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Lebron James

LeBron James (born December 30, 1984 in Akron, Ohio) is an NBA basketball player for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Born to a single mother, James was raised by her and a succession of her boyfriends, many of whom had criminal records. The identity of James's father has always been a mystery; the Akron Beacon Journal has reported that he is dead. A neighborhood couple befriended the boy and taught him basketball, for which he almost immediately showed a gift. Today James, who stands 6 feet 8 inches (2.05 m) and weighs 240 pounds (108.9 kg), is one of the most versatile players in the NBA. Although he primarily plays the small forward position, he is capable of playing point guard and shooting guard as well.

High School

James first captured attention following a solid freshman year for the Division III St. Vincent-St. Mary High School 2000 State Championship team. He averaged 25 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, and 4 steals as a sophomore as St. Vincent-St. Mary won another state title. He was named Ohio's "Mr. Basketball" and USA Today selected him for the All-USA First Team, making him the first sophomore to be honored with such a nomination. He added to his resume by being first-team all-state in high school football. In James's junior year, he averaged 29 points and 8 rebounds and was once again named Mr. Basketball and a spot on the All-USA First Team. He also began using the nickname "King" James.

St. Vincent-St. Mary failed to defend their title as it moved up to the more-challenging Division II. LeBron then attempted to declare for the NBA draft, petitioning for an adjustment to the rule stating that a player must finish high school in order to be eligible. The petition was unsuccessful, but it led to an unprecedented level of attention on him as he entered his senior year. "King" James was already on the covers of Sports Illustrated and ESPN The Magazine. Celebrities such as Shaquille O'Neal were attending his games, a few of which were being televised nationally on ESPN2 and on pay-per-view.

Gloria James touched off a firestorm of controversy when she was allowed to use her son's future earning power as collateral to secure a bank loan to buy an $80,000 Hummer H2 for his 18th birthday, prompting an investigation by the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA). Under the OHSAA guidelines, no amateur may accept any gift valued over $100 as a reward for athletic performance. When James later accepted two jerseys from a Cleveland sports store worth $845 in exchange for him posing for pictures to be displayed on its walls, the OHSAA stripped him of his eligibility. James appealed, and a judge blocked the ruling, reducing the penalty to a two-game suspension, allowing him to play the remainder of the season. James's team was forced to forfeit one of their wins as a result. Despite the distractions, St. Vincent-St. Mary won a third state title, and James, for an unprecedented third time, was named Mr. Basketball and to the All-USA First Team. He also earned MVP honors at the McDonald's All-American Game, the EA Sports Roundball Classic, and the Jordan Capital Classic.

NBA career

To the surprise of no one, LeBron officially declared for the draft on April 25, 2003. He then signed a contract with Nike for $90 million over 7 years. Because James was seen as a consensus first pick, the 2003 NBA Draft Lottery was described by many as the "LeBron Lottery." James's hometown team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, successfully drew the first pick. Cleveland confirmed his selection as the #1 pick over a month before the draft, and contract negotiations were concluded some time in advance.

During his rookie season, James largely met the extremely high expectations placed on him. He was named Rookie of the Year and nearly led his team, previously the worst in the NBA, to the playoffs. James is often associated with fellow rookie sensation Carmelo Anthony, though has begun to separate himself as he continues to improve while Carmelo's image has taken multiple hits. On November 27, 2004, he scored his 2,000th point, becoming the youngest player ever to attain that mark. Kobe Bryant had previously held the record, having reached his 2,000th point at 20 years, 183 days. At 19 years, 272 days old, James was a full 277 days younger than Bryant had been when he reached the mark.

On January 20, 2005, James achieved yet another milestone as he became the youngest player in league history to record a Triple-double with 27 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists as the Cavaliers rolled to a 107-101 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers. The second-year star reached the mark at 20 years, 20 days, breaking the record held by Lamar Odom, who was 20 years, 54 days when he posted a triple-double for the Los Angeles Clippers on December 30, 1999 -- James' 15th birthday.

On March 20, 2005, James scored 56 points in a loss to the Toronto Raptors. At 20 years, 80 days old, James eclipsed Rick Barry as the youngest player to score 50 or more points in a game. Barry was 21 years, 261 days old when he scored 57 for the San Francisco Warriors against the New York Knicks, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

On April 19, 2005, after recording 32 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists against the Boston Celtics, James became the youngest player to reach 3,500 points, 1,000 rebounds and 1,000 assists. At 20 years and 110 days of age, he is more than two years younger than the previous record holder Kobe Bryant (22 years 161 days) and Magic Johnson (22 years 231 days).

Much like one of his predecessors, Michael Jordan, James has been signed by many companies to sell their products via advertisements, including Coca Cola, which contracted him to sponsor their Sprite product. On March 2005, bubble gum brand Bubblilicious launched the "Lebron James Lemon Lime" flavor. The Coca Cola brand Powerade sports drink included James in a series in which an off duty sports reporter and crew accidently catch James during his teams practice making 5 shots in a row from full court which was made possible by computer effects. [1] (http://www.snopes.com/photos/commercials/lebron.asp) A similiar commercial involves Mike Vick of the NFL throwing a pass into the upper deck of a stadium during practice.

 

 

Wikimedia FoundationAll text is copied from Wikipedia, available under the GNU Free Documentation License
Last Updated May 2005
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