LeBron Raymone "King" James (December 30, 1984-) led his high school basketball team, the St. Vincent-St. Mary Fighting Irish, to three Ohio High School Athletic Association state titles (2000, 2001, 2003) while attending and was considered the "best high school basketball player in America" at the time. Growing up in a broken home with his mother in Akron, Ohio, LeBron used sports to feel accepted and flourished in both football and basketball. James was an All-State first team selection as a sophomore, but gave up the gridiron after breaking his wrist his senior year. On the court, LeBron’s numbers increased during each season and by his senior year, he averaged 31.6 points, 9.6 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 3.4 steals per game. He was the first sophomore player in Ohio high school basketball history to be named to the USA Today All-USA First Team and Ohio’s Mr. Basketball, which he won three times (2001-2003). Other accolades during his high school career included Consensus National H.S. Player of the Year (2002-2003), USA Mr. Basketball (2002-3003) and the Naismith Prep Player of the Year (2003). The Cleveland Cavaliers then made LeBron James the Number 1 overall pick of the 2003 NBA Draft, direct from the courts at St. Vincent-St. Mary.
LeBron was an instant star in the Cleveland lineup as he led his team in scoring during his rookie campaign, earned the 2003 NBA Rookie of the Year Award and was named to the All-Rookie NBA First Team. James took up the small forward and guard position with the Cavaliers for seven seasons (2003-2010) and twice led the NBA in minutes played, three times in field goals and once in free throws. Cleveland finally had its savior as LeBron led the Cavs to the franchise’s first NBA Finals appearance in 2007 before falling to the San Antonio Spurs in a four game sweep. He was now among the game’s greatest players, playing at a level that so many players can only wish to have to skill set to approach. James earned eight All-NBA First Team selections, was named to ten NBA All-Star Games and was named All-Star MVP twice and was named to five NBA All-Defensive First Teams. In 2010, as an unrestricted free agent, LeBron James shocked the sports world after weeks of speculation, stating that he would be "taking his talents to South Beach" and joined the Miami Heat along with fellow highly sought after free agent Chris Bosh. The press conference was called "The Decision" and was immediately criticized by media, players and fans alike.
Despite the ire that the move caused to fans and the city of Cleveland, for King James and the Heat it was obviously a great decision. Heat stars Dwayne Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh and a whole host of tenacious veterans drove straight to the 2011 NBA Finals before falling to the Dallas Mavericks in six games. They repeated as 2012 NBA Eastern Conference Champions before dispatching the Oklahoma City Thunder in five games to earn James his first NBA title. He was also named the 2012 NBA Finals Most Valuable Player after leading all players in minutes played (983), field goals (251) and attempts (502), free throws (173) and attempts (234), offensive (54) and total (224) rebounds, turnovers (81) and total points (697). The Heat repeated their championship the following season, and James was again dominant. He earned season and championship MVP honors for the second consecutive season. In the 2012 Olympics Games in London, LeBron led the United States to his second Olympic Gold medal.
Then in 2012-13, James led the NBA in field goals (765) as he led the Heat back to the Eastern Conference Finals for the third straight year where they beat the Indiana Pacers in a hard-fought seven-game series. LeBron tore up the league in the playoffs that season as he led in points (596), steals (41), assists (152), free throws (136 and attempts (175), field goals (212) and attempts (432) and minutes played (960). The Heat repeated as NBA Finals Champions defeating the San Antonio Spurs and LeBron James won his second consecutive NBA Finals MVP award. He was also named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player for the fourth time (2009-2010, 2012-2013). The Heat did return to the NBA Finals in 2014 for a rematch with the San Antonio Spurs, but Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and the Spurs team were too much for the Heat to handle as they fell to San Antonio in five games.
LeBron James became a free agent in June 2014, and shortly-after signed a contract to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers. After losing the NBA Finals to the Golden State Warriors in 2014-2015, the Cavaliers earned a finals rematch the following season. They trailed the Warriors three games to one before pulling off a complete turnaround and becoming the first team in NBA history to earn a championship after being down by such a wide margin.