Gonzaga University has caught the attention of many notable figures for their success on the hardwood; from highly regarded college basketball analysts to video game companies, the Bulldogs are beginning to turn more and more heads. Many attribute the recent dominance to Mark Few, the winningest head coach in college basketball and the future hall of famer when it’s all said and done.
Add to the list of admirers: LeBron James, who used the word “shiznet” in a recent tweet to describe Few while commending the GU basketball program for their play.
James responded to a tweet from CuffsTheLegend that read “Gonzaga gonna win it all,” by saying, “They tough!!! Love the way they play. Amazing pace on makes or misses, ball movement, some dogs and guys that just know how to play the game! And of course they beyond well coached! He’s the truth!! The shiznit”
Being recognized by one of the game’s greatest players of all time is surely a high nod of respect for the Zags, especially given that James is also the most influential athlete in the sport. His impact on topics from education to social justice have been felt by millions across the country. He’s even inspired other celebrities to use their platform for greater good.
However, such a strong voice like King James's doesn’t come without controversy from his followers. This take in particular has surely fueled the debate of GU as a national championship contender among college basketball fans, as many still question the program’s ability to win it all come March. Those outside of Spokane are still not as enthused about the Bulldogs despite the remarks.
So, what does this mean for the program? Well, outside of the mutual respect shown by James for Few and his team, the rest of the public is still waiting for the results to speak for themselves.
That is, an NCAA championship would showcase to the rest of the college basketball world that GU is a true “blue-blood” in terms of producing high-level athletes who can win on the biggest stage. Because as of now, the stigma of “pretender” overshadows the title of “contender."
Even taking public perception with a grain of salt does not change the fact that the Zags are faced with an extreme amount of pressure to perform given the record talent the roster boasts. James’ comments only add more skeptical eyeballs onto the team, making this season one of the most important in program history. Climbing that final hurdle cements the legacy of Few while attracting a new wave of talent for the future.
And no, do not expect LeBron James Jr. to dawn a Bulldogs jersey down the road. But if this truly is the year for GU like James and so many others have predicted, then the attention of young players everywhere turns to Spokane. The outstanding players currently on the roster have already had an impact on showcasing the winning culture to the national audience.
But for now, no matter who says what, it’s all just talk.