LeBron James has risen to become the indisputable best basketball player in the world. Standing at 6’8″, 250+ lbs, LeBron can do it all. He can effectively play every position on the court, both offensively and defensively. He elevates the play of his teammates and the efficiency of his individual scoring is changing the way we look at scorers in the NBA. Today, we take a look at LeBron’s high school career and remember his humble origins.
Oh wait, they weren’t so humble were they? It’s easy to remember LeBron’s origins because his was the most publicized and touted high school career in history. LeBron made his first Sports Illustrated cover in 2002 at the tender age of 17. The title of the cover piece? The Chosen One. LeBron was going to be the second coming of Michael Jordan, the next transcendent super-star to take the NBA to the promised land.
To cap off his high school career, LeBron led St. Vincent-St. Mary’s to Ohio state championships in three out of four years, while drawing national media attention the whole way. From early on in his career, LeBron’s spectacular play forced St. Vincent-St. Mary’s to move out of their home gymnasium and play home games in nearby University of Akron to accommodate not only fans and alumni but national media and scouts. He was an NBA rule away from declaring for the NBA draft after his junior year and would have likely been a high lottery pick.
Instead, LeBron comes to the NBA after his senior year, being selected 1st by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2003 draft ahead of other great talents, most notably Dwayne Wade, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh. Eleven years later, and in the midst of the hype, LeBron didn’t disappoint. LeBron has won 4 MVP awards and 1 NBA Championship with the Miami Heat. In the face of criticism and pressure, LeBron has changed the way fans and analysts look at traditional player positions as well as raising the bar for what a superstar is in the NBA by his offensive efficiency and the ability to make teammates better.
This year, it comes full circle as LeBron makes good on a promise he made in high school to help out his alma mater when he’s made it. With a $1,000,000 donation, LeBron is helping St. Vincent-St. Mary’s build a new gym. Today we look back at some iconic photos of the “Chosen One” in his early days.