July 31, 2018

Player Feature: LeBron James crosses over to Los Angeles Lakers

The King

Full Name: LeBron James
Birthdate: December 30, 1984
Place of Birth: Ohio, USA
Playing years: 2003 to Present
NBA Team (Current): Los Angeles Lakers
Position(s): Forward, Shooting Guard


Four-time NBA Most Valuable Player
Three-time NBA Finals Most Valuable Player
Fourteen-time NBA All-Star
Two-time Olympic gold medalist

Formative years

LeBron James was born in Akron, Ohio to Gloria Marie James and Anthony McClelland. Struggling to make ends meet, his mother allowed him to move in with Ohio football coach Frank Walker and his family. Walked later introduced the young LeBron to basketball. In the fifth grade, LeBron started playing amateur basketball for the Northeast Ohio Shooting Stars before attending high school at St. Vincent-St. Mary (where he became part of the varsity team Fighting Irish). As a freshman, he also dabbled in football, assuming the role of a wide receiver. He went on to play three all-star high school basketball playoffs before deciding to get into the 2003 NBA draft.

Notable Skills/Style of Play

– Aggressive rim finish
– Able to competently drive and handle/steal the ball
– Pass first, score second mentality
– Relentless defender
– Bulldozer with range

Basketball Career

Cleveland Cavaliers
Ohio Mr. Basketball winner and USA Today All-USA First Team member LeBron was chosen as the first overall pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers for the 2003 NBA draft. For his first game, he set a record for the most points scored in a debut by an NBA high school draftee (25 points). He received the NBA Rookie of the Year award at the end of the playing season, averaging 20 points and 5 rebounds per game. For his first exhibition game, he contributed 13 ball points and 6 assists. The Cavaliers finished 2005 at 42-40, failing to get into the Eastern Conference. In 2007, the team entered the playoffs as second seed and in Game 5, LeBron was able to notch all 48 points, with commentators depicting it as one of the greatest postseason moments akin to a Michael Jordan display. He was named NBA All-Star Game MVP for a second time in season 2007-2008 before rounding up the year with 30 points per game. In 2009, he recorded final average 28.4 points and 7.2 assists and became the first Cavalier to be voted as MVP.

Miami Heat
During the free agency period, he made a move to Miami Heat much to the dismay of players and fans. This major transfer was made into a TV special, which was deemed unnecessary by sports analysts. He made it to the Finals on his first term with Miami but only averaged 17.8 points per game, the biggest drop-off in the league. In 2012, Miami defeated OKC in Game 5 of the Finals to earn their second championship, and LeBron’s first. He was voted as the NBA Finals MVP (28.6 points, 10.2 rebounds) and was ranked second best in modern NBA by ESPN for his performances. The following year, Miami had a 27-game winning streak, the second longest winning run in NBA history for a single season. They eventually faced San Antonio Spurs in the Finals Game 7 and won (95-88) to claim back-to-back championships.

Coming Home to Cleveland
In 2014, LeBron became an unrestricted free agent and officially returned to Cleveland Cavaliers. He achieved championship with his first NBA team in 2016. The Cavaliers came back from a 3-1 series deficit and defeated the Golden State Warriors in Game 7 (93-89). It marked the city’s first pro sports title in over 50 years.

Los Angeles Lakers
NBA star LeBron has signed a $154 million deal with the LA Lakers to once again part ways with hometown team Cavaliers. The four-time league MVP is set to help the young Lakers team come 73rd NBA season on October. Amidst the bitter split, those who’ve been to St. Vincent-St. Mary, Akron know better. There painted on the wall of the school’s gym—now named LeBron James Arena—are the words: “I promise to never forget where I came from.”

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