LeBron James was a breakout start in the NBA when he was recruited right out of his Ohio high school in 2003. During his first professional game, he set a record by scoring 25 points against the Sacramento Kings — the most scored by a prep-to-pro player in a debut game.
James played for the Cleveland Cavaliers for seven years, getting impressive stats along the way and becoming a star. He was named Rookie of the Year and, later, a Most Valuable Player.
Eventually, James transferred to the Miami Heat for a few years before returning to the Cavaliers. His antics on court and off have earned him a reputation as both a hero and a diva.
James joined Oscar Robertson and Michael Jordan in being the only rookie to average at least 20 points, 5 assists and 5 rebounds in the history of the NBA.
He went on to help lead his team to victory many, many times. With James on the team, the Cavaliers qualified for the NBA Playoffs in 2006 — the first time since 1998. He continued to improve his stats and earn more accolades throughout his career.
Despite being recognized as such a great player, James has also built a bad reputation for his arrogance and unsportsman-like behavior.
Many saw his move to the Heat as a betrayal of the Cavaliers, and many did not like the way that he made the announcement with an entire ESPN television special. He didn’t even let his team know about his decision before he announced it to the world.
He held a similar celebration for himself upon arrival in Miami, and he and Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh declared themselves the “three kings of Miami.”
Basically, James’ personal motto seems to have been: Go big or go home. He’s winning fans with his great basketball playing, and he’s alienating them with his arrogance and selfish disregard of others. Whatever you think of him, James is likely to continue to be a polarizing figure.