Krisstofer, Online English Teacher at Acadsoc.
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Many of us dream of ruling the world and seeing our name scattered all over the world – on the lips of all those who are our fans, and even haters. For some of us, what is only a dream for some, becomes a reality that can be likened to a fairytale, each with its own trial and tribulations, and success through determination.
The sporting world is filled with superstars, in various disciplines. Just recently we had the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, Korea. Sports enthusiasts in disciplines such as snowboarding, skiing, and curling, were there in their numbers supporting their favorite stars from their respective countries. In June this year, the world will converge its eyes on the land of Russia, where the FIFA World Cup will be hosted. Big names such as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo will be scrutinized, debated and praised – friendships will be tested and passion cultivated – all in the name of sports. But before we get to that exciting tournament, there is a sport that has its tentacles wrapped around each heart of every fanatic – basketball.
Quite possibly the front-runner when it comes to popularity after soccer, basketball has the reputation for having the coolest attire, the coolest atmosphere, the coolest sneakers, and the coolest superstars – and at the center of it all, LeBron James. This dominant force is quite possibly the most talked about athlete of all-time (after Michael Jordan due to the many comparisons), and rightfully so. Having been in the NBA for over fifteen seasons, LeBron James has cemented himself as the face of the NBA, through discipline and overall performance.
The Wonder, The Prince, The King
For most athletes, their rise comes as a result of growth-spurts in their adolescent years, but for LeBron, his life changed when he was in fourth grade. In true diamond-in-the-rough fashion, he came from humble beginnings, his mom, having him at aged sixteen. We cannot imagine the struggles that came with couch-surfing, month to month, not knowing where their next temporary home will be.
For high school, LeBron James was recruited by St. Vincent-St. Mary High School to join their basketball team in 1999. Overall, James scored 2,657 points, 892 rebounds, and 523 assists during his four years there. As a freshman, James averaged 18 points per game. He helped the team to a Division III state title by scoring 25 points in the championship game. Word of his advanced basketball skills spread, and James received several honors for his performance. As a high school sophomore, James was chosen for the USA Today All-USA First Team. He was the first sophomore ever selected for this award. His team also won the Division III state title for the second year in a row. The following school year, James was named PARADE magazine’s High School Boys Basketball Player of the Year and Gatorade Player of the Year. Following the end of his junior year, James was such a strong player that he contemplated going pro. After deciding to finish his education, James had a tremendous senior year on the court. He averaged 31.6 points per game, helping his team clinch their third state title. The St. Vincent-St. Mary High School team also earned the top national ranking that year. James would soon emerge as one of the National Basketball Association’s leading players.
Fast-forward to the NBA draft, LeBron was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers in what would prove to be the entrenchment of James as the “Prince” – showing glimpses of Michael Jordan as Cleveland fell to the Spurs in the final. His Miami Heat stint with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh had them dubbed as the ‘Big 3’ and they absolutely dominated the Eastern Conference winning two titles in a back and forth duel with the Spurs. Having teammates such as Wade and Bosh, LeBron transcended into a level that is completely his own. In 2014, LeBron announced that he would be going back home to Cleveland, something that was seen as his ascendance to the throne, as a king. But there are some issues with that, it will take so much more than his personal stats to dethrone Michael Jordan as the greatest of all time. For one, Lebron has three championships in eight NBA finals – Michael Jordan? Six championships in six NBA finals. This may very well be the deciding factor as Lebron’s statistics are way above anyone else in the NBA.
Statistics and Records
In his fifteen years in the NBA, LeBron has amassed various records and may very well be getting better with time – “Like fine wine”, as he regularly states with most of his Instagram posts.
This season alone, Lebron has averaged 27.4 points per game, 8.7 rebounds per game, and 9.1 assists per game (Michael Jordan: 30.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 5.3 assists). Now these numbers may be confusing to some, but in the NBA, these numbers are what any rookie dreams of achieving… one day.
This season, James has broken a few records, with great fashion and finesse. This season is LeBron’s eight season where he has surpassed 2000 points, 500 assists, and 500 rebounds, surpassing his own record, of course. He is also the oldest player in the NBA’s history to amass more than 2000 points. In February of this year, he averaged a triple-double, making him the oldest player to achieve that feat. Although not a record as such, Lebron became the first player in NBA history to have over 30 000 points, 8 000 Rebounds and 8 000 assists. In over forty years, LeBron is the first (and possibly only) player to have 35 points and 15 assists with no turnovers in a game against the Toronto Raptors. For his most important record ever, LeBron broke Michael Jordan’s record for consecutive games over 10 points, which was 866 points. James Harden is the only active NBA player who is second, with less than 300 consecutive games with 10 points or above.
The Man Behind the Player
Outside of the court, LeBron is a stand-up guy, father of three and husband to his childhood love. For a player to spend over fifteen seasons in a league, and to not have any scandals like Jordan did with his gambling and Kobe with his cheating, it says a lot. Much of the speculations and rumors that may surround his character are usually reached and concluded by analysts, who more often than not, get information and predictions wrong. LeBron has appeared in a few films, sparking debate about if he would like to be an actor upon retirement, and that is where the speculations of him joining the Lakers stems from, as Los Angeles is home to the starts. But by his own admission, LeBron would definitely love to play alongside LeBron James Jr. who is still in school, so his main focus right now is staying healthy and keeping his love for the game brewing.
One question that exists, and has existed for over fifteen seasons, is if LeBron will reign forever. The short answer, nobody can reign forever. The long answer is: with the likes of Jordan, who have made it possible for players to build their own personal brands outside of the team, LeBron James is something out of the ordinary. He has broken different records belonging to different greats, that somewhere and somehow, no matter who comes and goes, his name will always be in the conversation. Now, who is to say that isn’t what Kings are about?