As an 18-year-old high school senior in the small town of Akron, Ohio, LeBron James was celebrated as ‘The Chosen One’ on the cover of a Sports Illustrated magazine pronouncing his prowess as the sports world’s new standard for hoops royalty.
Not to worry King James’ faithful, the first six years of his reign have assured that the athlete earned the exorbitant, if trite, praise. If nothing else, the early life of his NBA rule has shown James’ talents to be of an utterly different dimension, worthy even of the dramatic and expedient inclusion of his name into any discourse concerning basketball’s most supreme beings.
Being the NBA’s only player other than Oscar Robertson to ever average upwards of 27 points, six rebounds and six assists over five consecutive seasons merits the profound impact on James’ legacy. And, for good measure, he made a starting appearance in the last four All-Star Games and three uninterrupted first-team all-NBA campaigns. But even all that doesn’t speak to the total wonder of LeBron James.
The Cleveland Cavaliers selected the then-18-year-old phenom straight out of high school with the first pick in the 2003 NBA Draft, and the rest—
as sports speak goes— has been history. Even before taking his first NBA dribble, James cashed in on an unprecedented $90 million endorsement deal with Nike that ultimately featured his own shoe and apparel line.
With all those riches in hand, the now 25-year-old MVP has steadily gone about the business of revolutionizing his sport. While the concept of the ‘point-forward’ isn’t quite a novice one, no one has excelled in the position as James has, embarking upon a surefire Hall of Fame career along the way.
But, when it comes to history, it’s never been a question of if, but rather how King James would come to define it. He has talked endlessly of becoming a global icon and the added desire of wanting to be the sports world’s only billionaire athlete short of Tiger Woods. That all may come sooner rather than later given the persistent rumors he is seriously considering fleeing his hometown team and relocating to a larger market once he becomes a nonrestrictive free agent this summer.
Whether he stays in Cleveland or relocates his throne, the multi-million-dollar question is what harks next for the NBA’s distinguished gentleman: the ring associated with winning an NBA title or the crown as the world’s most celebrated athlete? Either way, LeBron James figures to stay at the center of attention.