LeBron James is a rare talent. From the moment he started playing basketball, it was obvious that he was special. Those who have followed his career are lucky to have been able to enjoy the kind of athlete that transcends his sport. Very few professional athletes have been the face of their sport like LeBron has. Babe Ruth, Tom Brady, and Wayne Gretzky are a few professional athletes who've dominated their sport as LeBron has with his. Of course, we can’t forget Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain who are perhaps the most accomplished basketball players in history. However, when the curtain goes down on King James’ illustrious career, he will likely be mentioned in the same breath.
The most recent example of LeBron’s skill, leadership, and motivation to win came in the 2016 NBA Finals when he led his Cleveland Cavaliers in overcoming a 3-1 series deficit against the mighty Golden State Warriors. The astonishing comeback marked just the 11th time in NBA history that a team has rallied from a 3-1 deficit to win a series and LeBron played a crucial role. He made some key blocks, remarkable rebounds, and drained shots when it was needed most. His efforts earned him his third NBA championship, as well as his third NBA Finals MVP.
His storied career is far from over and fans can count on him to continue making history. Basketball fans should sit back and enjoy the show as King James works his magic on the hardwood. Grab yourself some popcorn and check out these top 15 insane real life stories of LeBron James.
15 A Scoring Machine
It will probably come as no surprise that LeBron James is the Cavaliers’ all-time scoring leader. The 18,914 regular season points he has scored while wearing a Cavs jersey far surpasses Zydrunas Ilgauskas’ second best total of 10,616. He has done all of this in just nine seasons.
14 The Decision
When LeBron became a free agent in 2010, the fanfare surrounding his future was perhaps one of the biggest sideshows the sports world has ever seen. While there was a lot of speculation that he was going to sign with the Miami Heat, his destination was up in the air and there were several teams interested in his services. Aside from the front-running Heat, the Bulls, Clippers, Knicks, Nets, and the Cleveland Cavaliers were all on the radar.
13 High Expectations
As a freshman at St. Vincent-St. Mary’s in Akron, LeBron James tore it up on the hardwood. He led his team to a 27-0 record and a state championship. By the time he entered his sophomore year, he was already being touted as an NBA superstar. Many people wanted to see the young prodigy play. In fact, there was so much demand for tickets that The Fighting Irish moved several of their home games to the University of Akron’s Rhodes Arena which had 5,492 seats. He led The Fighting Irish to a 26-1 record and another state championship. Leading teams to championships is LeBron’s forte.
12 Getting High
Like many high school kids, LeBron James enjoyed hanging out with his friends and partying a bit. Who could blame a young man in his situation for wanting to blow off a little steam? Unlike most high school kids, he was constantly under the media spotlight, mobbed by fans, and hassled by hangers-on. This unrelenting pressure became a little too much for the up-and-coming superstar. Perhaps emulating football misfit Ricky Williams’ method of dealing with social anxiety, he began to smoke pot to help deal with the daily circus.
While marijuana isn't the more terrible problem, it is still something that he doesn’t seem to be particularly proud of.
11 Football Talent
9 Car Collection
To say that LeBron James is a car enthusiast would be a huge understatement. He may have a severe addiction to “new car smell” judging by the number of cars he has. King James’ stable of whips is one to behold and might only be rivaled by the likes of Floyd Mayweather and Jay Leno. Porsches, Hummers, Jeeps, and brand new Dodge Challengers are some of the cheaper cars you can find parked in his garage. Maybachs, Bentleys, Lamborghinis, and Ferraris are also found there. He has some classic cars, luxury cars, sports cars, and off-road cars.
6 Living in Style
In 2003, a suddenly wealthy LeBron bought himself a nice piece of property about 20 miles south of Cleveland on which he built his first house. Well, using the word “house” is putting it mildly. It could more fittingly be described as a pleasure palace. Situated on a 5.6-acre parcel of land, he spared no expense in building his 35,400 square foot digs. Among the sprawling mansion’s amenities were a theater, a bowling alley, a barbershop, and a whopping 11 bedrooms. The master bedroom had a 2-storey walk-in closet and, to top it off, LeBron also had a full-blown casino installed. He’d come a long way from his impoverished childhood.
5 Outrageous Paychecks
LeBron knows how to maximize his earnings. Instead of signing long-term NBA contracts, he prefers to sign short-term deals to ensure he can capitalize on the current market. This strategy has resulted in him almost always being among the highest paid players in the NBA. On top of his player salary and performance bonuses, LeBron is also raking it in with his many endorsement deals.
His player salary in 2016 was nearly $23 million which was the third highest contract in the NBA. But his earnings didn’t end there. An additional $54 million in endorsements saw his 2016 earning reach a staggering $77 million making one of the highest paid athletes in the world.
4 Sports Illustrated
There are many established star athletes who dream of being on the cover of the iconic Sports Illustrated magazine. It is a sure sign that they have hit the big time. For most of them, it will not happen, but LeBron James has graced the magazine’s cover 25 times and is a shoe-in to do it again. The mind-blowing fact about his Sports Illustrated debut is that he was still just a 17-year-old junior in high school. Not even Michael Jordan can boast this incredible distinction.
3 He’s a Winner
LeBron James and championships seem to go hand-in-hand. King James has led his teams to championships everywhere he’s played. While playing high school basketball at St. Vincent-St. Mary’s, James led the Fighting Irish to back-to-back state championships. As a professional in the NBA, James fell short of winning a title in his first stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers but he redeemed himself when led the Cavs to a championship in 2016. After signing with the Miami Heat in 2010, LeBron helped his powerhouse team to reach the finals in four consecutive seasons in which they netted two straight NBA Championships. A statistic like this goes a long way in justifying the massive salary that King James commands. He isn’t just a regular season sensation, he knows how to bring it in the post-season.
2 A Bit Of A Jerk
1 Other Insanely Big Numbers
Scoring 40 points in a single game is a tough feat to accomplish but LeBron has done this 55 times in his career during regular season play. He has also done it 15 times in the playoffs prior to this past championship run. He has been named league MVP four times and will undoubtedly be in the running in the years to come. He needs just two more league MVPs to match Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s six career MVPs. He has made 12 consecutive appearances as an NBA All-Star which places him in some very elite company. There is little doubt that he will be playing in his 13th straight in 2017. In short, basketball fans should relish the opportunity to watch one of the greatest basketball players of all time while they still can. He will continue to add to his record-setting legacy as he continues to play at a high level.
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