A Profile of LeBron James: One of the NBA’s Most Formidable Players
Over the past 18 years, LeBron James has come to dominate the NBA, with pundits touting him as one of basketball’s most accomplished players of all time. In this article, we explore James’ life story, his outstanding achievements on the court, and his impressive philanthropic legacy.
LeBron Raymone James was born on December 30, 1984, in Akron, Ohio, to Gloria Marie James. His father, Anthony McClelland, was not involved with his life.
Gloria struggled to provide for her family during LeBron’s early years, moving from neighborhood to neighborhood to find steady work. She ultimately decided that he would be better off living in a more stable environment. She allowed her son to live with youth football coach Frank Walker and his family. Walker is credited with introducing LeBron to basketball when he was 9 years old.
James went on to play for the Northeast Ohio Shooting Stars team. Led by LeBron, Dru Joyce, Willie McGee, and Sian Cotton, the team enjoyed national success. The team’s star players called themselves the “Fab Four” and pledged to attend high school together. They all attended the predominantly white private Catholic school St. Vincent-St. Mary High School.
High School Career
As a freshman, James played for the school team, averaging 21 points per game. For some home games, the team played at the University of Akron’s Rhodes Arena, a 492-seat stadium that was more capable of meeting ticket demand from fans, alumni, and NBA scouts clamoring to see James play. Dubbed the Fighting Irish, his team finished the season 26–1, repeating as state champions. His outstanding performance that season earned him the Ohio Mr. Basketball title. He also made history as the USA Today All-USA First Team’s first high school sophomore.
In his senior year of high school, James toured the country with the Fighting Irish. In December 2002, the team played against Oak Hill Academy, a game that was broadcast across America by ESPN2. Time Warner Cable quickly sought to capitalize on the young player’s popularity, offering to broadcast Fighting Irish games on a pay-per-view basis. In his senior year, James averaged 31.6 points, earning him recognition as Gatorade National Player of the Year for the second year in a row.
James joined the Cleveland Cavaliers, his hometown team, in 2003. He established a new record in his debut NBA game against the Sacramento Kings, scoring 25 points, the highest score of any prep-to-pro player in a debut performance. By the conclusion of his first season with the team, James had also made history as the first Cleveland Cavalier to be honored with an NBA Rookie of the Year Award.
LeBron James went on to become basketball’s most decorated player, steering his teams to victory in several consecutive championships. His numerous achievements as an NBA player include:
- NBA Rookie of the Year 2004
- 11-time NBA All-Star
- 2-time NBA All-Star Game MVP
- 4-time NBA MVP
- 2-time NBA Finals MVP
- 2-time NBA Champion
James stayed with the Cleveland Cavaliers until 2010, when he joined Miami Heat. He subsequently rejoined the Cavaliers in 2014, before joining the Los Angeles Lakers in 2018.
LeBron James received the NAACP President’s Award in 2021 in recognition of his special achievement and outstanding public service.
Known for his generosity, LeBron James has made sizeable donations to a variety of different causes over the years. He uses the LeBron James Family Foundation to give back to the people of Akron, Ohio, supporting a range of different programs and helping young people from his hometown to succeed in school and beyond.
The I Promise School in Akron was established to support at-risk children by providing a stable learning environment at school and home. James donates more than $1 million a year to the school, funding teacher salaries to keep class sizes manageable.
When COVID-19 forced school closures, the LeBron James Family Foundation provided care packages containing food and sanitary products for I Promise School students and their families. James also oversaw Taco Tuesdays, a meal package program that delivered food to each of the school’s students.
The LeBron James Family Foundation started the After-School All-Stars for the children of Akron. The organization started as the Wheels for Education bike-a-thon, which raised money to provide children with education support and a safe place to go after school. The After-School All-Stars supports at-risk children in a variety of different ways, from providing extracurricular activities, to helping with their education, to staging mentoring programs. The goal is to encourage children to stay in school and help them graduate. It focuses on third graders, who must reach state standards to move up to fourth grade.
Other generous donations made by LeBron James include a $2.5 million gift to The Boys and Girls Clubs of America and a $2.5 million pledge to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture to fund the Muhammad Ali: A Force for Change exhibit.