LeBron James

LeBron Raymone James (born December 30, 1984 in Akron, Ohio) is an American basketball player who currently plays for the Cleveland Cavaliers in the National Basketball Association (NBA). Commonly nicknamed "King James" and "The Chosen One," James was highly promoted in the national media as a future NBA star. At the age of eighteen, he was selected with the first overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers and became the second high school player chosen as the first overall pick.

James received national publicity while still in high school, and was named "Mr. Basketball" of Ohio three times. Before debuting in his first official NBA game, James signed an unprecedented $90 million shoe contract with Nike, Inc. He has since become one of the most prominent players in the league and has set numerous youngest player records. In his first season, he received the NBA Rookie of the Year Award and in the following three seasons received All-NBA and All-Star honors. He led the Cavaliers to back-to-back playoff appearances in 2006 and 2007, and the team advanced to the Conference Finals for the first time since 1992 in 2007.

James plays the small forward position, but can also play point guard and shooting guard. He was a member of the United States men's national basketball team that won the Bronze medal in the 2004 Olympics, and he finished second in the league Most Valuable Player (MVP) balloting in 2006.

James was born an only child in a low-income area of Akron, Ohio to the unwed Gloria James on December 30, 1984. His mother was around the age of 16 at the time and just six months shy of graduating from high school. Moving frequently from one home to another, situations began to somewhat improve for James, when his mother began a relationship with Eddie Jackson. James did not have much contact with his biological father and Jackson became a father figure to him. He regularly attended James' high school basketball games.

James attended St. Vincent - St. Mary High School in Akron. He was the starting point guard on a team led by his future best friend and manager Maverick Carter. Although Carter is commonly referred to as James' cousin, they are not actually related. The team finished with a perfect 27-0 record and won the Division III state championship.

James took over the team after Carter's graduation and averaged 25.2 points, 7.2 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 3.8 steals for SVSM en route to another state title. He was subsequently named Ohio's "Mr. Basketball" and selected to the USA Today All-USA First Team — the first sophomore to receive each of these honors.

James was also an avid football player, and was named First-Team All-State as a wide receiver. However, injury concerns led James to concentrate solely on basketball.

In James' junior year his stats improved again. He averaged 29.0 points, 8.3 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 3.3 steals and was again named Mr. Basketball of Ohio. He also earned a spot on the All-USA First Team, and was named the 2001-02 Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year. It was at this time that his nickname "King" James would become a household staple in Ohio.

He appeared in SLAM Magazine, which began his nationwide exposure. However, the St. Vincent-St. Mary basketball team failed to defend its state title when it moved up to the more challenging Division II and lost to Cincinnati's Roger Bacon High School. James attempted to declare for the NBA Draft, petitioning for an adjustment to the NBA's rules of draft eligibility — which then required the completion of high school by a prospective player. The petition was unsuccessful, but it led to an unprecedented level of attention on him as he entered his senior year. By then, "King" James had already appeared on the covers of Sports Illustrated and ESPN The Magazine. His popularity forced his team to move their practices from the school gym to the nearby James A. Rhodes Arena at the University of Akron. Celebrities such as Shaquille O'Neal attended the games, and a few of James's high school games were even televised nationally on ESPN2 and regionally 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 her son's 18th birthday. The event prompted 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 throwback basketball jerseys worth $845 from NEXT, an urban clothing store in Shaker Square, in exchange for his posing for pictures to be displayed on the store's walls, OHSAA stripped him of his eligibility. James appealed and a judge blocked the ruling, reducing the penalty to a two-game suspension and allowing him to play the remainder of the season. However, James's team was forced to forfeit one of their wins as a result.

Despite the distractions, the Irish won a third state title, and James averaged 31.6 points, 9.6 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 3.4 steals. James was named to the All-USA First Team, and for an unprecedented third time, was selected as Mr. Basketball Ohio. He earned MVP honors at the McDonald's All-American Game, the EA Sports Roundball Classic, and the Jordan Capital Classic. Although it was a foregone conclusion, by participating in more than two high school all-star events, James officially lost his NCAA eligibility.

James finished his high school career with 2,657 points, 892 rebounds and 523 assists.

James was selected as the first overall pick of the 2003 NBA Draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers. Prior to his first official NBA game, James signed an unprecedented $90 million shoe contract by Nike, Inc., and an exclusive multiyear contract with Upper Deck trading cards that included a $1 million signing bonus.

Facing the Sacramento Kings in his first NBA game, James recorded 25 points, 9 assists, 6 rebounds, and 4 steals on 60% field goal shooting. After recording a season high 41 points against the New Jersey Nets, James became the youngest player in league history to score 40 points in a game. He averaged 20.9 points, 5.9 assists, and 5.5 rebounds per game for the season, and was named Rookie of the Year; becoming the first Cavalier and youngest player to ever receive the award. He joined Oscar Robertson and Michael Jordan as the only three players in NBA history to average at least 20 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists per game in their rookie season. The Cavaliers improved by 18 wins and concluded the regular season with a 35–47 record, but failed to make the playoffs.

In the 2004-05 season, James was selected to his first NBA All-Star Game and recorded 13 points, 6 assists, and 8 rebounds, as the Eastern All-Stars defeated the Western All-Stars 125–115. During the season, James became the youngest player in league history to register a triple-double, score 50 points in a game, and make the All-NBA Team. He averaged 27.2 points, 7.2 assists, 7.4 rebounds, and 2.2 steals per game. However, the Cavaliers failed to reach the playoffs again and finished with a 42–40 regular season record.

In the 2005-06 season, James was elected to his second straight All-Star Game appearance and led the Eastern All-Stars to a 122–120 victory, with 29 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 assists. He became the youngest All-Star MVP at 21 years, 51 days. He was named NBA Player of the Week for an unprecedented three consecutive weeks and concluded the season with five honors. He scored 35 or more points in nine consecutive games and joined Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant as the only players since 1970 to accomplish the feat. For the season, James averaged 31.4 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 6.6 assists per game, and became the youngest player in NBA history to average at least 30 points. He also became the fourth player in NBA history to average more than 30 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists in a single season. The Cavaliers made the playoffs for the first time since 1998, and improved from a record of 17–65 in 2002-03 to 50–32 in 2005-06.

Following the regular season, James was named as one of the top candidates for the NBA Most Valuable Player Award. Although he finished second to Steve Nash of the Phoenix Suns in MVP voting, he was awarded co-MVP honors with Nash by The Sporting News; an award given by the publication that is based on the voting of thirty NBA general managers.

James made his playoff debut against the Washington Wizards. He recorded a triple-double with 32 points, 11 assists and 11 rebounds, as the Cavaliers defeated the Wizards 97–86. He joined Johnny McCarthy and Magic Johnson as the only players in NBA history to register a triple-double in their playoff debut. In Game 3, he registered 41 points and became the first player in NBA history to score 40 points in their first playoff road game. For the series, James averaged 35.7 points, as the Cavaliers defeated the Wizards in six games. In the second round of the playoffs, James led the Cavaliers to a 3–2 series lead over the defending Eastern Conference champion and divisional rival Detroit Pistons. The Pistons, however, eliminated the Cavs by winning the final two games. James averaged 30.8 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 5.8 assists in the playoffs.

At the end of the season, James negotiated a three year contract extension, with a player option for a fourth year. The contract is worth $60 million and begins at the start of the 2007-08 NBA season. Although it is for fewer years and less money than the maximum he could sign, it allows him the option of seeking a new contract worth more money as an unrestricted free agent in 2008.

James was elected to his third consecutive All-Star game appearance during the 2006-07 season. He played a game high 32 minutes and finished with 28 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists. In the regular season, the Cavaliers managed to tie the previous season's record with 50 wins and clinched an Eastern Conference second seed playoff berth. For the season, James averaged 27.3 points, 6.7 rebounds, 6.0 assists, and 1.6 steals per game. LeBron started the season with a 38 point, 5 assist, and 8 rebound performance in the 94-93 win against the Boston Celtics in November. LeBron's best month came in March, when he averaged 30.3 points per game, 7.0 assists per game, and 6.7 rebounds per game as the Cavs went 11-5 for the month. At the end of the season, he joined Oscar Robertson as the only players in NBA history to average 27 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists for three consecutive years.

In the first round of the playoffs, James led the Cavaliers to their first sweep in franchise history over the Washington Wizards in four games. It was also the first time the franchise has won consecutive road playoff games. For the series, James averaged 27.8 points, 7.5 assists, and 8.5 rebounds. In the second round of the playoffs, James led the Cavaliers to a 4–2 series victory over the New Jersey Nets. He averaged 25.0 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 8.6 assists in the series, as the Cavaliers advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time in 15 years.

Against the Detroit Pistons in the Eastern Conference Finals however, James faced more hardship than in the earlier rounds. In the first game, LeBron James was scrutinized by some in the media for passing up a 6-foot shot near the end of the game, instead passing to Donyell Marshall, who missed a wide-open three-point shot. LeBron finished with inly 10 points in Game 1. In Game 2, LeBron looked to drive to the basket to get fouled in the last seconds of the game, down one point. Instead, a controversial call saw no foul, and the Cavaliers fell down 2-0, with James scoring 19 points. In the third game, LeBron hit a crucial fade-away three point shot late in the fourth quarter (with the score 84-76 after the shot) to put the game away with 2:33 left. The Cavaliers came back to tie the series 2-2 in Game 4.

After his rookie season, James played on the 2004 U.S. Olympic Basketball Team in Athens, Greece, where the United States won the bronze medal in Men's Basketball. It was the first time a U.S. Olympic team, with NBA players, failed to win the gold medal. Limited to 14.6 minutes per game, James averaged just 5.8 points and 2.6 rebounds per game. James also competed in the 2006 World Championships in Japan and averaged 13.9 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 4.1 assists per game. However, the team finished with an 8–1 season record, and was again awarded the bronze medal.

James was named as one of three captains for the U.S. Men's Basketball National Team from 2006–2008, alongside Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade. After failing to win the 2006 World Championships, the team will have to compete at the Tournament of Americas Olympic Qualifiers in 2007 in order to qualify for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

James primarily plays the small forward position. He is considered one of the few players in the league who can play three or more positions, combining the length and quickness of a small forward, the size of a power forward, and the court vision and ball-handling of a guard. His exceptional court vision and passing ability allows him to create plays for others and has led many to consider him as a prototypical point forward.

James has established himself as a legitimate triple-double threat and has averaged 26.7 points, 6.4 assists and 6.7 rebounds per game for his career. As of the 2006-07 season, he has recorded twelve triple-doubles in his career, with ten in the regular season and two in the postseason. On offense, James utilizes his quickness, size, and strength to get past defenders. When penetrating to the basket James exhibits exceptional body control, adjusting his shot in mid-air according to the defense, allowing him to absorb contact and finish at the basket. In the 2005-06 season, he led the league in completed traditional three point plays. He is a solid rebounder who regularly ranks among the league leaders in rebounds for the small forward position. His overall skill sets and on-court play has led to many comparisons to NBA legends Oscar Robertson, Magic Johnson, and Michael Jordan.

Although James exhibits exceptional offensively ability, he has yet to be featured on any of the NBA All-Defensive Teams and has struggled with his free throw shooting — he averaged a subpar .698 free throw accuracy in the 2006-07 season.

James has one child with his high school sweetheart, Savannah Brinson, named LeBron James Jr. (October 6, 2004). He announced that he is expecting his second son to be born in June 2007. During his sophomore year, he was named First Team-All State as a wide receiver, and in his junior year he helped lead St. Vincent - St. Mary High School to the state semifinals in football. As a freshman playing basketball, James wore jersey number 32 before adopting his current number 23 as a tribute to his role model, Michael Jordan.

Despite being compared to players such as Michael Jordan, Oscar Robertson, and Magic Johnson, James considers Penny Hardaway as the player whose talents are most similar to his. "Penny sees the whole floor and can score," James said. "He's still one of my favorite players of all-time."

James has a number of endorsement contracts with Nike, Sprite, Powerade, and Upper Deck. His personal shoe line under Nike is known as the Air Zoom Generation.Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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