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LeBron Raymone James (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 Cleveland Cavaliers and signed a 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 2009–10, and has been both All-NBA selection and an All-Star every season since 2005. In 2010, a much-publicized free agency process ended with James going to the Miami Heat. He became the third reigning NBA MVP to change teams and the first since Moses Malone in 1982.[1]

The focal point of the Cleveland offense, James led the team to consecutive playoff appearances from 2006 through 2010. 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 been a member of the USA national team, winning a bronze medal at the 2004 Olympics and gold at the 2008 Olympics.

In 2014, he opted out of his Heat contract and rejoined the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Biography Edit

James was born on December 30, 1984 in Akron, Ohio, to a 16-year-old mother, Gloria. His biological father, Anthony McClelland, was an ex-convict who left Gloria and forced her to raise LeBron by herself.[2][3]

James has two children with his high school sweetheart, Savannah Brinson. The first, LeBron James Jr., was born on October 6, 2004,[4] and the second, Bryce Maximus James, on June 14, 2007.[4][5]

James 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.[6] Sports analysts have speculated on whether he could have played in the NFL.[7]

Endorsements Edit

James has endorsement contracts with Nike, Sprite, Glacéau, Bubblicious, Upper Deck, McDonald's and State Farm.[8][9] 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.[10]

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James and Ice Cube have paired up to pitch a one-hour special to ABC based on James' life. James will act as executive producer if the show is greenlighted.[11] James appeared on the cover of the February 2009 edition of GQ magazine.[12] He stars in the Lions Gate film, More Than a Game (2009).

Public image Edit

During the 2007 NBA Playoffs, James drew criticism[13] 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.[14][15] A year later, 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."[16]

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.[17] 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.[18]

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In March 2008, James became the first black man to appear on the cover of Vogue, posing with Gisele Bündchen.[19] He was 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 demeanor of James and his holding Bündchen as a reference to classic imagery of the movie monster King Kong from 75 years earlier.[19][20]

In June 2008, James donated $20,000 to a committee to elect Barack Obama.[21] 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.[22]

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.[23] James later said he may sign a contract extension with the Cleveland Cavaliers at the conclusion of the 2008–2009 NBA season.[24]

On July 6, 2009, James courted controversy when he ordered organizers to confiscate CBS video tape of him being dunked on by Xavier University guard Jordan Crawford at the Nike LeBron James Skills Academy.[25]

On July 23 in an interview for his upcoming book "Shooting Stars",[26] James admitted to smoking marijuana at one point during his high school career to help cope with all the stress resulting from constant media attention he was receiving at the time.[27][28][29][30]

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.[31] 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.

Tattoos Edit

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."[32]

High school basketballEdit

James 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.[6] In his sophomore year, James averaged 25.2 points, 7.2 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 3.8 steals.[6] He led the team to a 26–1 record and a Division III state title for the second straight season.[33] He was the first sophomore to be named Ohio's "Mr. Basketball" and became the first sophomore ever selected to the USA Today All-USA First Team.[33]

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.[33] He 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. 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 considered declaring for the 2002 draft after the season ended by 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.[34] 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.

In 2003, James' mother, Gloria James, got approval of a loan to buy a Hummer H2 for her son's 18th birthday.[35] The bank took her son's future earning power into consideration, prompting an investigation by the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA).[35] Under the OHSAA guidelines, no amateur may accept any gift valued over $100 as a reward for athletic performance.[36] 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.[36] 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. James' team was forced to forfeit one of their wins as a result.[37] 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.[33] 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.[33] He earned MVP honors at the McDonald's All-American Game, the EA Sports Roundball Classic, and the Jordan Capital Classic.Template:Citation needed Although it was a foregone conclusion, by participating in more than two high school all-star events, James officially lost his NCAA eligibility.[38] James finished his high school career with 2,657 points, 892 rebounds and 523 assists.[33]

Professional careerEdit

Cleveland Cavaliers (2003-2010)Edit

Rookie season Edit

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.[39] 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.[40] He was scheduled to compete in the 2004 Slam Dunk Contest during the All-Star weekend, although due to an ankle injury he suffered in January 2004, he was unable to participate in the contest.[41] James averaged 20.9 points, 5.9 assists, and 5.5 rebounds per game for the season,[42] and was named 2003–04 NBA Rookie of the Year; becoming the first Cavalier and youngest NBA player to ever receive the award.[6] 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 (Tyreke Evans has since joined this group).[6] The Cavaliers improved by 18 wins and concluded the regular season with a 35–47 record, but failed to make the playoffs.[43]

2004–05 season Edit

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.[44] During the season, James became the youngest player in league history to record a triple-double and make the All-NBA Team.[6] He averaged 27.2 points, 7.2 assists, 7.4 rebounds, and 2.2 steals per game.[42] The Cavaliers failed to reach the playoffs again and finished with a 42–40 regular season record.[45]

2005–06 season Edit

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.[46] He was named NBA Player of the Week for an unprecedented three consecutive weeks and concluded the season with five honors.[47] He scored 35 or more points in nine consecutive games, joining Jordan and Kobe Bryant as the only players since 1970 to accomplish the feat.[47] For the season, James averaged 31.4 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 6.6 assists per game,[42] and became the youngest player in NBA history to average at least 30 points. He became the fourth player in NBA history to average more than 30 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists in a single season.[48] The Cavaliers made the playoffs for the first time since 1998,[49] and improved from a record of 17–65 in 2002–03 to 50–32 in 2005–06.[50]

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.[51]

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.[52] He joined Johnny McCarthy and Magic Johnson as the only players in NBA history to register a triple-double in their playoff debut.[52] For the series, James averaged 35.7 points, as the Cavaliers defeated the Wizards in six games.[53] In the process, 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.[42]

At the end of the season, James negotiated a three-year contract extension, with a player option for a fourth year. The contract was worth $60 million and began at the start of the 2007–08 season.[54] 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.[54] He had discussed this with fellow members of his 2003 draft class, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh, who also re-signed with their respective teams while allowing them to be unrestricted agents in 2010.[55]

2006–07 season Edit

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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.[56] 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.[57] For the season, James averaged 27.3 points, 6.7 rebounds, 6.0 assists, and 1.6 steals per game.[6] He joined Robertson as the only players in NBA history to average 27 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists per game for three consecutive years.[58]

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.[59] It was the first time the franchise had won consecutive road playoff games.[59] For the series, James averaged 27.8 points, 7.5 assists, and 8.5 rebounds.[42] In the second round of the playoffs, James led the Cavaliers to a 4–2 series victory over the New Jersey Nets.[60] He averaged 25.0 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 8.6 assists in the series,[42] as the Cavaliers advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time in 15 years.[60]

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.[61] NBA analyst Marv Albert referred to James' performance as "one of the greatest moments in postseason history," while color commentator Steve Kerr called it "Jordan-esque."[31]

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.[6] For the postseason, James averaged 25.1 points, 8.0 assists and 8.1 rebounds per game.[42] 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.[6]

2007–08 season Edit

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In the 2007–08 season, James continued his dominant play, earning his fourth consecutive All-Star Game appearance[62] 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.[63]

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 Robertson and Johnson.[64] 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 Johnson in 1988.[65] 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.[66]

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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.[67][68] 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.[69] 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.[70]

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."[71] 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.[72] 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.[73][74] 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.

2008–09 season Edit

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).[75][76] 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.[77] 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.[78]

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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.

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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.[79] On May 4, he was announced as the NBA Most Valuable Player. He became the first Cavaliers player in history to win the award.[80][81][82]

He was named to the NBA All-Defensive Team for the first time in his career.[83]

In the next series in the playoffs, James once again led his team to a sweep against the Atlanta Hawks.[84]

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.[85] 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. James' postgame behavior incited some controversy when he left the game floor without shaking hands with his opponents.[86] Jalen Rose, a former NBA player and current ESPN commentator, said James' actions were "immature and ingracious."Template:Citation needed 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."[87]

2009–10 season Edit

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Before the 2009–10 season, Cleveland traded for four-time NBA champion Shaquille O'Neal to address an inside presence that was missing against Orlando.[88] O'Neal's goal was to "Win a Ring for the King."[89] James was selected to his sixth consecutive All-Star game appearance.[90] He became the first player to earn at least 2.5 million votes three times.[90] 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.[91] 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.[92] He was the first player to have at least 40 points, 15 assists and 13 rebounds in a game since Robertson did so on February 13, 1962.[92] All-Star Antawn Jamison was acquired by the Cavs on February 17, 2010.[93] 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.[94]

At the end of the regular season, Cleveland finished with the best regular season record for the second year consecutive year.[95] James won the Most Valuable Player for the second time in his career, becoming the tenth NBA player in history to do so.[96] James received 116 of a possible 122 first-place votes to win.[96]

In the playoffs, the Cavaliers beat the Chicago Bulls in the first round, but fell to the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference semifinals.[97] James was criticized for not playing well, especially in Game 5 of the series, in which he shot only 3 for 14 and scored 15 points.[98] He walked off the court in that game, his final home game as a Cavalier, "to a smattering of boos and rows of empty seats" and Cleveland lost 88-120 in their worst home playoff loss in team history.[99] Cleveland was eliminated in Game 6, James' last playing for Cleveland, as he recorded 27 points, 19 rebounds, 10 assists, but also 9 turnovers.[97]

2010 free agency Edit

James became a free-agent at 12:01 A.M. ET on July 1, 2010.[100] He has filed papers to formally change his jersey number 23 to 6 for the season.[101] James was courted by several teams, including the Knicks, Nets, Heat, Bulls, Mavericks, Clippers, and his hometown Cavaliers.[102]

On July 8, 2010, James announced on a live ESPN special, The Decision, that he will be playing for the Miami Heat for the 2010–11 season and teaming with Miami's other All-Star free agent signees Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.[103]

This fall I am taking my talents to South Beach and play with the Miami Heat. The major factor was the best opportunity for me to win, to win now and for the future also. Winning is the most important thing for me. I feel like this is going to be the best opportunity.[104]

The Cavaliers were informed of James' decision minutes before the show began.[105] The television program drew high ratings as well as criticism for the prolonged wait until James' actual decision and the spectacle of the show itself.[106]

In Cleveland, fans considered James' departure a betrayal that ranks second to Art Modell's efforts to relocate the Cleveland Browns to Baltimore.[107] Cleveland Cavaliers majority owner Dan Gilbert almost immediately published an open letter to fans, denouncing James' decision as a "selfish", "heartless", "callous", and "cowardly betrayal", while guaranteeing that the Cavs would win an NBA title before the "self-declared former King."[108] Gilbert's sports-memorabilia company Fathead also lowered the price of wall graphics depicting James from $99.99 to $17.41, the birth year of Benedict Arnold.[109] William Rhoden of The New York Times defended James by stating that Gilbert's "venomous, face-saving personal attack", along with the ensuing "wrath of jersey-burning fans", only validated James’ decision to leave Cleveland.[110] J. A. Adande of ESPN said, however, that James chose to promote the drama of his decision in an hour-long television special instead of showing "common courtesy" to notify Cleveland and other teams of his plans.[111] On July 12, 2010, NBA Commissioner David Stern fined Gilbert $100,000 for the letter's contents, while also criticizing the way James handled free agency.[112]

Former NBA players criticized his decision to not stay with Cleveland and continuing to try to win a championship as "the guy".[113] Michael Jordan stated that he would not have contacted his rivals from other teams like Magic Johnson and Larry Bird to play on one team together, as "I wanted to defeat those guys." Jordan added that "...things are different [now]. I can't say that's a bad thing. It's an opportunity these kids have today."[114] Johnson echoed Jordan's sentiments on teaming with rivals.[115]

Miami Heat (2010–2014)Edit

On July 9, James officially completed a sign-and-trade deal with the Heat.[116]

Cleveland Cavaliers (2014-present) Edit

In 2014, he opted out of the Heat contract and when he became a free agent in 2015 he opted out again. In the 2014 season, he lost the championship to the Golden State Warriors. On July 1, he signed a two year contract for Cavaliers. On November Second, in a game against the 76ers, he became the youngest to score 25,00 points. On November 18, 2015, Lebron James passed Jerry West on the all-time scoring list as number 19.

United States national team Edit

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Template:MedalTableTop Template:MedalCountry Template:MedalCompetition Template:MedalCompetition Template:MedalGold Template:MedalBronze Template:MedalCompetition Template:MedalBronze Template:MedalCompetition Template:MedalGold Template:MedalBottom 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.[117] James competed in the 2006 FIBA World Championship in Japan and averaged 13.9 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 4.1 assists per game.[118] The team finished with an 8–1 record, and was again awarded the bronze medal.[118] James was named as one of three captains for the 2006 USA Men's World Championship team, alongside Carmelo Anthony and Wade.[119] 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.[120] 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.[121] It was later reported that James' "immaturity and downright disrespectfulness" were a risk to his being included on the Beijing Olympic team as Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski and managing director Jerry Colangelo believed that Bryant joining the national team could allow the team to win the gold medal with or without James.[105]

Player profile Edit

James has averaged 27.8 points, 7.0 assists and 7.0 rebounds per game for his career in the regular season.[42] As of the 2009–10 season, he has recorded 34 triple-doubles in his career,[122] with 28 in the regular season and six in the postseason.[6] In the 2005–06 season, he led the league in completed traditional three point plays.[6] He regularly ranks among the league leaders in rebounds for the small forward position.[123][124] James' skills have led to many comparisons to NBA legends Robertson, Johnson, and Jordan.[125] James was not named to the NBA All-Defensive Team until the 2008–09 season, when he finished second in voting for Defensive Player of the Year.

James started a petition saying that no one should be allowed to wear the #23 in the NBA to honor Jordan.[126] On March 1, 2010, James filed an application to the NBA to wear the #6 starting the 2010/2011 season.[127]

Salaries Edit

Season Team Salary
2003–04 Cleveland $4,018,920
2004–05 Cleveland $4,320,360
2005–06 Cleveland $4,621,800
2006–07 Cleveland $5,828,090
2007–08 Cleveland $13,041,250
2008–09 Cleveland $14,410,581
2009–10 Cleveland $15,779,912
2010–11 Miami $14,500,000

NBA career statistics Edit

Template:NBA player statistics legend

Regular season Edit

Template:NBA player statistics start |- | style="text-align:left;"| Template:Nbay | style="text-align:left;"| Cleveland | 79 || 79 || 39.5 || .417 || .290 || .754 || 5.5 || 5.9 || 1.6 || .7 || 20.9 |- | style="text-align:left;"| Template:Nbay | style="text-align:left;"| Cleveland | 80 || 80 || 42.4 || .472 || .351 || .750 || 7.4 || 7.2 || 2.2 || .6 || 27.2 |- | style="text-align:left;"| Template:Nbay | style="text-align:left;"| Cleveland | 79 || 79 || 42.5 || .480 || .335 || .738 || 7.0 || 6.6 || 1.6 || .8 || 31.4 |- | style="text-align:left;"| Template:Nbay | style="text-align:left;"| Cleveland | 78 || 78 || 40.9 || .476 || .319 || .698 || 6.7 || 6.0 || 1.6 || .7 || 27.3 |- | style="text-align:left;"| Template:Nbay | style="text-align:left;"| Cleveland | 75 || 74 || 40.4 || .484 || .315 || .712 || 7.9 || 7.2 || 1.8 || 1.1 || 30.0 |- | style="text-align:left;"| Template:Nbay | style="text-align:left;"| Cleveland | 81 || 81 || 37.7 || .489 || .344 || .780 || 7.6 || 7.2 || 1.7 || 1.1 || 28.4 |- | style="text-align:left;"| Template:Nbay | style="text-align:left;"| Cleveland | 76 || 76 || 39.0 || .503 || .333 || .767 || 7.3 || 8.6 || 1.6 || 1.0 || 29.7 |- | style="text-align:left;"| Career | style="text-align:left;"| | 548 || 547 || 40.3 || .475 || .329 || .742 || 7.0 || 7.0 || 1.7 || .9 || 27.8 |- | style="text-align:left;"| All-Star | style="text-align:left;"| | 6 || 6 || 25.3 || .504 || .350 || .667 || 6.3 || 5.3 || 1.8 || .3 || 23.7 |}

PlayoffsEdit

Template:NBA player statistics start |- | style="text-align:left;"| 2005–06 | style="text-align:left;"| Cleveland | 13 || 13 || 46.5 || .476 || .333 || .737 || 8.1 || 5.8 || 1.4 || .7 || 30.8 |- | style="text-align:left;"| 2006–07 | style="text-align:left;"| Cleveland | 20 || 20 || 44.7 || .416 || .280 || .755 || 8.1 || 8.0 || 1.7 || .5 || 25.1 |- | style="text-align:left;"| 2007–08 | style="text-align:left;"| Cleveland | 13 || 13 || 42.5 || .411 || .257 || .731 || 7.8 || 7.6 || 1.8 || 1.3 || 28.2 |- | style="text-align:left;"| 2008–09 | style="text-align:left;"| Cleveland | 14 || 14 || 41.4 || .510 || .333 || .749 || 9.1 || 7.3 || 1.6 || .9 || 35.3 |- | style="text-align:left;"| 2009–10 | style="text-align:left;"| Cleveland | 11 || 11 || 41.8 || .502 || .400 || .733 || 9.3 || 7.6 || 1.7 || 1.8 || 29.1 |- | style="text-align:left;"| Career | style="text-align:left;"| | 71 || 71 || 43.5 || .459 || .316 || .743 || 8.4 || 7.3 || 1.6 || 1.0 || 29.3 |}

Awards and honors Edit

Main article: List of career achievements by LeBron James

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