By H. Janér
Despite being the world’s best basketball player every single year for debatably for the past 10+ years, LeBron James’ story wasn’t always sunshine and rainbows. LeBron had to work just as hard if not harder than most people in our country, even considering his God-given talent since a young age to be the best on every court he played in.
LeBron was born on the 30th of December 1984 in Akron, Ohio. Since a child, LeBron has shown his insane natural talent on the court and differentiated himself from the other players, which helped him get an offer to local high school St. Vincent-St. Mary despite not having any sort of previous education. James was raised alone by his mom, Gloria James, who had him at the very young age of 16. Gloria struggled to support young LeBron, especially considering the fact his father was not present throughout his entire life. This led to many unfortunate consequences on LeBron’s early life.
However, his story was not fated to be done so early. James’ offer to St. Vincent created his basketball career and blossomed him into the player he is today. Fortunately, due to his basketball coach, Frankie Walker, LeBron had a place to stay for him to study and sleep comfortably so Gloria could also get her life straight.
That is when LeBron really started showing out. LeBron made a household name for himself while only being in high school, as the world had not seen a player more developed and NBA-ready still in high school since all-time great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Lew Alcindor). This called a never seen amount of media attention only for a teenager, as LeBron was said to be ready to play in the NBA in his sophomore season of high school already.
James received the most amount of pressure on a player before his NBA career even started ever, as he was only 17 signing contracts with brands and most notably, being named the cover of Sports Illustrated at only age 17. He was already being labeled “The Chosen One”, a nickname which he truly embraced, and people already stated that if he were not one of the greatest players of all time, he would be a bust in the NBA. His most impressive feat in his illustrious high school career, was how he handled the unprecedented hype.
Talk about high expectations.
LeBron was obviously selected 1st overall in the 2003 NBA draft. He hadn’t even started a game, and his ceiling, potential and expectations were being held to standard with the greatest player of all time, Michael Jordan. This was unbelievable pressure for an 18-year-old high school kid who had just been drafted, yet he pulled through.
On his draft day, a reporter told him “You will certainly be, the most scrutinized rookie in the history of the NBA”. He was aware of it, and even to the point to where he was being interviewed on it blatantly. When being interviewed in his draft day, the most prevalent chants in the crowds were boos, and the chants of “overrated”. He truly was set up for failure. He head into Cleveland with a target on his back, even by the fans, and by the same ungrateful fans which wished hate upon him, he was labelled the saviour of Cleveland.
Fast forward many years of LeBron carrying yet being let down by his teammates, he is now faced with what became the biggest feat of his entire career, until this day. ‘The Decision’. LeBron decided he was going to leave Cleveland so he could win something, as only stats weren’t cutting it. He decided on a live televised broadcast that he was going to the Miami Heat to join two superstars in Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. After announcing his leave, all the Cleveland fans that warmed up to him and all Cleveland fans in general were disgusted.
They felt betrayed, as if LeBron had backstabbed them, and he pretty much did. His decision of live broadcasting it was a huge embarrassment and considered one of the worst decisions he has ever made. He also did not tell Cavs management before it happened.
After making the decision, LeBron and the Heat were labelled the villains of the NBA. Everyone hated them. Upon joining, LeBron promised many rings to Miami and he succeeded, however not as much as many thought. He went to the finals with them for the first time in 2011, against Dirk Nowitzki’s Mavericks. This was debatably the first time he had failed to meet his expectations and let down millions, but this was bad. It seemed like James melt down in the finals, as he put up lackluster amount of points and shot inefficiently. His greatness was questioned, however he shut the haters up once again. He recorded 2 league MVPs and broke multiple records while adding to his illustrious career while in the Heat. James went on to go to three straight finals, and win two of them, against the Spurs and Thunder. However, his contract was up with Miami, and LeBron had yet another decision to make that would ripple across the basketball world.
LeBron had made his decision. He was coming back to Cleveland to make amends with the people. LeBron made an immediate impact now accompanied by very solid players different from his first stint. He was together with All-Star Kevin Love and number 1 overall pick Kyrie Irving, who helped him completely turn around Cleveland, and finally turn them into a true contender in the NBA.
LeBron went to the finals his first year, facing off in a first of many NBA finals versus the Stephen Curry led Golden State Warriors. LeBron lost the finals in 6 games, despite putting up an otherworldly 36 points per game with 13 rebounds and 9 assists to go with it.
The next year is probably the most famous year of LeBron’s career. He is now facing the 73-9 Warriors in the NBA finals, the greatest team of all time. The Cavs found themselves overwhelmed, quickly finding themselves down 3-1 heading into another game in San Francisco. LeBron was not finished. He won the game. Then the next one. He tied the series at 3-3 after everyone telling them a comeback was impossible, especially against the greatest team of all time. However, he did it. LeBron pulled of the 3-1 comeback, the first in NBA history in the finals. He had the greatest block of all time in which he chased down Andre Iguodala to keep the game tied with 1 minute left, and eventually win the championship. However, the next year, superstar Kevin Durant joined the Warriors in arguably the snakiest move of all time, and made the Warriors unbeatable, especially with Kyrie being injured then leaving, causing LeBron to lose two more finals despite his legendary 2018 run.
After his contract was up, James once again left Cleveland, now to go to LA. He had brought Cleveland their ring, so no harsh feelings were left. He is until today playing in the Lakers, where he seemingly hasn’t aged, leading the league in scoring at age 37. LeBron James is one of the best role model for young men and women alike in this world, as he sure overcame many difficulties and climbed a very high hill to get where he is.