Gloria James was 16 when her son was born on December 30, 1984. She lived with her mother, Freda, who was known in her neighborhood as a giving woman, an excellent hairstylist and an anchor to her daughter, who now was a single mom. They lived in a large house on Hickory Street in Akron. But on Christmas Day, 1987, a week before LeBron's third birthday, Freda James died of a heart attack. Gloria was 19, on her own and unable to make enough money for her and her only child to stay in the house. LeBron has said in interviews that he moved about 10 times by his eighth birthday.
The identity of LeBron's biological father is not known, at least not publicly. A few men have made that claim, including one man who served some serious time in the Ohio prison system. But none produced any proof. Speculation in Akron has long been that the dad may have been Roland Bivins, who played basketball at Akron Central-Hower and was killed not long after high school. LeBron has never identified his biological father, and he does not welcome any questions about the subject. A close friend of Gloria's, Eddie Jackson, later came to be called "a father figure" by LeBron. He would help Gloria and LeBron during LeBron's high school years, and would be a key player in the early days of LeBron's negotiations with shoe companies. But Jackson never claimed to be LeBron's biological father, and he wasn't always there during LeBron's childhood.
When it came time to enter high school, James was living with the family of his friend Dru Joyce. So he simply followed Joyce to Akron's St. Vincent-St. Mary's high school. By the time James graduated as a three-time USA Today All-American, his once-in-a-generation basketball talent dictated that he enter the NBA Draft out of high school and skip college, where his friends went.
And as the No. 1 pick in the 2003 draft, James had no choice in his destination. Cleveland owned the first choice and used it to snag the greatest player the state had ever produced.
After seven years, six All-Star appearances, five seasons of averaging at least 27.3 points, two trips to the Eastern Conference Finals and one failed shot at winning a championship in Cleveland, James reached the end of his contract
Just a few months after being selected the most likely to succeed in his high school class, he signed a multi-million dollar NBA contract with the last place Cavaliers and a seven year, $90 million endorsement deal with Nike - the most ever paid to a basketball player. Another lucrative contract with Coca Cola laid the foundation for what James hopes will become a billion-dollar business empire. And it didn't take the enterprise long to begin paying dividends.
On October 29, 2003, two months before his 19th birthday, LeBron James played his first NBA game, scoring 25 points in 42 minutes as the Cavs lost to the Sacramento Kings. LeBron immediately became the Cavs’ best player, averaging 20.9 points, 5.5 rebounds and 5.9 assists in nearly 40 minutes a night. He was only the third rookie in history to average a 20-5-5 during his rookie season, and became the youngest player ever to score 40 points in a game (March 27, 2004). Eventually James won the NBA Rookie of the year, the first Cavalier to receive the award, as Cleveland improved from a 17-65 record to a 35-47, missing the playoffs.
In 2007, the Cavs beat Jason Kidd and the Nets 4-2 in the Eastern Semi Final, averaging 25 points, 7.2 rebounds and 8.6 assists, leading the Cavs to their first conference finals since 1992, in the Price-Nance-Daugherty era.
The Pistons took Games 1 and 2, but LeBron led the Cavs to four straight victories over Detroit, with an historic game 5 performance – he scored 48 points, scoring 29 of Cleveland’s last 30 points and their last 25 in the 109-107 double overtime win.
The news that James was leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers to join the Miami Heat could have been handled with an announcement or a tweet but instead was blown up into an hour-long, prime-time special that was anticlimactic at best.
A story on ChicagoBusiness.com estimated that James' economic impact in his new market could generate as much as $2.7 billion should he lead a team to multiple championships. That figure, which some might find laughable, is based on spikes in a combination of ticket sales, lucrative television rights, merchandise sold and tourism. In other words, James is not only the youngest player in NBA history to win two MVP awards and score 15,000 career points, he's also a one-man slam-dunking stimulus package.
In pressure moments, he comes and goes … and when it goes, it's gone. He starts throwing hot-potato passes, stops driving to the basket, shies away from open 3s, stands in the corner, hides as much as someone that gifted can hide on a basketball court. It started happening in Game 3, then fully manifested itself in Game 4's stunning collapse, when he wouldn't even consider beating DeShawn Stevenson off the dribble. Afterward, one of my closest basketball friends — someone who has been defending LeBron's ceiling for years — finally threw up his hands and gave up. "It's over," he said. "Jordan never would have done THAT."
According to no less an authority than the Harvard Business School, LeBron James is now the third-biggest name in the sports world, behind Tiger Woods and soccer star David Beckham, with earnings last year - on and off the court - of $40 million.
If he seizes the opportunity, James could become as popular in China as Yao Ming by the end of the decade. Coinciding with Team USA's gold-medal performance at the Beijing Olympics last year, the NBA opened its first two merchandise stores in China with many more to come. It's by far the global market with the most potential for growth, and the millions of eyeballs and billions of dollars could provide the boost LeBron needs to separate himself from Jordan.
Fenway Sports Management -- the sister company of the Red Sox -- said Wednesday it has signed James and the management company he helped create, LRMR, to a long-term deal to secure marketing and sponsorship opportunities. As part of the deal, James obtained a piece of Liverpool FC, one of the world's most famed soccer teams and a longtime marquee franchise in the English Premier League.
June 22 (Bloomberg) -- LeBron James left behind the hate and went back to playing basketball with “love and dedication.” The result was his first National Basketball Association championship.
James scored 26 points and the Miami Heat tied an NBA Finals record with 14 3-pointers in a 121-106 victory against the visiting Oklahoma City Thunder to clinch their first title since 2006.
James just unleashed one of the most physically dominating NBA playoffs performances in the history of the league. In the past 35 years, only three players averaged at least 30 points and 10 rebounds per game throughout a playoff run: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O'Neal and Hakeem Olajuwon.
In this postseason, not including his Game 5 performance, James averaged 30.5 points and 9.7 rebounds, along with 5.3 assists and nearly two steals per game.
“It’s about Damn Time” were the words that came out of LeBron’s mouth Thursday night after winning his first NBA championship. In the past two years, LeBron has gone under the most scrutiny by media and sports fans probably in the history of the NBA.
Since the infamous broadcast “The Decision” and the outrageous Big 3 Party where he displayed his cockiness of how many rings the Miami Heat would win (not 1,not 2, not 3…) all types of hate toward LeBron have been present. Ranging from the burning of his Cavalier’s jersey to the thousands upon thousands of jokes of LeBron not having a title yet, Lebron was the face of “I hate…”