With all the attention and pressure that was piled onto LeBron James' 18-year-old shoulders before ever stepping foot onto an NBA court, many people thought the most hyped rookie in league history would fall flat on his face. Instead, LeBron proved all the critics wrong, averaging better than 20 points, five rebounds and five assists on his way to becoming the first Rookie of the Year in Cleveland Cavaliers history. Focused, determined and, best of all, humble, James may be the NBA's brightest young star.
Early in his first season, coach Paul Silas pushed LeBron to be more aggressive and attack the basket, and the results were magnificent. He became only the third rookie in league history to average 20/5/5, joining Michael Jordan and Oscar Robertson in the record books. In a March 27th win over the New Jersey Nets, James became the youngest player in league history to score 40 points in a game, a distinction previously held by Clifford Robinson. Most impressive of all, though, was that LeBron had the historically woeful Cavaliers in the thick of the playoff hunt until the season's final few games. Now that's an accomplishment.
What's next for #23? If early returns are any indication, the sky's the limit for the former prep star (literally -- check out this amazing dunk). In his second season, James became the youngest player in NBA history to score 2,000 career points, the youngest to record a triple-double, and he's currently among the league leaders in points, assists and steals per game. Plus, for the first time in a long time, he's got people in Cleveland thinking about the NBA playoffs with the Cavs sitting near the top of the Eastern Conference standings. NBA fans have been on the lookout for the next Michael Jordan, but when it's all said and done LeBron James may be the new prototype.
LeBron on the Web
LBJ's official site.
So Says The King
"You can't back down from anybody. They try to take your manhood in this league. They can't get mine. They tried early but after about game seven, it was about over."
"The greats didn't just do it one year, they did it throughout their career. That's going to be key for me, to maintain this and get better every day."
"[Coach Paul Silas] knows that I'm 110 percent working right now. He has no worries. I'm going to play hard all the time. That's what got me here and I'm going to keep doing it."