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Fidel
05-23-2003, 03:33 AM
I canīt help it but I like the guy. A little bit overconfident maybe but you canīt blame him given all the hype. Also it should help him through adjusting to the NBA. Overall he seems to be a very nice guy.



<< A teen scene out of LeBron's World
By Andy Katz
ESPN.com

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AKRON, Ohio -- What was so amazing about the night a teenager named LeBron James rescued professional basketball in Cleveland was the company he kept. Who needs a professional posse when your high school buddies are surrounding your every move?

The Radisson City Center hotel was like a scene out of the movie &quot;Big.'' There was James, exiting his 19th-floor suite on his way down to the banquet room for the news conference, towering over his St. Vincent-St. Mary teammates. He then moved along in the middle of the prep pack to an interview room for a halftime hit during ABC's telecast of Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals.

His teammates were wide-eyed all the way, looking every bit the kids they are, living a dream of being in a world reserved for men five to 10 years older. James, meanwhile, looked every bit the man he'll need to be much earlier than most NBA players.

Welcome to LeBron's World. And for a few more days, James' teammates will continue to live in it.

The fantasy world created by the LeBron phenomenon may take James to NBA riches and untold fame. But it will end soon for his teammates. At least for now, they're living this dream with their King James and will continue to tag along with him for the less-than-an-hour drive to Cleveland.

Thursday night, James took his teammates to his first day of work. They were on the podium during the news conference. They were hanging with him during each subsequent interview. They were even getting interviewed for &quot;Good Morning America.&quot; Can you believe that?

They were enjoying every second of the party, which from every indication, was about as G-rated as any draft lottery shindig probably has been since the NBA created this made-for-TV event in the mid-1980s. There was a harmless pool being discussed about which team would get No. 1. Aaron Goodwin, James' agent, said it was split between Denver and Cleveland. And, who did James pick?

&quot;Cleveland,&quot; Goodwin said.

Of course, he did.

The hotel suite reserved for James was closed to the public, but the euphoria emptying out of it was obvious. This night couldn't have worked out any better for everyone involved -- the James crew, SVSM, the Cavs, the locals and even the media.

When Russ Granik announced on ABC that the Cavs had the top pick, local Fox sports anchor and long-time Cleveland native Tony Rizzo leaped in the air and practically stormed the TV. So much for unbiased reporting. But we'll let Rizzo slide, and for good reason. James will play for the Cavs, his hometown team, and help resurrect the franchise.

&quot;I'm really excited about going to Cleveland,&quot; James told ESPN.com. &quot;Right now we're looking for a coach (likely Jeff Van Gundy, Paul Silas or Keith Smart), and once we find a coach I can't wait to get acquainted with him and my teammates. This is great; my friends don't have to travel across the country to see me.&quot;

James, once again showing his maturity, made sure everyone noticed that all his teammates were wearing Nike after playing in adidas all season. St. Vincent-St. Mary was an adidas-sponsored school. James, as of Thursday, is a Nike man.

&quot;You see they're all wearing Nike now,&quot; James said, pointing to his teammates. &quot;It hasn't sunk in that I'm a Nike guy. It was the best fit for me, long term. But it was somewhat about the money.&quot;

That's $90 million worth of honesty by James, who is also about as confident as any high school student, regardless of his or her talent.

James handled the interviews and the realization that he is a multi, multi, multi, multi-millionaire with poise. He was clear, concise, and at the same time, humble and reserved about what he expects.
With LeBron James playing for pay an hour away, his high school buddies will never be far away.
&quot;I can't promise an NBA championship,&quot; said James, who added that he would buy his mother, Gloria James, a new house in Cleveland with his first million.

James knows that going against high school players and playing 27 games versus 82 means he has to get tougher, more physical and be ready to play from the first day. But he assured everyone that the Cavs would be better next season, a team that would make the long-suffering fans proud.

Cavaliers season-ticket sales were expected to soar Friday. Interest in the franchise, both locally and nationally, will be dramatic. James could do for the Cavs what Jordan did for the Bulls in the '90s and Wizards the past two seasons. Don't be surprised to see Cleveland pop up on the national television schedule next season, beginning with the opening game.

And don't be shocked to see an all-out marketing campaign with James in Cleveland, well before he is officially announced a Cavalier on June 26 by NBA commissioner David Stern in New York.

Goodwin said he has a scheduled meeting with the Cavs marketing department this weekend. The Cavs can't sign James prior to the draft, but Goodwin said, &quot;obviously we want to have synergy with them. Nike will push him. He'll have a huge presence with Nike and bring attention to Cleveland.&quot;

The Cavs already have a new look -- outfitting the 2003-04 squad in new colors and logos -- and now a boost of self-confidence after they finally got a break. No one seems to be worried about James playing too close to home, not when they saw his crew Thursday.

Sure, he has an agent, a publicist and a few other randoms who seem to follow in the background. But the inner circle is mostly filled with 17- and 18-year-olds.

&quot;LeBron never had hangers-on, just his high school teammates,&quot; Goodwin said. &quot;He's got 20,000 hanger-on fans in Cleveland, and that's why they come to watch him.&quot;

Don't be surprised if his teammates' parents form an afterschool carpool to Gund Arena next season.

&quot;Well, all right then,&quot; James said after concluding his news conference looking cooler than Ari Fleischer at a White House briefing. &quot;I guess I'll see you all at the Gund.&quot;

And, just like that, he exited ... with his teammates, of course.

Graduation is June 7 -- from high school. Wonder who'll be voted &quot;Most Likely to Succeed&quot;?

One thing is certain: King James probably won't lose touch with LeBron James' classmates. If Thursday said anything, they'll be the teenagers trailing him as long as he's a teen phenom.

Andy Katz is a senior writer for ESPN.com. >>

LRB
05-23-2003, 07:28 AM
With all the hype on LeBron James if he doesn't make allstar his rookie year, he'll be perceived as a bust.

Ummmmm Ok
05-23-2003, 07:35 AM
<< With all the hype on LeBron James if he doesn't make allstar his rookie year, he'll be perceived as a bust. >>



With as much hype as he is getting, if Cleveland doesn't win the NBA Championship, Lebron also needs to average 40ppg, and 10apg he will be considered a bust. I would feel sorry for the kid, but Damn he just signed a 90 million contract with a &quot;shoe&quot; company...

LRB
05-23-2003, 12:10 PM
Let's just hope that LeBron doesn't get a terminal case of Kobe Head.