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Many at Fault in James Case

February 02, 2003|Mark Heisler | Times Staff Writer

As this story shows, they're still around and more irresponsible than ever. Had James said he would sign a $20-million deal last summer, they would have fought one another to take him up on it. Had he demanded that Knight and Adidas' Sonny Vacarro fight a duel to see who got him, they'd have asked, "To the death?"

Thankfully, James is such a singular talent, we're not likely to see anything like this soon. With that in mind, Westchester High boys' basketball Coach Ed Azzam told The Times' Ben Bolch, "I don't know if it sends up a red flag."

More like a white one. This story wasn't as much a revelation to Azzam and his nationally ranked team as it was to people who think of high school ball as what it was, circa 1965 or 1975.

Like most powerhouses, Westchester goes out of state too. The Comets were in Las Vegas and Houston in December and they'll be in Trenton, N.J., next week for the Prime-Time Shootout, where James' reputation exploded a year ago.

The bad news is, the sports world has run off the tracks.

The really bad news is, it's not coming back, either.

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