Last week, Rush Rhees Library was giving away apple cider and had its employees dressed up like Edward Scissorhands, “Boxed Wine” and the Wolfboy from the movie Jumanji. This could’ve meant only one thing: higher education and our $41,000 tuition really going down the toilet. It could’ve also meant that it was Halloween. A time when little boys and girls go from house to house in hopes of getting as much candy as they can. A night when teenagers find ways to destroy private property and college kids have another excuse to get drunk on a weeknight.

This year’s Halloween also marked the opening tip-off of the NBA’s 2007 season. Long time commissioner David Stern has taken steps to improve the image of the NBA during the last few years. It’s no secret that the culture of the NBA has been less than ideal, to say the least. Incidents such as the Pacers-Pistons brawl two years ago and, more recently, Sebastian Telfair’s possible involvement in the shooting of rapper Fabolous, have severely hampered the league’s attempt to change the “thug” image that dominates the NBA today.

Stern implemented a dress code for players last year, requiring business-like attire to be worn to and from the games. This year, he has enforced a zero-tolerance policy on arguing with a referee’s calls. But is this enough? Will this re-establish the NBA to the glory days of the mid 90’s? The answer is an emphatic No! Not without help from its players at least.

The NBA will not shake its image of greedy, lazy, thugs by just implementing new policies. Rather, it needs help from its best players. The league was at its peak when Michael Jordan played and single-handedly carried the league on his back. He was the NBA equivalent of Jack Bauer. Nobody stood a chance against him and he had the fire and tenacity to get the job done. He dominated the game on the court and his marketability and persona helped globalize the NBA’s popularity. That was then, this is now. So who can save the league this time around? The answer is LeBron James.

He is only 21 years old, yet the fate of the NBA rests on his broad shoulders. Though it remains to be seen if LeBron has the competitive fire that Jordan had, there’s no denying the fact that the NBA hasn’t had a player with his talent and marketability since-well, since Jordan. The self-anointed “Chosen One” – the tattoo can be found on his back – averaged over 30 points per game last year and led the Cavaliers to the playoffs where he dominated the Wizards in a Jordanesque fashion, hitting game winners in two of the Cavs’ four wins.

He will only get better this year, and the popularity of the league will continue to grow as LeBron grows more comfortable with taking Jordan’s place as the best player in the world. Vince Carter failed. Kobe was next, and he has since failed. Now it’s LeBron’s turn.

His play on the court isn’t the only factor that appeals to fans, however. What he does off it has a huge impact too. As long as he stays out of trouble and continues to show his charisma off the court with those creative “The LeBrons” commercials (the latest one is the best yet) his popularity will grow, and the NBA’s will grow along with it.

The NBA has been missing that special player who can carry the league ever since Jordan retired (the second time). It’s like a Dave Matthews Band CD. You buy the CD that was recorded in a studio and it’s great. But when it comes down to it, you’d rather have their live concert version. It may have the same songs, but there’s that special something missing that the live version has.

LeBron has that special something. He may, in fact, end up being a more likable and marketable player than Jordan was. LeBron’s ability to sell the NBA product will be his most valuable endorsement deal. Nobody else in the league has the ability to actually sell the NBA to fans. They either aren’t good enough on the court or aren’t good enough off of it, literally.

LeBron’s legacy will, without question, be dependent on his ability to win championships. Although this is only his fourth year in the league, the time to show that he is indeed the chosen one to replace MJ and save the NBA is now.

Brackney is a member of the class of 2010.

Notes by Nadia: The myth of summer vacation

Summer vacation is no longer a vacation.

UR Womens’ Lacrosse trounces Nazareth 17-5

UR’s Womens’ Lacrosse team beat Nazareth University 17–5 on Tuesday at Fauver Stadium.

An open letter to all members of any university community

I strongly oppose the proposed divestment resolution. This resolution is nothing more than another ugly manifestation of antisemitism at the University.