Who Is Lebron James?
LeBron Raymone 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 a third championship with Cleveland in 2016.
He was born on December 30, 1984. He is an American professional basketball player who is a free agent. James has won three NBA championships (2012, 2013, 2016), four NBA Most Valuable Player Awards (2009, 2010, 2012, 2013), three NBA Finals MVP Awards (2012, 2013, 2016), two Olympic gold medals (2008, 2012), and NBA scoring title (2008), and the NBA Rookie of the Year Award (2004). He has also been selected to 12 NBA All-Star teams (named the game’s MVP twice), 12 All-NBA teams, and six All-Defensive teams, and is the Cavaliers’ all-time leading scorer.
Lebron James Basketball Career:
As a freshman, James averaged 21 points and 6 rebounds per game for St. Vincent-St. Mary’s varsity team. The Fighting Irish finished the year 27–0, winning the Division III state title. As a sophomore, he averaged 25.2 points and 7.2 rebounds with 5.8 assists and 3.8 steals per game. For some home games during the season, St. Vincent-St. Mary played at the University of Akron’s 5,492-seat Rhodes Arena to satisfy ticket demand from alumni, fans, and college and NBA scouts who wanted to see James play. The Fighting Irish finished the season 26–1 and repeated as state champions. For his outstanding play, James was named Ohio’s Mr. Basketball and was selected to the USA Today All-USA First Team, becoming the first sophomore to do either.
Career with the Cleveland Cavaliers (2003–2010)
During the Rookie season (2003–04), James was selected with the first overall pick in the 2003 NBA draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers. In his first professional game, he recorded 25 points against the Sacramento Kings, setting an NBA record for most points scored by a prep-to-pro player in his debut outing. At the conclusion of the season, he was named the NBA Rookie of the Year, finishing with averages of 20.9 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 5.9 assists per game. He became the first Cavalier to receive the honor and just the third player in NBA history to average at least 20 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists per game in his rookie year. The Cavaliers finished the season 35–47, failing to make the playoffs despite an 18-game improvement over the previous year.
During his Rise to superstardom (2004–2008), James earned his first NBA All-Star Game selection in 2004–05, contributing 13 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists in a winning effort for the Eastern Conference. On March 20, he scored 56 points against the Toronto Raptors, setting Cleveland’s new single game points record. With final averages of 27.2 points, 7.4 rebounds, 7.2 assists, and 2.2 steals per game, he was named to his first All-NBA Team at season’s end. Despite a 30–20 record to start the year, the Cavaliers again failed to make the playoffs, finishing the season at 42–40.
His First MVP tenure (2008–2010). At the conclusion of the 2008–09 season, James finished second in NBA Defensive Player of the Year voting and made his first NBA All-Defensive Team with 23 chase-down blocks and a career-high 93 total blocks. He also became only the fourth postmerger player to lead his team in points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks in a single season. Behind his play, Cleveland went a franchise record 66–16 and fell one game short of matching the best home record in league history. With averages of 28.4 points, 7.6 rebounds, 7.2 assists, 1.7 steals, and 1.2 blocks per game, he became the first Cavalier to win the MVP Award.
During the 2010 free agency. James became an unrestricted free agent at 12:01 am EDT on July 1, 2010. During his free agency, he was courted by several teams, including the Bulls, Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat, New York Knicks, New Jersey Nets, and Cavaliers. On July 8, he announced on a live ESPN special titled The Decision that he would sign with the Heat.
Career with the Miami Heat (2010–2014)
During his Debut season (2010–11)
James officially became a member of the Heat on July 10, completing a sign-and-trade six-year contract with the team. With the move, he became only the third reigning MVP to change teams and the first since Moses Malone in 1982. Although his contract would have allowed him to earn the maximum salary under the collective bargaining agreement, he took less money in order for Miami to be able to afford Bosh and Wade as well as further roster support. That evening, the Heat threw a welcome party for their new “big three” at the American Airlines Arena, an event that took on a rock concert atmosphere. During the gathering, James predicted a dynasty for the Heat and alluded to multiple championships. Outside of Miami, the spectacle was not well-received, furthering the negative public perception of James.
During the Back-to-back championships (2011–13)
Humbled by the Heat’s loss to the Mavericks, James spent the off season working with Hakeem Olajuwon on his post game. His work with Olajuwon paid off, fueling what Grantland’s Kirk Goldsberry called “one of the greatest and most important transformations in recent sports history“. Behind James’ more post-oriented play, Miami matched their best start to a season in franchise history, and at the conclusion of the lockout-shortened 2011–12 campaign, he was named MVP for the third time, finishing with averages of 27.1 points, 7.9 rebounds, 6.2 assists, and 1.9 steals per game on 53 percent shooting.
During the Fourth consecutive Finals (2013–14):
On March 3 of the 2013–14 season, James scored a career-high and franchise record 61 points in a game against the Charlotte Bobcats. Throughout the year, he was one of the few staples for a Heat roster that used 20 different starting line-ups because of injuries, finishing with averages of 27.1 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 6.4 assists per game on 56.7 percent shooting. In the second round of the playoffs, he tied a career postseason-high by scoring 49 points in Game 4 against the Brooklyn Nets. In the next round, Miami defeated the Pacers to earn their fourth consecutive Finals berth, becoming one of only four teams in NBA history to do so. In Game 1 of the Finals, James missed most of the fourth quarter because of leg cramps, helping the Spurs take an early series lead. In Game 2, he led the Heat to a series-tying victory with 35 points on a 64 percent shooting rate. San Antonio eventually eliminated the Heat in five games, ending Miami’s quest for a three-peat. For the Finals, James averaged 28.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 2 steals per game.
Return to the Cavaliers (2014–2016)
On June 25, James opted out of his contract with the Heat, officially becoming an unrestricted free agent on July 1. On July 11, he revealed via a first-person essay in Sports Illustrated that he intended to rejoin the Cavaliers. In contrast to The Decision, his announcement to return to Cleveland was well received. On July 12, he officially signed with the team. ] A month after James’ signing, the Cavaliers acquired Kevin Love from the Minnesota Timberwolves, forming a new star trio along with Kyrie Irving.
Hampered by back and knee problems, James missed 13 of 82 regular-season games in 2014-15. However, he was as dominant as ever when healthy, averaging 25.3 points and 7.4 assists per game. James led the Cavaliers to the NBA Finals, becoming the first player in nearly 50 years to reach the championship round in five consecutive seasons. However, injuries to star teammates Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving damaged his hopes of claiming a third title, and the Cavaliers lost to the Golden State Warriors in six games.
The following year, the Cavs overcame the distraction of a midseason coaching change and breezed through the playoffs to earn a rematch with the Warriors, marking the sixth straight NBA Finals appearance for King James. In perhaps the crowning achievement of his career, he led his team back from a 3-1 deficit, scoring 41 points in both Games 5 and 6, before recording a triple double in Game 7 to give the Cavs their first championship in franchise history.
Voted Finals MVP, James said, “I came back to bring a championship to our city. I knew what I was capable of doing. I knew what I learned in the last couple years that I was gone, and I knew if I had to—when I came back—I knew I had the right ingredients and the right blueprint to help this franchise get back to a place that we’ve never been. That’s what it was all about.”
Did You Know?
Lebron James Standing at 6 feet 8 inches (2.03 m) and weighing 250 pounds (113.4 kg), James has started at small forward and power forward, but can also play the other three positions. With career averages of 27.5 points, 7.2 rebounds, 6.9 assists, and 1.7 steals per game, he is considered one of the most athletic and versatile players in NBA history and has been compared to Hall of Famers Oscar Robertson, Magic Johnson, and Michael Jordan. Since 2011, he has been ranked the best player in the NBA by ESPN and Sports Illustrated.
That’s not all…
Outside of the NBA, James has worked to help others. He established the LeBron James Family Foundation in 2004, along his mother Gloria, to help out children and single-parent families in need. Among its many programs, the organization builds playgrounds in economically disadvantaged areas and hosts an annual bike-a-thon.
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