Imagine if Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh informed the Miami Heat that they had no intention of playing for the NBA franchise.
Well, Hall of Fame coaches Morgan Wootten, John Wooden and James Naismith will no longer be associated with the McDonald's All-America Game, the nation's most prestigious high school all-star basketball event.
What kind of spin will Ronald McDonald put on that piece of news?
Wootten, the legendary coach at DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, Md., recently announced that he has resigned as chairman of the boys and girls selection committees for the McDonald's games, which will be played in Chicago on March 10.
"The game is under new leadership and has been heading in an entirely different direction than it was created over 30 years ago by Bob Geoghan, coach John Wooden and myself. In good conscience, I cannot continue to work with the new people who have been brought on board," Wootten said in a statement.
The daughter of John Wooden has informed McDonald's officials that the family of the late UCLA coach no longer wishes to have his name associated with the games.
And the grandson of James Naismith also has informed McDonald's officials that the family of the creator of the game and former Kansas coach no longer wants his name associated with the games.
Strike one, strike two, strike three.
"It is a sign of the times. All good things must come to an end," said nationally known recruiting analyst Bob Gibbons, who has served with Wootten on the McDonald's selection committee for 32 years.
"This has all been triggered by the new group that has taken over the McDonald's game. They don't have a longstanding relationship with Bob Geoghan, Morgan Wootten and the game. I will miss working with Morgan and other founders of the game. But it still is an opportunity to continue to be involved with the No. 1 all-star game and the top players in the country."
Gibbons has been asked to remain as a top advisor to the games by the new organization, Blue Ridge Sport, which was hired to do behind-the-scenes work in setting up the game at various sites across the country. ESPN, which televises the games, also has assumed a major role in promoting the event.
All of which obviously didn't sit too well with Wootten and other pioneers of the game, who felt they were being undermined in the decision-making process. For example, ESPN lobbied to allow fifth-year players to participate in the game. Wootten opposed the proposal. Consequently, John Wall, the nation's top player, wasn't invited to play in the game last year. ESPN and Blue Ridge Sport were furious.
It has been speculated that the new management team believes Wootten is too old and is anxious to bring in fresh faces. Wootten, 79, coached at DeMatha from 1956 to 2002 and produced a record of 1,192-274 and five national championship teams.
"Losing Wootten takes away a Hall of Fame name, the most respected high school coach in the country," Gibbons said. "McDonald's is the No. 1 high school all-star game in the country. It's the dream of every high school kid to be a McDonald's All-American, the highest honor they can achieve. So it will be interesting to see how the new group will react to Wootten's resignation and who will run the selection committee from now on."