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LeBron James Seeks an Intern, So Here's an Assist

Here's hoping some hoop dreams come true for some lucky basketball fans, but success comes with a well-drawn-out play for the interns.

May 29, 2013
Related Topics: College Recruiting, Interviewing, Recruitment, Talent Management
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LeBron James
LeBron James plays for the Miami Heat, and he's looking for an intern for his website.

"King" James has initiated a full-court press to score the perfect interns for spring, summer and fall. And I hope that, whoever basketball superstar LeBron James' team chooses to take their talents to Team LeBron, the chosen ones will have the experience of a lifetime working for the "Chosen One."

On a side note: When I mentioned this story to one of my colleagues, Frank Kalman, he told me that this is nothing new. "Michael Jordan had an intern, too," he said, stopping for dramatic pause: "Scottie Pippen." Funny, but not true. "Pip" was an integral part of the Dream Team for a reason; he was an amazing player. Although Dennis Rodman seemed to have his own intern—Jack Haley—but that's another story.

As I've said before, I think internships are a great way for people to get on-the-job training and to learn about a certain industry. But I personally feel interns should be paid for their work like any other worker.

Does this particular internship pay anything? We're not sure. An email to James' website asking for clarification was not answered by the time this was posted. We hope it does pay, but if it doesn't, here's a reminder about the rules for unpaid internships. There are six main criteria for determining if an unpaid internship is OK. The one that always jumps out is this: "The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern."

To me, being able to pay the bills with some income would be to the benefit of the intern …

But let's get back to the topic at hand: choosing an intern to work for the Miami Heat superstar. And here are some of the job requirements from James' website:

  • "Must currently attend college or a four-year university." No doubt having college experience is important in today's job market, but let me take you back to the 2003 NBA draft when a certain high school graduate became the No. 1 pick of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Methinks he has done pretty well for himself without having to endure even one college weed-out class.
  • "Candidates must be available at least 10 hours a week." OK, that doesn't sound unreasonable, but what does "at least" mean? Not 10? Not 11? Not 12? … Sounds like things could easily go into overtime on any given week, and shouldn't school be the priority if you want people currently in school?
  • "Access to a computer & phone" and the "desired" qualification of "residing in Ohio, South Florida or New York." Have you met a millennial in college who doesn't have computer and phone access? I haven't. And is this a telecommuting internship? If so, what's with the location qualifiers? That said, I'm sure the good people of the Buckeye State are happy that James is still looking out for them.
  • "A writing sample (500-word minimum)." Really? My guess is James' team is going to be flooded with résumés. Did they mean "maximum"? If not, expect multiple manifestos making their way to lebronjames.com.

Here's hoping some hoop dreams come true for some lucky basketball fans, but success comes with a well-drawn-out play for the interns.

James Tehrani is Workforce's copy desk chief. Comment below or email editors@workforce.com. Follow Tehrani on Twitter at @WorkforceJames.

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