What if Lebron James went to college

NBA winner LeBron James: More than just a basketball player

Once again he triumphed: With 28 points, 14 rebounds and ten assists, superstar LeBron James was the dominant player in the Los Angeles Lakers 106: 93 against the Miami Heat. With the fourth win in the best-of-seven final series, which was played out because of the corona pandemic at Disney World in Orlando, the 35-year-old led the Lakers to their 17th title in the NBA. This means that the Lakers will be level with the previous sole record champions, the Boston Celtics, in terms of titles.

For James personally, it was the fourth NBA triumph of his career. In addition to John Salley and Robert Horry, he is now the third player to win the NBA title with three different teams. He had previously triumphed with the Miami Heat (2012, 2013) and the Cleveland Cavaliers (2016).

Even in the decisive game of the NBA final series, James was unstoppable

In addition, LeBron James was named Most Valuable Player of the Final Series (MVP) for the fourth time in his career, only the legendary Michael Jordan received the award more often (six times). "He's the greatest player the basketball universe has ever seen," said Lakers coach Frank Vogel about James.

Example of Muhammad Ali

And how does he see himself? He was "more than an athlete," James posted on social media in early 2018. In the meantime, "More than an athlete" has not only become a hashtag, but a public attribute of the basketball superstar that not only he himself, but also his club and sponsors use. James is one of the most prominent voices in the Black Lives Matter movement. He has also clearly positioned himself in the US election campaign: He supports Trump challenger Joe Biden from the Democrats.

"Hopefully one day people will recognize me not only because of the way I play basketball, but also because of my attitude towards life as an African-American man," LeBron James recently told the New York Times, referring to boxing legend Muhammad Ali as one of his role models.

Grew up in the simplest of circumstances

Little LeBron Raymone James had to fight from the beginning of his life. As the illegitimate child of a 16-year-old schoolgirl and a former prisoner who had run away before the birth of his son, life was not easy. James' mother Gloria raised the boy on her own, had hardly any money. After the early death of her own mother - LeBron was barely three years old at the time - the family life, which had been relatively stable until then, fell apart.

Gloria James, who had previously lived with her mother and two brothers, now moved frequently and had to temporarily place her son in a foster family to make ends meet.

Regulated life as inspiration

However, this stay with strange parents was also the trigger for her son's impressive sports career. At the age of eight, LeBron James lived for some time with Frank Walter, his football coach at the time. Walter realized that the boy also had a great talent for basketball and persuaded him to play for a basketball team in addition to football - the foundation stone was laid.

Proud mother and biggest fan: Gloria James and her son have a close relationship

In addition, the regular family life was good for little LeBron. At times he had hardly been to class because of the constant moves and the associated school changes. "They made me get up and go to school every day," James recalls in the book "LeBron James: The Making of an MVP" of life with the Walters. "To be part of a family, with a mother and father, a brother and two sisters, that was an incredible experience for me. It opened my eyes to become what I am today."

High school games nationwide

James also continued to develop on the basketball court. With the St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in his hometown of Akron, Ohio, James reached national finals and even won the national school championship. "This is the place where all dreams come true," James later said of his school in an interview with the New York Times: "When you grow up poor and black in this country, you dream a lot, but you believe not really that the dreams will come true. This is where I started to believe that I can do it. "

As a high school student already an exceptional athlete: LeBron James 2002 in the jersey of the "Fighting Irish"

In fact, James was already known to a large audience as a teenager, partly because some of his high school games were televised. In 2002 it landed with the title "The Chosen One" on the cover of "Sports Illustrated", the most famous sports magazine in the USA. The NBA scouts had long since noticed him. Consequently, he was selected as the first player in the 2003 draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Loyalty and your own roots

James remained loyal to the "Cavs" for seven years until he moved to the Miami Heat in 2010, because there he saw the greatest chances for the championship title. He had previously agreed with his two teammates from the US Olympic team, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, to move to Miami together. The three formed an almost unbeatable trio and, after failing in the 2011 finals to Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks, won the title in 2012 and 2013. The basis of their success was - besides their sporting ambition - their friendship. "Outside of basketball, LeBron and I are the best buddies. And we support each other," said Wade in an interview with "ESPN" in 2010: "If I have problems off the field, then he is the guy who drives me every day to make sure my attitude is right. And I'll do the same for him. "

Strong trio: Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and LeBron James (from left to right) were known and feared as the "Big Three"

In 2014 James returned to "his" Cavaliers to do an unfinished business: To win the NBA title with his home team, which he actually did in 2016. It was the first championship for a Cleveland team in one of the major US sports leagues since 1964 - LeBron's gift to the city and fans. "This is Cleveland for you," James called into the microphone after winning the title against the Golden State Warriors.

In any case, loyalty and the knowledge of one's own origin are two qualities that distinguish James. James has been dating his wife Savannah Brinson since high school days, and they have two sons and a daughter. Unlike his own father, James puts family first. And he hasn't forgotten how he started himself. In 2018, James opened a school in Akron for disadvantaged children. 240 girls and boys from socially disadvantaged families are taught here and financially supported until they switch to college.

Promise fulfilled

However, James himself has not lived near his hometown for a good two years, but in Los Angeles. Like so many NBA stars before him, he followed the call of the "big" Lakers. The Purple-Yellows from L.A. are the best-known and most popular club in the NBA, and many great players have played here. Hollywood stars like Jack Nicholson and Leonardo Di Caprio sit as fans in the stands - nowhere is there more spotlight for a top basketball player than here. "It's a dream come true for me," said James after his move was confirmed.

With Anthony Davis (r.) LeBron James (l.) Has a second top player at his side at the Lakers

Before the triumph in Orlando, the Lakers had won their last championship so far in 2010. Back then, Kobe Bryant was still the Lakers superstar. Bryant was tragically killed in a helicopter crash the day after James ousted him from third in the NBA's top scorer rankings.

"To be part of such a historic club is an incredible feeling," said the superstar now after the decisive victory of the final series. "I wanted to bring this team back to where it belongs." He has now fulfilled this promise that LeBron James made at the beginning of his engagement with the Lakers.

  • The most successful basket hunters in the NBA

    Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387 points)

    Nobody was as successful as he was: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and his barely defendable hook throw "Sky Hook" are legendary. Between 1969 and 1989, Abdul-Jabbar, born Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor, who converted to Islam in 1971, played for the Milwaukee Bucks and the Los Angeles Lakers. The 2.18-meter-long center champion was six times, and 19 times he was in the squad of the All-Star Games.

  • The most successful basket hunters in the NBA

    Karl Malone (36,928 points)

    They called him "Mailman" - and Karl Malone got almost every one of his broadcasts to the finish. The Power Forward, which ran for 18 seasons for Utah and one season for the L.A. Lakers, scored 36,928 points. He never became champion, but in 1992 in Barcelona Olympic champion with the "Dream Team". Malone and his loyal master-giver John Stockton stand as bronze statues in front of the arena in Salt Lake City.

  • The most successful basket hunters in the NBA

    LeBron James (* 35,367)

    Hardly any active NBA professional is as highly decorated as the forward, who has been playing for the Los Angeles Lakers since 2018. Four times he was already the most valuable player in the league (MVP), four times he was named MVP of the NBA finals. James also won the championship four times. 2012 and 2013 with the Miami Heat, 2016 with Cleveland and 2020 with the Lakers. (* As of May 17, 2021)

  • The most successful basket hunters in the NBA

    Kobe Bryant (33,643 points)

    Not many basketball players moved as gracefully as Kobe Bryant. The L.A. Lakers Guard, who grew up in Italy as the son of a US professional basketball player, has played in the NBA since 1996, always for the Lakers. He led his team to five titles. At the age of 37 my back pinched and after 20 seasons it was over in April 2016. Bryant died in a helicopter crash in 2020 at the age of 41.

  • The most successful basket hunters in the NBA

    Michael Jordan (32,292 points)

    Michael "Air" Jordan already wore the shirt number 23 at college in North Carolina - he kept it with the Chicago Bulls and became a legend with it. He won the championship six times. Jordan's specialty was the "buzzer beater", a decisive throw, fractions of a second before the final siren. The NBA speaks of Jordan to this day as "the best basketball player of all time".

  • The most successful basket hunters in the NBA

    Dirk Nowitzki (31,560 points)

    Unexcited, always modest, often not very spectacular, but mostly impressively safe, Dirk Nowitzki brought his throws to the finish. An unmatched 21 seasons - from 1998 to 2019 - "Dirkules" was loyal to the Dallas Mavericks. In 2011 he won the championship title with the Mavs. Nowitzki was the first European to break the 20,000 point mark and was the sixth NBA professional to break the 30,000 barrier.

  • The most successful basket hunters in the NBA

    Wilt Chamberlain (31,419 points)

    Before Wilt Chamberlain turned pro in 1959, he played for the Harlem Globetrotters show troupe for a year. As a professional, he set numerous records for points. Unmatched is his mark from the game Philadelphia against New York in 1962. Chamberlain scored 100 points. A total of 118 times he managed 50 or more points in a game. He died of heart failure in 1999 at the age of 63.

  • The most successful basket hunters in the NBA

    Shaquille O'Neal (28,596 points)

    Size and weight are two key arguments that made Shaquille O'Neal one of the best scorers in the NBA. The beefy 2.16 meter center scored almost all points from close range. His weakness in free throws was striking. Fouling O'Neal before the throw ("Hack-a-Shaq") therefore made many opponents their tactic - O'Neal, who was active from 1992 to 2011, still usually left the field as the winner.

  • The most successful basket hunters in the NBA

    Moses Malone (27,409 points)

    In 1974, Moses Malone became the first player to move straight from high school to the professional league. The center experienced its most successful period with the Philadelphia 76ers, with whom it won its only championship in 1983. Malone played as a professional for 21 years and was under contract with a total of nine teams. He died in 2015 at the age of 60, apparently of complications from a cardiovascular disease.

  • The most successful basket hunters in the NBA

    Carmelo Anthony (* 27,370)

    The 36-year-old forward of the Portland Trailblazers made it into the top ten on the scorer list and overtook Elvin Hayes. He could also oust Moses Malone in the course of his career. Anthony has gained a foothold at the Blazers after a long injury break and is one of the team's top performers thanks to his vast experience. (* As of May 17, 2021)

  • The most successful basket hunters in the NBA

    Elvin Hayes (27,313)

    In the 1970s, Elvin Hayes was one of the best players in the NBA. An elegant center that was repeatedly successful with its outstanding jump shot from the turn. "The Big E" led the Washington Bullets to the NBA final three times and won the championship in 1978 with the capital team. In 1303 career games, Hayes achieved exactly 50,000 minutes of play.

  • The most successful basket hunters in the NBA

    Hakeem Olajuwon (26,946)

    The native Nigerian is ranked twelfth on the list of the best African. The elegant 2.13 meter center shaped the game of the Houston Rockets from 1984 to 2001. In 1994 and 1995 he won the NBA championship with the Rockets, and in 1994 he was elected MVP. Hakeem "The Dream" has been a US citizen since 1993 and was a member of the US team at the 1996 Olympic Games.

  • The most successful basket hunters in the NBA

    Vince Carter (25,728)

    At the age of 43, Vince Carter retired from his NBA career. When the season was suspended in March due to the corona pandemic, it was clear that the 1541st NBA game would be his last. The Canadian, formerly known as "Air Canada" because of his jumping ability, played in the NBA for 22 years - a record. He ran for Toronto, New Jersey, Orlando, Phoenix, Dallas, Memphis Sacramento and Atlanta.

  • The most successful basket hunters in the NBA

    Kevin Durant (* 23,883)

    Despite its 2.08 meters, "KD" is an agile and elegant basketball player. With Golden State, he won the NBA title in 2017 and 2018. Previously - at Oklahoma City - Durant was voted MVP of the 2014 season. He has been under contract with Brooklyn since 2019. After a year hiatus due to a torn Achilles tendon, he strengthens the Nets and makes them a title contender. (* As of May 17, 2021).

  • The most successful basket hunters in the NBA

    James Harden (* 22,045)

    The man with the beard is rapidly approaching the top ranks of the basketball roster. James Harden's opponents are not to be envied. If you leave him too much space, he hits the threesome, if you go closer, he dribbles past and pulls towards the basket. Harden was the 45th NBA professional to break the 20,000 point mark. An end up? Not in sight! (* As of May 17, 2021)

  • The most successful basket hunters in the NBA

    Russell Westbrook (* 21,857)

    In the wake of his friend James Harden, Russell Westbrook also climbed up the basket hunter list. In Oklahoma he formed a strong duo with Harden for three years. They were reunited in Houston for the 2019/2020 season. Westbrook now plays for the Washington Wizards and goes basket-hunting without Harden, who has also left the Rockets. (* As of May 17, 2021)

  • The most successful basket hunters in the NBA

    Detlef Schrempf (15,761 points)

    Second best German behind Nowitzki is Detlef Schrempf, who played for Dallas, Indiana, Seattle and Portland in the NBA between 1985 and 2001. He brought it to 15,761 points and ranks just below the top 100 of the best NBA point collectors.

    Author: Andreas Sten-Ziemons