The following is the assignment I submitted to my professor this morning. I had decided on LeBron for the canned obit, but I’m just calling it a bio. I feel like I know the most about him as a player because he was the topic of my informative speech assignment in 10th grade. My opening was me throwing my hands up in the air saying, “We are all witnesses.”
MIAMI, Fla., Nov. 11 — Fans and nonfans alike would consider labeling LeBron James a basketball player from Akron, Ohio a dry and unworthy description for a man nicknamed the “King.”
Drafted No. 1 by the Cleveland Cavaliers, James became the youngest NBA Rookie of the Year at 19 in the following season, and continued to play a total of eight seasons.
The small forward ended his career as one of “The Heatles” from the Miami Heat, maintaining overall averages as high as 27.7 points per game, 7.1 rebounds per game, and 7.0 assists per game.
James also won a gold medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics as a starter for Team USA and two Most Valuable Player awards when a Cavalier.
“For 16 years it was about me. Now, it’s all about him,” the now-retired NBA player Shaquille O’Neal told ESPN.com.
O’Neal was a teammate of James in the 2009-2010 NBA season.
“My motto is very simple: Win a Ring for the King,” said O’Neal at a press conference after the trade that sent him to the Cavaliers, having already won four rings.
Even with O’Neal and the league’s best record 61 wins to 21 losses, James and the rest of his team failed to make it to the NBA Finals that year; however, he did come close twice.
After a regular season and playoff run in the 2006-2007 season with the Cavaliers, most say James close to single-handedly carried his team to the Finals, but they lost in a series sweep to a veteran San Antonio Spurs team.
James made it to the Finals again in the 2010-2011 NBA season, this time in a Miami Heat uniform with No. 6 on his back and chest, but lost in a competitive six-game series rematch to the Dallas Mavericks.
During the summer 2010 free agency hype, James was highly criticized for announcing his signing with the Miami Heat on a nationally televised hour-long special entitled “The Decision,” which aired on ESPN.
“In this fall, I’m going to take my talents to South Beach and join the Miami Heat,” announced James to an audience of 9.95 million on July 8, 2010 consisting of hopeful fans in cities across the United States certain he would play for their team the following season.
He satisfied only Miami fans by joining two close friends and NBA All-Stars Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade to form “The Big Three.”
When he failed to seal the deal in several fourth-quarter stretches during that 2011 playoff run, James’ other nicknames, “LeBrick” and “LeChoke” coined by his multiplied haters caught on fast.
James’ numerous accomplishments in Cleveland cannot be overshadowed by his one year in Miami in which he came up short.
The man was a superstar putting on a show each night; some called him “The Next Michael Jordan,” though he quickly broke out of that role and became of his own caliber.
James was beyond celebrity status on his home court in Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, but even when his team was the visitor, fans would show up in his then No. 23 jersey and cheer along if that was one of his potential 50-point games.
His pregame ritual of tossing chalk in the air by the scorer’s table was sure to be captured on every camera to open up that television station’s highlight reel at halftime.
All audience members close enough to the table were snapping a picture of King James on a mobile device too. Regardless of whether or not they would consider themselves his fans, they were all witnesses.
Off the basketball court, James was still in the limelight for a number of companies’ advertisement campaigns including Nike, Vitamin Water, McDonald’s, and State Farm.
“He doesn’t want it for the money or for the fame like everybody thinks,” said his mother, Gloria James, on JockBio.com. “He wants to play [in the NBA] because that’s his dream.”
If James wanted to play basketball because he genuinely loved the sport, his motivation to move to South Beach in July 2010 seems less like an attack on the teams he disappointed.
“The opportunity came up where I could play with two of the best players we have in the game today, and I took full advantage of it,” James told SLAM Magazine.
Other franchises promised him big bucks and an even bigger name, but he chose a place where he would have fun with his buddies and supposedly have the best chance at winning it all.
Though “King James” did not officially win it all, he did spend his life doing what he loved—playing basketball. He just happened to entertain the world along the way.