“I’m gonna tweet him right now,” the Ohio State quarterback said with a laugh late in Tuesday’s final session at the Big Ten Media Days.
And so he did.
At media day today the main topic is about my brotha @KingJames lol— BRAXTON MILLER (@BraxtonMiller5) July 29, 2014
The tweet didn’t draw a reply from the James, the NBA star who chose to come back to Cleveland when he hit free agency this offseason, but that doesn’t mean two of the biggest sports stars in Ohio – the prodigal son who returned home at the height of his powers and the five-star stud who is attempting to take the state’s most popular team to the highest level – aren’t close.
“I look up to him and he can call me his little bro, so we’ve got a good relationship,” Miller said. “He watched me a few times last year and he’s been to a game.”
Ohio State’s relationship with the noted Buckeye fan James has been well documented, from his appearance on the sideline of select football games over the past few years to his locker that can be found in the renovated facilities in the Schottenstein Center.
But when your star quarterback can simply dial up the world’s most famous athlete – or send him a casual tweet – well, that’s pretty cool for a college football program. It might look even cooler to potential Buckeyes in the no-stone-unturned, glitz-and-glamour world of high-stakes college football recruiting.
And that’s exactly why head coach Urban Meyer says James is welcome anytime at OSU on his watch.
“He already has that in a text,” Meyer said. “It’s big. It’s big in recruiting. We use it a lot in recruiting. … You can’t really measure the positive feelings of seeing him on the sideline of an Ohio State game. He truly loves Ohio State.”
Of course, the two famously go way back. Meyer first met James when the former was the wide receivers coach at Notre Dame and the latter was a burgeoning sports star growing in Akron. Seeing the tall, athletic prospect effortlessly pull in footballs, as he did his first two years at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School, Meyer could just see James doing the same at the college level and gave him a scholarship offer to play for the Fighting Irish.
Though James obviously didn’t take up the future national championship-winning coach on his offer, the two have stayed in touch.
“They made fun of me because I didn’t know who he was,” Meyer said. “I thought he was gonna take it. He shook my hand and said, ‘I’ll certainly consider that.’ Then I didn’t talk to him again until the Miami Heat or something. I told him he made a mistake.”
The same can somewhat be said of Miller and James, especially considering the fact that the OSU quarterback somewhat predicted the basketball star’s return to Ohio. Mere minutes before James announced his decision to sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers on SI.com, Miller posted this tweet.
Could it be? Hmmm pic.twitter.com/cylmxhnD8n— BRAXTON MILLER (@BraxtonMiller5) July 11, 2014
“I figured he was coming back because I was seeing little things here and there and I felt like he was coming back,” Miller says now. “I didn’t know he was going to make the decision eight minutes later. That was crazy. Everybody was contacting me like, ‘Braxton knew what he was doing. That’s why he tweeted that picture.’ I went along with it.”
That wasn’t Miller’s only tweet of July 11 that generated interest. After James’ decision went public, Miller posted a picture that included an image of James, Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel and himself that merely said “Ohio.” The OSU QB later took down the tweet after it went viral.
“Man, that was crazy because I’m goofy a little bit,” Miller said with a laugh. “I tweeted that out and I got a whole bunch of hate mail. I’m like man, golllllly. So I deleted it. I’m like, nah, I’m cool.”
And as for the fact that James, like Miller, could have been a Meyer protégé in a different world, the Buckeyes’ quarterback had a quick for that as well.
“Yeah, I heard that (Meyer offered him). I see why he didn’t go there,” Miller added with a chuckle.