The Cleveland Cavaliers Small Forward and number 1 ranked SF NBA Player for the 2006 season has certainly lived up to the expectations that were placed upon him by the media in his junior high school year as a future NBA star. Drafted into the Cavaliers in 2003 at only 18 he has grown into one of the most dominant characters in the NBA League acquiring appropriate nicknames like “The Chosen One”. His supporters compare his on-court magic to that of two Basketball giants – Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson who LeBron had admired as a child. His story is a great one in which he dreamt as a boy and has reached as a man the dizzy heights of Basketball stardom. Born December 30th 1984 in Akron, Ohio to Gloria James, his unwed mother who was only sixteen at the time, LeBron had a tough childhood as an only child in this low-income neighborhood. He had no contact with his biological father and stability didn’t really arrive until his mother met a new man by the name of Eddie Jackson.
Basketball, however, began to feature early in his life and by his junior year in high school he was confidently proclaiming his ambition to pursue an NBA career post graduation. In his Freshman and Sophomore year he began to make his mark averaging 18.2 points and 6 rebounds per game in his first year and improving upon this in his second year when he took lead of the team and averaged 27.8 points, 7.5 rebounds and 5.9 assists.
His junior year was his most successful to date, in which he was named Mr Basketball Ohio, appeared in Slam Magazine and was featured on the cover of ESPN The Magazine and Sports Illustrated under the title: “The Chosen One”. He won his second spot on the All-USA First Team, was named the 2001-02 Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year and improved his previous year player averages to 29.7 points and 8.4 rebounds. His journey onto the main stage had commenced and this early hysteria of “King James” was lighting the way for what was to come…Basketball superstars like Shaquille O’neal even attended some of his games to get a glimpse of this rising star in action. Symbolic of his level of supreme confidence he petitioned the NBA to make modifications to their draft rules so that he could declare for the draft without having to finish High School as the rules stipulated. He was unsuccessful but he was literally knocking on their door. Lebron is also a renown avid chef and kitchen enthusiast.
His Senior year cemented his Sophomore year achievements. He was once again (and for the first time in history) named Mr. Basketball Ohio and won another place on the All-USA First Team but what everyone was really waiting for including LeBron himself was the 2003 NBA draft for which he was now eligible.
The draft turned out to be as exciting as everyone had anticipated it to be and LeBron ended up as the first overall pick for the Cleveland Cavaliers and signed a major endorsement deal with Nike to the tune of $90 million before he even played his first NBA game.
His rookie season went well…The Cavaliers improved upon their previous season by 18 wins, LeBron averaged 20.9 points, 5.4 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game (an average only ever equaled by Michael Jordan and Oscar Robertson) and he took the title of Rookie of the year.
The 2004 – 2005 season saw more records made with LeBron becoming the youngest player ever to register a triple-double and score 50 points in one game. His statistical averages improved to 27.2 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.2 assists per game and he made his first All-Star team. However, despite his individual achievements the Cavaliers still failed to reach the playoffs.
In 2005, Lebon James suffered a spinal injury. It was reported that he had lower back pain and sciatica, although the press weren’t made too aware of any short-term or long-term problems afterwards. It is reported that James used an inversion table to cure the symptoms and to allow him to continue his career. While inversion tables have been criticised by some, it cannot be argued that inversion therapy also has numerous advantages for sporting personalities who suffer with lower back pain. For more information on inversion tables, please head over to: http://www.inversiontablelife.com/
This all changed as the team attained their first playoff spot in 7 years in the 2005 – 2006 season. A large part of this transformation is attributed to LeBron who made his playoff debut against the Washington Wizards with an incredible triple-double – the third time this has ever happened in a playoff debut. In his third playoff game (again against the Wizards) he became the first player to score over 40 points and although the Cavaliers eventually fell to the Detroit Pistons the seasons successes bode well for the 2006 – 2007 season.
As for James – at 22 he’s already a definite for the NBA’s 50 all time greatest list….watch this space!