LeBron James

LeBron James became an immediate star after skipping college to join the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers. He led the Miami Heat to NBA titles in 2012 and 2013 and won another championship with Cleveland in 2016, before joining the Los Angeles Lakers in 2018.

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lebron james smiling in cleveland cavaliers jersey

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(1984-)

Who Is LeBron James?

LeBron James is an American basketball player with the Los Angeles Lakers. James first garnered national attention as the top high school basketball player in the country. With his unique combination of size, athleticism and court vision, he became a four-time NBA MVP. After leading the Miami Heat to titles in 2012 and 2013, James returned to Cleveland and helped the franchise claim its first championship in 2016.

Early Life and High School Basketball Career

James was born on December 30, 1984, in Akron, Ohio. At an early age, James showed a natural talent for basketball. He was recruited by St. Vincent-St. Mary High School to join their basketball team in 1999. Overall, James scored 2,657 points, 892 rebounds and 523 assists during his four years there.

As a freshman, James averaged 18 points per game. He helped the team to a Division III state title by scoring 25 points in the championship game. Word of his advanced basketball skills spread, and James received several honors for his performance.

As a high school sophomore, James was chosen for the USA Today All-USA First Team. He was the first sophomore ever selected for this award. His team also won the Division III state title for the second year in a row.

The following school year, James was named PARADE magazine’s High School Boys Basketball Player of the Year and Gatorade Player of the Year. Following the end of his junior year, James was such a strong player that he contemplated going pro.

Deciding to finish his education, James had a tremendous senior year on the court. He averaged 31.6 points per game, helping his team clinch their third state title. The St. Vincent-St. Mary High School team also earned the top national ranking that year. James would soon emerge as one of the National Basketball Association’s leading players.

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Draft

With his impressive record, it was no surprise that James was the first player picked in the 2003 NBA Draft straight out of high school. The Cleveland Cavaliers signed the powerful young forward, and he proved to be a valuable addition to the then-struggling franchise. The team had ended the previous season in eighth place in the Eastern Conference.

Cleveland Cavaliers

During the 2003-04 season, James made history when he became the first member of the Cavalier franchise to win the NBA Rookie of the Year Award. He also became the youngest player — at only 20 years old — to receive this honor.

Additionally, James, averaging 20 points per game at this time, became one of only three rookies to accomplish this feat, putting him in the same company as Michael Jordan and Oscar Robertson.

James continued to excel professionally in the NBA the following season, upping his average points per game to 27.2. He made NBA history again in 2005 when he became the youngest player to score more than 50 points in one game.

In 2006, James helped his team defeat the Washington Wizards in the first round of playoff action. From there, the Cavaliers took on the Detroit Pistons in the Eastern Conference semifinals. James scored an average of 26.6 per game in this postseason matchup, but it wasn’t enough to secure victory for his team. While his team wasn’t at the top of the rankings, James himself continued to receive special recognition for his abilities.

In 2006, James reached a new contract agreement with the Cavaliers. The team proved to be stronger competitors the following season, defeating Detroit to win the Eastern Conference. In the NBA Finals against the San Antonio Spurs, however, the Cavaliers lost their championship bid in four consecutive games.

During the 2007-08 season, James continued to help the Cavaliers improve their standing in the Eastern Conference. The team made it to the semifinals, where they were defeated by the Boston Celtics in seven games. In terms of individual performance, James had a stellar year, outperforming such rival players as Kobe Bryant and Allen Iverson by scoring an average of 30 points per game, the highest average in the NBA regular season.

Early in the 2008-09 season, sports journalists and fans began talking about James’ future in the sport. He had the option to become a free agent in 2010, and there was much discussion as to where James would end up. Some journalists identified the New York Knicks as a potential suitor for the rising player.

James made several references to his impending free-agent status, but he was sure to downplay the matter. “I am focused on the team that I am on right now and winning a championship … I don

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