|James in November 2009|
|Cleveland Cavaliers – No. 23|
|Born||December 30, 1984 (1984-12-30) |
Akron, Ohio, U.S.
|Listed height||6 ft 8 in (2.03 m)|
|Listed weight||250 lb (113 kg)|
|High school||St. Vincent–St. Mary|
|Draft||1st overall, 2003 |
|Awards||NBA Most Valuable Player |
NBA Rookie of the Year
6× NBA All-Star
NBA Scoring Champion
3× All-NBA First Team
2× All-NBA Second Team
All-Defensive First Team
NBA All-Rookie First Team
2× NBA All-Star Game MVP
Naismith Prep Player of the Year
LeBron Raymone James (pronounced /ləˈbrɒn/; born December 30, 1984) is an American professional basketball player for the Cleveland Cavaliers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Nicknamed "King James", he was a three-time "Mr. Basketball" of Ohio in high school, and was highly promoted in the national media as a future NBA superstar while a sophomore at St. Vincent–St. Mary High School. At just 18, he was selected with the number one pick in the 2003 NBA Draft by the Cavaliers and signed a US$90 million shoe contract with Nike before his professional debut. Listed as a small forward, James has set numerous youngest player records since joining the league. He was named the NBA Rookie of the Year in 2003–04, NBA Most Valuable Player in 2008–09, and has been both All-NBA and an All-Star every season since 2005.
The focal point of the Cleveland offense, James has led the team to consecutive playoff appearances from 2006 through 2009. In 2007, the Cavaliers advanced to the Conference Finals for the first time since 1992 and to the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history. James has also been a member of the USA national team, winning a bronze medal at the 2004 Olympics and gold at the 2008 Olympics.
James was born on December 30, 1984 in Akron, Ohio, and attended St. Vincent–St. Mary High School in Akron, where he became a starter during his freshman year for the Fighting Irish. He averaged 21 points and 6.2 rebounds, and led the team to a 23–1 record, en route to the Division III state title. Keith Dambrot, now head coach at the University of Akron, was the head coach at St. Vincent–St. Mary. Coach Dambrot started working with James doing $1 clinics at a local recreation center. In his sophomore year, James averaged 25.2 points, 7.2 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 3.8 steals. He led the team to a 26–1 record and a Division III state title for the second straight season. He was the first sophomore to be named Ohio's "Mr. Basketball" and also became the first sophomore ever selected to the USA Today All-USA First Team.
In James' junior year his stats improved again. He averaged 29.0 points, 8.3 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 3.3 steals and was again named Mr. Basketball of Ohio. He also earned a spot on the All-USA First Team, and was named the 2001–2002 boys' basketball Gatorade National Player of the Year. It was at this time that his nickname "King James" became a household staple in Ohio.
James appeared in SLAM Magazine, which began his nationwide exposure. However, the St. Vincent–St. Mary basketball team did not defend its state title when increased enrollment forced the team to move up to the more challenging Division II (Ohio high school basketball has four divisions based on annual enrollment figures) and lost to Roger Bacon High School (Cincinnati). James attempted to declare for the NBA draft after the season ended, petitioning for an adjustment to the NBA's draft eligibility rules, which at the time required prospective players to have at least completed high school. The petition was unsuccessful, but it ensured him an unprecedented level of nation-wide attention as he entered his senior year. By then, James had already appeared on the covers of Sports Illustrated and ESPN The Magazine. His popularity forced his team to move their practices from the school gym to the nearby James A. Rhodes Arena at the University of Akron. NBA stars such as Shaquille O'Neal attended the games, and a few of James' high school games were even televised nationally on ESPN2 and regionally on pay-per-view.
LeBron's mother, Gloria James, created a firestorm of controversy when a bank took her son's future earning power into consideration, resulting in an approval of a loan used to buy an $80,000 Hummer H2 for her son's 18th birthday. The event prompted an investigation by the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA). Under the OHSAA guidelines, no amateur may accept any gift valued over $100 as a reward for athletic performance. When James later accepted two throwback jerseys of Wes Unseld and Gale Sayers worth $845 from NEXT, an urban clothing store in Shaker Square, in exchange for his posing for pictures to be displayed on the store's walls, OHSAA stripped him of his eligibility. James appealed and a judge blocked the ruling, reducing the penalty to a two-game suspension and allowing him to play the remainder of the season. However, James's team was forced to forfeit one of their wins as a result. That forfeit was the team's only official loss that season.
Despite the distractions, the Irish won a third state title, with James averaging 31.6 points, 9.6 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 3.4 steals on the season. James was named to the All-USA First Team for an unprecedented third time, and was selected as Mr. Basketball of Ohio for the third year in a row. He earned MVP honors at the McDonald's All-American Game, the EA Sports Roundball Classic, and the Jordan Capital Classic. Although it was a foregone conclusion, by participating in more than two high school all-star events, James officially lost his NCAA eligibility. James finished his high school career with 2,657 points, 892 rebounds and 523 assists.
James was selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the first overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft. Facing the Sacramento Kings in his first NBA game, James recorded 25 points, 9 assists, 6 rebounds, and 4 steals and shot 60% from the floor. After recording a season-high 41 points against the New Jersey Nets, James became the youngest player in league history to score at least 40 points in a game. He averaged 20.9 points, 5.9 assists, and 5.5 rebounds per game for the season, and was named 2003–04 NBA Rookie of the Year; becoming the first Cavalier and youngest NBA player to ever receive the award. He joined Oscar Robertson and Michael Jordan as the only players in NBA history to average at least 20 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists per game in their rookie season. The Cavaliers improved by 18 wins and concluded the regular season with a 35–47 record, but failed to make the playoffs.
In the 2004–05 season, James was selected to his first NBA All-Star Game and recorded 13 points, 6 assists, and 8 rebounds, as the Eastern All-Stars defeated the Western All-Stars 125–115. During the season, James became the youngest player in league history to record a triple-double and make the All-NBA Team. He averaged 27.2 points, 7.2 assists, 7.4 rebounds, and 2.2 steals per game. However, the Cavaliers failed to reach the playoffs again and finished with a 42–40 regular season record.
In the 2005–06 season, James was elected to his second straight All-Star Game appearance and led the Eastern All-Stars to a 122–120 victory, with 29 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 assists. He became the youngest All-Star MVP at 21 years, 51 days. He was named NBA Player of the Week for an unprecedented three consecutive weeks and concluded the season with five honors. He scored 35 or more points in nine consecutive games and joined Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant as the only players since 1970 to accomplish the feat. For the season, James averaged 31.4 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 6.6 assists per game, and became the youngest player in NBA history to average at least 30 points. He also became the fourth player in NBA history to average more than 30 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists in a single season. The Cavaliers made the playoffs for the first time since 1998, and improved from a record of 17–65 in 2002–03 to 50–32 in 2005–06.
Following the regular season, James was named as one of the candidates for the NBA Most Valuable Player Award. Although he finished second to Steve Nash of the Phoenix Suns in MVP voting, he was awarded co-MVP honors with Nash by The Sporting News; an award given by the publication that is based on the voting of thirty NBA general managers.
James made his playoff debut against the Washington Wizards in 2006. He recorded a triple-double with 32 points, 11 assists and 11 rebounds, as the Cavaliers defeated the Wizards 97–86. He joined Johnny McCarthy and Magic Johnson as the only players in NBA history to register a triple-double in their playoff debut. For the series, James averaged 35.7 points, as the Cavaliers defeated the Wizards in six games. In the process, however, James set a new record for turnovers in a 6-game series, with 34. In the second round of the playoffs, James and the Cavaliers lost in seven games to the defending Eastern Conference champion and divisional rival Detroit Pistons. James averaged 30.8 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 5.8 assists in the playoffs.
At the end of the season, James negotiated a three-year contract extension, with a player option for a fourth year. The contract is worth $60 million and began at the start of the 2007–08 season. Although it is for fewer years and less money than the maximum he could sign, it allows him the option of seeking a new contract worth more money as an unrestricted free agent following the 2010 season.
James was elected to his third consecutive All-Star game appearance during the 2006–07 season. He played a game high 32 minutes and finished with 28 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists. In the regular season, the Cavaliers tied the previous season's record with 50 wins and clinched the second seed of the Eastern Conference on the last day of the season. For the season, James averaged 27.3 points, 6.7 rebounds, 6.0 assists, and 1.6 steals per game. He joined Oscar Robertson as the only players in NBA history to average 27 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists for three consecutive years.
In the first round of the 2007 NBA Playoffs, James led the Cavaliers to their first sweep in franchise history over the Washington Wizards in four games. It was also the first time the franchise had won consecutive road playoff games. For the series, James averaged 27.8 points, 7.5 assists, and 8.5 rebounds. In the second round of the playoffs, James led the Cavaliers to a 4–2 series victory over the New Jersey Nets. He averaged 25.0 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 8.6 assists in the series, as the Cavaliers advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time in 15 years.
In the Eastern Conference Finals, James led the Cavaliers from an 0–2 deficit against the Detroit Pistons to win the series in six games. His performance in Game 5 was especially memorable. James recorded a franchise-record 48 points on 54.5% field goal shooting, to go with 9 rebounds and 7 assists. In addition, James scored 29 of Cleveland's last 30 points, including the team's final 25 points in a double-overtime victory. He concluded the night with the game-winning lay-up with 2 seconds left. NBA analyst Marv Albert referred to James's performance as "one of the greatest moments in postseason history," while color commentator Steve Kerr called it "Jordan-esque."
In the 2007 NBA Finals, James averaged 22.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 6.8 assists, as the Cavaliers were swept by the San Antonio Spurs, losing 4 consecutive games. For the postseason, James averaged 25.1 points, 8.0 assists and 8.1 rebounds per game. He set a franchise record for double-doubles in a playoff season with eight and became the first Cavalier and the first non-guard in NBA history to have at least seven assists in eight consecutive playoff games.
In the 2007–08 season, James continued his dominant play, earning his fourth consecutive All-Star Game appearance and once again positioning himself as one of the front runners for the NBA Most Valuable Player award. He won the 2008 All-Star Game MVP with 27 points, 8 rebounds, 9 assists, 2 blocks and 2 steals as the Eastern Conference All-Stars defeated their Western counterparts, 134–128.
On February 19, 2008, James recorded his fifth triple-double of the 2007–08 season by putting up 26 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists against the Houston Rockets. It was the fifteenth triple-double of his career. He is the third youngest player to post 15 triple-doubles, behind Oscar Robertson and Magic Johnson. He scored his sixth triple-double of the season and sixteenth of his career against the Indiana Pacers the very next game. It was the second time during the season that he had a triple-double in back-to-back games. The last player to accomplish that feat was Magic Johnson in 1988. James finished the season with seven triple-doubles, breaking his personal and team records for triple-doubles in a season and 17 career triple-doubles broke his team record as well.
On February 27, 2008, against the Boston Celtics, James became the youngest person to score 10,000 points in his career at 23 years and 59 days, achieving the feat in style with a slam-dunk over 11-time All-Star Kevin Garnett, eclipsing the old mark by more than a year. James did so in 368 games, the ninth fastest in league history. On March 5, 2008, James scored 50 points with 8 rebounds and 10 assists on the New York Knicks, becoming only the third player since the ABA-NBA merger to record a 50-point 10-assist game. On March 21, 2008, James scored 29 points against the Toronto Raptors, taking him past Brad Daugherty's all-time Cavaliers scoring record of 10,389 points. Daugherty achieved this record over the course of 548 games, while James took only 380 games to score 10,414 points.
All told, James propelled Cleveland to a 45–37 record, good for second place in the Central Division and the 4th seed in the Eastern Conference Playoffs. Prior to Cleveland's first-round series versus the Washington Wizards, Wizards guard Deshawn Stevenson said James was "overrated," prompting James to say that he would not return the insult, as that would be "almost like Jay-Z [responding to a negative comment] made by Soulja Boy." In response, Soulja Boy himself made an appearance at Game 3 of the series (played in Washington) in support of the Wizards, and his music was played over the PA system. James would later say that he meant no disrespect to Soulja Boy with his comment, and that his young son is a big fan of the rapper. Jay-Z responded by producing a freestyle version of the Too Short single "Blow the Whistle", named "Playoff", in which he "disses" Stevenson and Soulja Boy on James' behalf. The Cavaliers won the series against the Wizards in 6 games (4–2). The Cavaliers were eliminated by the Boston Celtics in the next round (4–3). During the decisive seventh game, which was played in Boston, James and opponent Paul Pierce each scored 40+ points.
In the 2008–09 season James continued to improve facets of his game while setting new career highs. He had 23 chase-down blocks (93 blocks in total, a career-high) and improved his free-throw shooting (78.0%, a career-high, with league-leading 594 free-throws made). He was the NBA Player of the Month four times, making him the second player in NBA history to do that after Kevin Garnett did so in his 2003–04 MVP season. In addition, he became the fourth player in NBA history to lead his team in all five major statistical categories (total points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks) in one season.
After a win on March 25 against the New Jersey Nets the Cleveland Cavaliers improved their record to 58–13 exceeding their previous franchise best of 57–25 set in the 1988–89 and 1991–92 NBA seasons. They ended the regular season with a league best of 66–16 after losing their final home game to the Philadelphia 76ers in overtime. The Cavaliers had a chance to tie the 1985–86 Boston Celtics for the all-time best NBA home record but ended at 39–2 after home losses to the Los Angeles Lakers and 76ers.
In the playoffs, the Cavaliers swept the Detroit Pistons in the first round of the 2009 NBA Playoffs. James averaged 32.0 points, 11.3 rebounds and 7.5 assists in the series and became just the third player in NBA history to average at least 30 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists in a postseason series. At the end of the last game, in which he tallied 36 points, 13 rebounds and 8 assists on 16–17 free throw shooting, there were MVP chants for him in The Palace of Auburn Hills. On May 4, he was announced as the NBA Most Valuable Player. He became the first Cavaliers player in history to win the award. He was also named to the NBA All-Defensive Team for the first time in his career. In the next series in the playoffs, James once again led his team to a sweep against the Atlanta Hawks.
On May 22, during Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals, the Orlando Magic's Hedo Türkoğlu shot a 12-foot jumper to give the Magic a 2-point lead with 1 second left. Following a Cleveland timeout, Williams inbounded the ball to James, but heavy defense by Türkoğlu denied James a chance at a tying layup. James then attempted and successfully made a three-point shot over Türkoğlu, giving the Cavs a 96–95 victory to tie the series 1–1. Following losses in both games 3 and 4, James and the rest of the Cavs scored a victory in Game 5, making it 3–2, to send the series back to Orlando. In Game 6, he scored a playoff low 25 points and the Cavaliers lost the series to Orlando. Lebron's postgame behavior incited some controversy when he left the game floor without shaking hands with his opponents. Jalen Rose, a former NBA player and current ESPN commentator, said James' actions were "immature and ingracious." James later told reporters "It's hard for me to congratulate somebody after you just lose to them, I'm a winner. It's not being a poor sport or anything like that. If somebody beats you up, you're not going to congratulate them. ... I'm a competitor. That's what I do. It doesn't make sense for me to go over and shake somebody's hand."
In the 2009-10 season, James was selected to his sixth consecutive All-Star game appearance. He became the first player to earn at least 2.5 million votes three times. James recorded 25 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds and 4 steals as the Eastern Conference All-Stars defeated the Western Conference All-Stars 141-139. In a 118-116 loss to the Denver Nuggets, James became the first player in NBA history to record 43 points, 13 rebounds, 15 assists, two steals and four blocks in a game. He was also the first player to have at least 40 points, 15 assists and 13 rebounds in a game since Oscar Robertson did so on February 13, 1962. On March 13, 2010, James became the youngest player in NBA history to score 15,000 regular season points during a 92-85 win over the Chicago Bulls.
United States national team
|Competitor for United States|
|Gold||2008 Beijing||Team competition|
|Bronze||2004 Athens||Team competition|
|FIBA World Championship|
|Bronze||2006 Japan||Team competition|
|FIBA Americas Championship|
|Gold||2007 Las Vegas||Team competition|
After his rookie season, James played on the 2004 U.S. Olympic basketball team in Athens, where the United States won the bronze medal in men's basketball. It was the first time a U.S. Olympic team with NBA players failed to win the gold medal. Limited to 14.6 minutes per game, James averaged just 5.8 points and 2.6 rebounds per game. James also competed in the 2006 FIBA World Championship in Japan and averaged 13.9 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 4.1 assists per game. However, the team finished with an 8–1 record, and was again awarded the bronze medal. James was named as one of three captains for the 2006 USA Men's World Championship team, alongside Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade. After failing to win the 2006 World Championships, the team competed at the 2007 Tournament of Americas Olympic qualifiers to qualify for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. During the gold medal game against Argentina, James recorded 31 points, the most by an American in an Olympic qualifier, as the United States captured gold medal honors. He averaged 18.1 points (on tournament-high field-goal percentage (76%) and three-point percentage (62.2%), 4.7 assists, 3.6 rebounds and 1.5 steals in 22.2 minutes per game.
James, along with the rest of Team USA reclaimed the gold medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, defeating Spain 118 to 107. He finished the gold medal game with 14 points along with 6 rebounds and 3 assists as the U.S. went unbeaten, winning their first Gold Medal since the 2000 Olympics.
James has established himself as a legitimate triple-double threat and has averaged 27.5 points, 6.7 assists and 7.0 rebounds per game for his career. As of the 2009–10 season, he has recorded 31 triple-doubles in his career, with 27 in the regular season and four in the postseason. On offense, James is known for using his size, strength and quickness to get past defenders, and for absorbing contact while finishing at the basket. In the 2005–06 season, he led the league in completed traditional three point plays. He is a solid rebounder who regularly ranks among the league leaders in rebounds for the small forward position. His skills have led to many comparisons to NBA legends Oscar Robertson, Magic Johnson, and Michael Jordan.
Jersey number change
In the first part of his career, he wore the jersey number 23 because he wanted to be like Michael Jordan. On March 1, 2010, James filed an application to the NBA to wear the #6 starting the 2010/2011 season. He also started a petition saying that no one should be allowed to wear the #23 in the NBA to honor Michael Jordan. It will be the first time James will not be wearing the #23 since his freshman year in high school, when a senior on his team wore it.
James has two children with his high school sweetheart, Savannah Brinson. The first, LeBron James Jr., was born on October 6, 2004, and the second, Bryce Maximus James, on June 14, 2007. On his twenty-fourth birthday, avant-garde guitarist Buckethead honored James with two new songs on his website called "LeBron" and "LeBron's Hammer" both later released on the 2009 album Slaughterhouse on the Prairie  One of his earlier songs, "King James" from Crime Slunk Scene (2006), is also dedicated to James.
James also played football during his high school years at St.Vincent-St. Mary's. In his sophomore year he was named first-team all-state as a wide receiver, and in his junior year he led his team to the state semifinals. Sports analysts have speculated on whether he could have played in the NFL.
James has endorsement contracts with Nike, Sprite, Glacéau, Bubblicious, Upper Deck, McDonald's and State Farm.  With Nike, James has released six signature shoe styles, and four additional shoes (20-5-5, Soldier, Soldier 2, Ambassador). He has acted in a 2007 series of commercials called "The LeBrons", as well as had his likeness voiced by Kenan Thompson in a 2009 commercial series titled "MVPuppets". In December 2007, James was ranked at #1 in the Forbes Top 20 Earners Under 25 with annual earnings of $27 million.
In June 2008, James donated $20,000 to a committee to elect Barack Obama. On October 29, 2008, James gathered almost 20,000 people at the Quicken Loans Arena for a viewing of Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama's 30-minute American Stories, American Solutions television advertisement. It was shown on a large screen above the stage, where Jay-Z later held a free concert.
James and Ice Cube have paired up to pitch a one-hour special to ABC based on James' life. James will also act as executive producer if the show is greenlighted. James appeared on the cover of the February 2009 edition of GQ magazine. James stars in the Lions Gate film, More Than a Game (2009).
During the 2007 NBA Playoffs, James drew criticism when he declined to sign a petition started by his teammate, Ira Newble, regarding the Chinese government's alleged involvement in the ongoing conflict in the Darfur region of Sudan, stating that he did not know enough about the issue. A year later, however, James did talk publicly about the issue, saying, "At the end of the day we're talking about human rights. And people should understand that human rights and people's lives are in jeopardy. We're not talking about contracts here. We're not talking about money. We're talking about people's lives being lost and that means a lot more to me than some money or a contract."
James has received criticism from Cleveland fans and critics for attending Cleveland Indians games against the New York Yankees dressed in a Yankees hat. James said, "As individuals I want every Indian to succeed. I love all these fans for coming out and supporting us. But team-wise I want the Yankees to win." Despite residing in Ohio for all of his childhood, James added that he grew up as a Yankees fan, a Dallas Cowboys fan and a Chicago Bulls fan. In January 2008, Nike released the Air Zoom V LeBron shoe, which featured a Yankees-type motif and was made available only in New York City.
In March 2008, James became the first black man to appear on the cover of Vogue, posing with Gisele Bündchen. He also was just the third man to appear on the cover of Vogue, after Richard Gere and George Clooney. Some sports bloggers and columnist considered the cover offensive, describing the positioning of James and Bündchen as a reference to classic imagery of the movie monster King Kong.
In August 2008, a source close to James said he would strongly consider playing in Europe for Olympiacos if given a $50-million annual salary. However, James later said he may sign a contract extension with the Cleveland Cavaliers at the conclusion of the 2008–2009 NBA season.
On July 6, 2009, James courted controversy when he ordered organizers to confiscate CBS video tape of him being dunked on by Xavier University's Jordan Crawford at the Nike LeBron James Skills Academy.
James, with comedian Jimmy Kimmel, co-hosted the 2007 ESPY Awards. James himself was nominated for three ESPYs: Best Male Athlete, Best NBA Player (winner), and Best Record Breaking Performance. The performance for which he was nominated was when he scored 48 points in Game 5 of the 2007 NBA Eastern Conference Finals against the Detroit Pistons, including 29 of the last 30 points and all of the team's 25 points in overtime. In other comedic pursuits, James hosted the 33rd season premiere of Saturday Night Live. The show's creator Lorne Michaels praised him for his versatility.
James has a number of tattoos all over his body. Across his back is an emblazoned banner, "Chosen 1," a name he received from the cover of Sports Illustrated while in high school. On his right leg vertically, "Witness." On his right arm, a lion with a crown and "Gloria" for his mother. On his upper left arm, the word "Beast" and "Hold my own." On his lower left arm, a rendition of the face of his first son, and the words, "Prince James" for his first son, and "Maximus Bryce" for his second son. On his lower right arm, "Akron", and "330" the telephone area code for Akron, Ohio, James' hometown. Additionally on his lower right forearm, the slogan, "No one can see through what I am except for the one that made me." On his chest, the words, "Gifted Child" and a large animal across his pectorals resembling a "lion-dragon."
NBA career statistics
|GP||Games played||GS||Games started||MPG||Minutes per game|
|FG%||Field-goal percentage||3P%||3-point field-goal percentage||FT%||Free-throw percentage|
|RPG||Rebounds per game||APG||Assists per game||SPG||Steals per game|
|BPG||Blocks per game||PPG||Points per game||Bold||Career high|
Awards and honors
- NBA Most Valuable Player: 2009
- NBA Rookie of the Year: 2004
- NBA All-Rookie First Team: 2004
- NBA Scoring Champion: 2008
- 2-time NBA All-Star Game MVP: 2006, 2008
- 6-time NBA All-Star: 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010
- 5-time All-NBA:
- First Team: 2006, 2008, 2009
- Second Team: 2005, 2007
- 1-time NBA All-Defensive:
- First Team: 2009
- Bronze medal with Team USA, 2004 Summer Olympic Games
- Bronze medal with Team USA, 2006 FIBA World Championship
- Gold medal with Team USA, 2007 FIBA Americas Championship
- Gold medal with Team USA, 2008 Summer Olympic Games