“You have to be able to accept failure to get better” is a quote that LeBron James said during an interview shortly after joining the Los Angeles Lakers this past summer explaining how hard it is to play with a young core player with no experience going into the season. His recent joining came after the Cavs lost their second straight finals to the Golden State Warriors. Often, compared to Michael Jordan about who is better, LeBron’s ability to score, assist, and put a whole franchise on his back when they were down the 3-1 should be enough to put him in “the greatest of all time” conversation. In this essay, I will talk about LeBron’s early childhood, his NBA career, accomplishments, his endorsements, and why he is considered one of the best to play in the NBA.
LeBron James was born on December 30, 1984, in Akron, Ohio. His mother, Gloria Marie James was only 16 when she had him. James also did not have a father figure, and his mother raised him all by herself. Their family bounced from house to house to find a stable home but Gloria gave up LeBron to go live with Frank Walker. When James was in fourth grade, he recalled missing around 100 days of school because they were moving so much. Even though he was missing his school, he never hanged out with the wrong crowd because he barely made any friends during his stay in each house. Living with Frank had given James the ability to learn and play football and basketball. Walker was a coach for the South Side Rangers and gave James the opportunity to as a wide receiver because of his height. He stood at 6’3″ as a freshman. He also earned a starting Small Forward position at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School his freshman season.
By sophomore year, James was considered one of the best in the country and was getting recognized by media outlets such as ESPN and Sports Illustrated. His second season at St Mary, he averaged 25.3 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 5.5 assists. He was named an All-American and won Mr. Basketball becoming the youngest in Ohio history to win the award. He was also invited to many camps such as the USA Basketball camp, Adidas ABCD camp, and a private workout with Michael Jordan.
He also became the first athlete in high school to be offered a $20 million endorsement deal from Nike and Adidas. He continued to impress college scouts while some NBA teams were interested in him after his junior year but James declined to declare for the draft. His stats increased during his senior year averaging 30.4 points, 9.7 rebounds, and 4.9 assists. People speculated whether he was bypassing college and taking his talents to the NBA but everyone was certain that James was the next face of the NBA.
James was selected first in the 2003 NBA draft. James came into the league with the expectation of being the next Michael Jordan, and he didn’t disappoint. He averaged 21 points, 6 assists, and 6 rebounds. He also won Rookie of the Year award in his 35-47 record in the Eastern Conference. At age 19, James became the youngest player in the USA team that competed in the Olympics. In the following year, he drastically improved every one of his stats averaging 27.2 points, 7.2 assists, 2.2 steals a game. He also became the first player to notch a triple-double and youngest to score 50 points in a game. James had also been selected to participate in the All-Star game during his second season and started in every All-Star game since. During his time in Cleveland, James was named MVP for two straight seasons and shortly announced after the 2010 season that he was joining the Miami Heat alongside Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade.
Facing critics about forming a superteam in Miami, James went on to win 2 more NBA MVPs, 2 titles, and 2 Finals MVPs. James then returned to his hometown in 2014 to play for the Cavs and won a championship during the 2015 season-ending a 52-year championship drought in Ohio. He also earned the finals MVP after an outstanding series which went on to game 7. James joined the Los Angeles Lakers in 2018 and since became the 5th player in NBA history to surpass 32,000 points. He also has been selected to many All NBA defensive, and first team. James continues to build his legacy with his new Lakers team and hopes to bring a championship to the city of LA.
In addition to influencing and being a role model on the court, James is married to Savannah James and has 3 kids; LeBron James Jr (Bronny), Bryce Maximus James, and Zhuri James. James has been supportive of his kids and became one of the most influential athletes in the world. He always comes to his kids’ games during the weekend and often contributes to many events that help his community back in Akron. He also opened a new elementary school called the ‘I Promise’ school that focuses on at-risk kids and low-income families. On top of all the contributions he does for his community, James also has a line of shoes he debuted when he was a rookie. He signed a lifetime Nike contract in 2015 that is worth $1 billion in the next 20 years. Forbes recently said in an article that James has built a $450 million net worth and was on his way to being a billionaire in the next few years. James not only does he air on the TV for basketball, but he also stares in a TV show called The Shop and frequently invites athletes to talk about sports, music, and cultures. He also is starring in the next Space Jam movie that is releasing on July 21st, 2021. Knowing James’ greatness has captivated both the basketball and lifestyle world, there is no doubt he has done a lot for the basketball community and influenced the youth on becoming something bigger than playing basketball.
In conclusion, winning multiple MVPs, championships, selection for All-Star games, and defensive teams, it is safe to say no other athlete in NBA history has done what he has done and he is one of the best to ever to step on the court. Winning all of those awards takes hard work and dedication to get there and sometimes you have to accept losses in order to achieve your end goal which is to win a championship. James’s greatness and legacy as a global icon and a businessman will be remembered forever.
James has shown all the attributes that all the other legends and Hall of Famers have had and has shown that he is on his way to achieving many more awards and championships in his seasons to come.