LeBron James has appeared in multiple NBA Finals. His first was in 2007 during his first stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Over the years he’s had multiple stints as a member of the Miami Heat with the Big three era alongside Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
A native of northeast Ohio, James returned to Cleveland and formed a big three with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love.
Drafted by the Cavs as their first overall pick in 2003, James helped guide the Cavs to a Championship win in 2016.
Ahead of Game 1 of the 2020 NBA Finals, I checked in with Fox Sports’ Chris Broussard and asked him his early recollections of James.
“I probably encountered LeBron when he was a little boy,” Broussard told me on the Heavy Live With Scoop B Show.
“I used to work in Akron at the Akron-Beacon Journal and I would be at some of the summer tournaments you know, just with kids and adults playing ball; dunk contests and all that and the guy that ran a lot of the ones that I went to, was in LeBron’s inner circle early in his career. He’s not anymore. And it’s a very good chance that I saw LeBron as a 9-year old playing ball or something like that but, I first heard of him.”
Now a member of the Los Angeles Lakers, James and fellow NBA All Star, Anthony Davis are the face of a team that currently holds a 2-1 lead on the Miami Heat in the 2020 NBA Finals.
James led the NBA assists per game in the NBA’s regular season. A walking triple double threat,he can create havoc on the court in a myriad of ways: off the dribble, with his midrange game, by posting up or by drawing the double team and kicking the basketball out to an open teammate on the three point line for a clutch three point bucket.
So what was LeBron James ike in the early days?
“I believe when LeBron was in 7th or 8th grade I had just gone to the New York Times so it would’ve been around 1998 or ‘99,” recounts Broussard.
“Ohio is a football state. I mean, it’s got some good basketball players, but it’s not a national hotbed for basketball. It’s probably more so now than maybe it’s ever been but, you know you have a few in Northeast Ohio…
“The first time I saw him though, was when he played on national television at Saint Vincent’s. I think they played Oak Hill [Academy] against ‘Melo. He was a senior and Bill Walton called the game and it was on ESPN; I think — I don’t know if Dick Vitale was there but, that was the first time I saw him and obviously he looked great.
“We see a lot of guys who were touted as great players whether it’s 8th grade, tenth grade, twelfth grade… we just had Schea Cotton from Los Angeles on our radio show. Everybody thought that he was going to be the ‘Next’. O.J. Mayo… the ‘next’… even if some guys make it and some don’t even make it to the NBA; even if they make it, their character… and I go on and on and on. And then you look at Michael Jordan who wasn’t viewed as the best player in the country coming out. Dwayne Wade. Kobe obviously was hyped, but not like a LeBron. So a lot of the guys that become the best blossom a little later, maybe in college or late in high school, or even in the pros. And LeBron for him to be the best in his class from maybe 8th grade all the way up until now, still being the best player in the world is pretty incredible man. And all he’s done off the court, it’s just a great story.