LeBron Raymone James (born December 30, 1984) is an American professional basketball player who currently plays for the Cleveland Cavaliers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He has started at the small forward and power forward positions. James has won three NBA championships (2012, 2013, 2016), four NBA Most Valuable Player Awards (2009, 2010, 2012, 2013), two NBA Finals MVP Awards (2012, 2013), two Olympic gold medals (2008, 2012), an NBA scoring title (2008), and the NBA Rookie of the Year Award (2004). He has also been selected to 11 NBA All-Star teams, 11 All-NBA teams, and six All-Defensive teams, and is the Cavaliers’ all-time leading scorer.
James played high school basketball at St. Vincent–St. Mary High School in his hometown of Akron, Ohio, where he was highly promoted in the national media as a future NBA superstar. After graduating, he was selected with the first overall pick in the 2003 NBA draft by the Cavaliers. James led Cleveland to the franchise’s first Finals appearance in 2007, losing to the San Antonio Spurs. In 2010, he left the Cavaliers for the Miami Heat in a highly publicized ESPN special titled The Decision. James played four seasons for the Heat, reaching the Finals all four years and winning back-to-back championships in 2012 and 2013. In 2013, he led Miami on a 27-game winning streak, the second longest in league history. Following his final season with the Heat, James opted out of his contract and re-joined the Cavaliers. Behind his leadership, Cleveland advanced to the Finals before losing to the Golden State Warriors.
James was selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the first overall pick in the 2003 NBA draft. In his first professional game, he recorded 25 points against the Sacramento Kings, setting an NBA record for most points scored by a prep-to-pro player in his debut outing. In a late season match-up with the New Jersey Nets, he scored a season-high 41 points, becoming the youngest player in league history to score at least 40 points in a game. He was eventually named the Rookie of the Year, finishing with averages of 20.9 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 5.9 assists per game. He became the first Cavalier to receive the honor and joined Oscar Robertson and Michael Jordan as the only players in NBA history to average at least 20 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists per game in their rookie year (Tyreke Evans has since joined this group). James recorded his first career triple-double on January 19 of the 2004–05 season, becoming the youngest player in league history to do so at 20 years. At the conclusion of the 2008–09 season, James finished second in Defensive Player of the Year voting and made his first All-Defensive Team with 23 chase-down blocks and a career-high 93 total blocks. He also became only the fourth postmerger player to lead his team in points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks in a single season. Behind his play, Cleveland went a franchise record 66–16 and fell one game short of matching the best home record in league history. With averages of 28.4 points, 7.6 rebounds, 7.2 assists, 1.7 steals, and 1.2 blocks per game, James became the first Cavalier to win the MVP Award.
James became an unrestricted free agent at 12:01 am EDT on July 1, 2010. James officially became a member of the Heat on July 10, completing a sign-and-trade six-year contract with the team. In 2013 Conference Finals, Game 7, he tied the Finals record for most points scored in a Game 7 victory, leading Miami over San Antonio with 37 points. He was named Finals MVP for the second straight season, averaging 25.3 points, 10.9 rebounds, 7 assists, and 2.3 steals per game for the series. On March 3 of the 2013–14 season, James scored a career-high and franchise record 61 points in a game against the Charlotte Bobcats. On June 25, 2014 James opted out of his contract with the Heat, officially becoming an unrestricted free agent on July 1. On July 11, he revealed via a first-person essay in Sports Illustrated that he intended to rejoin the Cavaliers. In contrast to The Decision, his announcement to return to Cleveland was well received. On July 12, he signed a two-year contract with the team worth $42.1 million with an option to become a free agent again in 2015. On June 28, James announced that he would opt out of his contract with the Cavaliers, and on July 10, he re-signed with the team on another two-year contract with a player option for the second year. On January 24, 2018 in a game against the San Antonio Spurs James became the youngest player in NBA history to reach 30,000 points.
Career highlights and awards
3× NBA champion (2012, 2013, 2016)
3× NBA Finals MVP (2012, 2013, 2016)
4× NBA Most Valuable Player (2009, 2010, 2012, 2013)
14× NBA All-Star (2005–2018)
3× NBA All-Star Game MVP (2006, 2008, 2018)
11× All-NBA First Team (2006, 2008–2017)
2× All-NBA Second Team (2005, 2007)
5× NBA All-Defensive First Team (2009–2013)
NBA All-Defensive Second Team (2014)
NBA Rookie of the Year (2004)
NBA scoring champion (2008)
J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award (2017)
2× AP Athlete of the Year (2013, 2016)
2× Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year (2012, 2016)
USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year (2012)
2× Mr. Basketball USA (2002, 2003)
Naismith Prep Player of the Year (2003)
McDonald’s All-American Game MVP (2003)
3× Ohio Mr. Basketball (2001–2003)