I think that it’s a great idea,” soccer player Erik Thornquist, a Pacific Lutheran University junior, said. “They are such popular athletes, especially if Lebron [James] was a part of it, because it could bring a lot more attention to MLS and soccer in general.”
In interviews, James said he and Beckham became good friends during Beckham’s time playing with the LA Galaxy, an MLS team based out of Los Angeles. James also said he is a legitimate soccer fan, joining the likes of other NBA players such as Kobe Bryant, Tony Parker and Steve Nash, all of whom played soccer in their youth.
If you were to make a survey asking Americans if they preferred soccer or basketball, I would bet my prized right foot that the majority would not hesitate to say basketball. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, a little more than 5 percent of Americans play basketball on an average day compared to only 1 percent who play soccer daily.
As a soccer player myself, I have grown up knowing that sports such as basketball, football and baseball have always held a special place in the hearts of American sports fans. Soccer, on the other hand, has been seen as either as foreign or as a sport only for women.
To quote Bob Dylan, “the times are a-changin'” for soccer in the U.S. According to SB Nation, a website with more than 300 blogs on sports and sports news, MLS attendance passed the six million mark for the first time ever this year, which is impressive, to say the least. This number represents a shift in attitude toward soccer in the U.S., and PLU basketball players share the feeling. Many of them said they believe the James-Beckham combination could be successful.
“It’s awesome for a basketball player [James] to show interest in soccer,” PLU basketball player Clint Absher, a first-year, said. “It has the potential to connect the two sports in ways they have not been before. The popularity of the soccer in the U.S. could also increase because of someone with such high notoriety showing his feelings towards the sport.”
As of now, Beckham and James have put the deal on ice as they continue to search for private investors to fund the project. Always calm, cool and collected, Beckham plans to announce more details as we enter the new year. It may not be long until King James and Becks bring soccer to a city near you. ◼︎