LeBron James - Basketball
Born on December 30, 1984 in Akron, Ohio, USA, LeBron James is a professional basketball player with the NBA and an Olympic athlete. Wisely considered to be the most talented basketball player in the world, the 6-8, 250-lb James is a specimen to behold. Not only does his size and strength impress, but his athletic ability, along with his extremely high b-ball IQ, make him a true freak of nature.
After the “Dream Teams” of the 1990s, the USA lost its edge and ultimately its basketball dominance. Other teams from around the world started to emerge, and the United States’ athletes, more concerned with money and endorsement deals than Olympic Gold, were on the backburner. This all changed in 2008, when a LeBron-led USA squad dominated the field in Beijing. Team USA hope to repeat as Olympic champions this summer.
The story of LeBron James takes a different trajectory than most other Olympians. With sports like basketball and football, the athletes on their respective nations’ teams hold down pro careers in leagues and do not compete regularly in championship circuits like swimmers or archers. But in terms of strict basketball, James has been the “king” of the court since his days in high school with St. Vincent-St. Mary’s.
In his freshman year, James was already better than every senior in the nation. He and his team started to create a nationwide buzz, and after leading his high school team to multiple titles and earning honors as the Gatorade National Player of the Year, James was a shoo-in to forego the collegiate ranks and jump straight into the NBA – the league where every professional basketball player in the world wants to end up.
In 2003, coming out of high school, it was a foregone conclusion that whichever team had the 1st pick in the Draft would take James, and the 1st pick just so happened to belong to his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers. James was an immediate success, revamping the entire organization. In his time with the team, the Cavs were perennial contenders, making it to the Finals, the Playoffs multiple years, and finishing with the league’s best record in 2010.
Then came the controversy. In 2010, after not winning the championship in Cleveland, James made enemies out of a once adoring nation when he held a press conference to announce that he was leaving the Cavs to join his friend and fellow Olympic teammate Dwayne Wade in Miami (Heat).
Just two years previous, James had played on the US Men’s Basketball team that won Olympic Gold, alongside Wade and other eventual teammate Chris Bosh. The men dominated the competition, and they talked then about one day teaming up in the NBA.
Although the 2012 USA Men’s National team hasn’t been selected yet, it has been whittled down to 20 players, amongst whom LeBron James stands out as a surefire bet to compete in 2012. And judging from 2008’s team, this year’s team will only be better.
- 2004 Rookie of the Year
- NBA All Star – 8x (2005/12)
- All-NBA First Team – 5x (06, 08-11)
- NBA Scoring Champion (2008)
- NBA MVP – 2x (2009, 2010)
- 2008 Olympic Games – Gold
- 2012 Summer Olympics - Gold