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LeBron Raymone James Sr., widely known as "King James," was born on December 30, 1984, in Akron, Ohio. Raised by a single mother, Gloria Marie James, in challenging circumstances, LeBron faced a tumultuous early life as the family moved between apartments in Akron's less affluent neighborhoods. His father, Anthony McClelland, had an extensive criminal record and was not present in his life. Recognizing the need for a more stable environment, Gloria allowed LeBron to move in with the family of Frank Walker, a local youth football coach, at the age of nine.
James's basketball journey began in the fifth grade, and he later played for the Northeast Ohio Shooting Stars in Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) basketball. Together with friends Sian Cotton, Dru Joyce III, and Willie McGee, known as the "Fab Four," they found success on both local and national levels. Despite controversy, they chose to attend St. Vincent–St. Mary High School, a private Catholic school with predominantly white students.
At St. Vincent–St. Mary, LeBron James showcased exceptional basketball skills from a young age. His freshman year saw him average 21 points and 6 rebounds, leading the team to an undefeated season and a state title. As he progressed through high school, his performance continued to excel, earning accolades such as Ohio Mr. Basketball and a spot on the USA Today All-USA First Team. James played football as well, showing versatility and earning first-team all-state honors as a wide receiver.
LeBron James's outstanding high school career garnered national attention, with Sports Illustrated featuring him on its cover. Despite facing controversies, including accepting a Hummer H2 as a gift and violating OHSAA rules, James remained focused on his passion for basketball. His senior year culminated in a career-high 52 points, leading his team to win the Division II championship.
In 2003, LeBron James made history by becoming the first overall pick in the NBA draft, selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers. His debut season set an NBA record for a prep-to-pro player, scoring 25 points. James quickly established himself as a premier player, leading the Cavaliers to their first NBA Finals appearance in 2007. Despite individual success, he left Cleveland in 2010 as a free agent, a move announced in the controversial nationally televised special called "The Decision."
James joined the Miami Heat, where he won two NBA championships in 2012 and 2013, earning both the league's MVP and Finals MVP awards. After a successful stint with the Heat, he returned to the Cavaliers, delivering their first championship in 2016 by overcoming a 3–1 deficit against the Golden State Warriors. In 2018, LeBron exercised his contract option to join the Los Angeles Lakers, adding another NBA championship to his illustrious career in 2020.
Off the court, LeBron James has achieved remarkable success in business and philanthropy. As a part-owner of Liverpool F.C. since 2011, he has diversified his investments. James leads the LeBron James Family Foundation, which has made significant contributions, including the establishment of an elementary school, housing complex, retail plaza, and medical center in Akron.
Known for his longevity and versatility, LeBron James is not only recognized for his on-court achievements but also for his impact beyond basketball. He has actively engaged in philanthropy, addressing social and political issues, and has become a billionaire through strategic business ventures and endorsements. As of the 2023–24 NBA season, James continues to make history as the oldest player in the league, further solidifying his legacy as one of the greatest basketball players of all time.