LeBron James: Celebrating Black Excellence In Sports And Entrepreneurship

by Duke Magazine

The kid from Akron roaring stellar success as an athlete and entrepreneur. The beginning might be small, but the the journey thus far has been a worth as one of the fast rising highest paid athletes in the world. In 2018, his net work is estimated to be $450 million, according to Forbes.

LeBron James is an American basketball player with the Los Angeles Lakers. James first garnered national attention as the top high school basketball player in the United States. With his unique combination of size, athleticism and court vision, he became a four-time NBA MVP. After leading the Miami Heat to titles in 2012 and 2013, James returned to Cleveland and helped the franchise claim its first championship in 2016.

Born in 1984, in Akron, Ohio. At an early age, James has been enthusiastic with his natural talent for basketball. He was recruited by St. Vincent-St. Mary High School to join their basketball team in 1999. In overall, James scored 2,657 points, 892 rebounds and 523 assists during his four years there.

As a freshman, James averaged 18 points per game. He helped the team to a Division III state title by scoring 25 points in the championship game. Word of his advanced basketball skills spread, and James received several honors for his performance.

Also as a high school sophomore, James was chosen for the USA Today All-USA First Team. He was the first sophomore ever selected for this award. His team also won the Division III state title for the second year in a row.

With his impressive record, it was no surprise that James was the first player picked in the 2003 NBA Draft straight out of high school. The Cleveland Cavaliers signed the powerful young forward, and he proved to be a valuable addition to the then-struggling franchise. The team had ended the previous season in eighth place in the Eastern Conference.

During the 2003/04 season, James made history when he became the first member of the Cavalier franchise to win the NBA Rookie of the Year Award. He also became the youngest player at only 20 years old to receive this honor. 

Additionally, James, averaging 20 points per game at this time, became one of only three rookies to accomplish this feat, putting him on the same page with Michael Jordan and Oscar Robertson. 

James continued to excel professionally in his subsequent NBA seasons. He made NBA history again in 2005 when he became the youngest player to score more than 50 points in one game.

James’ move to the Miami Heat, however, saw major success for James.

During the 2012/13 season, James made NBA history yet again, as he in 2013, at age 28, became the youngest player to score 20,000 points, succeeding Bryant of the Lakers, who accomplished this feat when he was 29, and in turn becoming only the 38th player in NBA history to achieve this distinction. 

With James’ move to the Los Angeles Lakers on a 4-year contract in 2018, the powerful forward joined the the storied franchise that counted Kobe Bryant, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson among its all-time greatest.

James participated in eight straight NBA championships from the 2010/11 season to the 2018/19 season. During that time, he captured three championship rings: twice with the Heat (2011/12 and 2012/13) and once with the Cavaliers (2015/16).

In January 2018, at age 33, James toppled Kobe Bryant as the youngest player to accumulate 30,000 career points, and became the seventh player in NBA history to achieve that milestone. The feat put him just more than 8,000 points shy of Abdul-Jabbar’s all-time record of 38,387 points.

In 2019, James surpassed Jordan’s career tally of 32,292 points to move into fourth place on the all-time list. In January 2020, he eclipsed Bryant’s total of 33,643 points to slide into third place, one night before his predecessor’s shocking death in a helicopter accident.

Did you know? LeBron James is the 8th most popular Capricorn in the world.

In international caps, James competed on the U.S. Olympic basketball team during three Summer Olympic Games, in 2004, 2008 and 2012. James made his Olympic debut at the 2004 Summer Games in Athens, Greece. 

In 2008, James played in the Beijing Olympics for the U.S. basketball team to clinch a gold medal. 

James also competed at the 2012 London Olympics to win another gold with his team. 

In 2003, James signed several endorsement deals, including a deal with Nike for $90 million that could net him over $1 billion over his lifetime. 

Other endorsements include Intel, Verizon, Coca-Cola, Beats by Dre and Kia Motors.

In the 2016/17 season, James earned a $31 million salary, making him the third player to amass that much after Jordan and Bryant. The NBA superstar went on to sign a four-year, $153.3 million contract with the Lakers in July 2018. He’s also a co-owner of the production company SpringHill Entertainment, and has invested in Blaze Pizza.

In 2019, Forbes magazine estimated the annual earnings of James at $88.7 million, making him the NBA’s highest-earning player for the fifth year in a row. 

Outside of the NBA, James has worked to help others. He established the LeBron James Family Foundation in 2004, along his mother Gloria, to help out children and single-parent families in need. 

James is one of the world’s most recognizable athletes, with his blunt expressed views on social media.

With an anticipating stint in acting, James is set to star in Space Jam 2, the 2021 sequel to the 1996 hit starring Jordan.

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