Heard of him? No. 1 overall NBA draft pick, most talked-about high school player ever (most scrutinized NBA rookie ever, too).
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:
What will define LeBron James' success as a
pro basketball player?
Instant impact? If he doesn't go out in Game 1
vs. the Kings and go for a triple-double, will he be a
Cultural relevancy? Media attention is 1,000
times what it was when Jordan entered the NBA in 1985
(but there are so many more distractions for fans).
Winning team? He gets a mulligan this year ... but for how long? Great players are measured by rings, not shoe deals.
But leave him be? To make mistakes, to grow, to
just be a rookie? Sorry, not an option. Hype of
this magnitude becomes a promise to fans: We demand
The Next Big Thing.
Want a preview of LeBron's season? Read
the tea leaves of LeBron's preseason stats (per
FG pct: 34.3
What's it mean? If you're expecting 20-plus
ppg, get real; NBA rookies just don't do that (last one was Elton Brand in 2000).
Half-dozen dimes and boards, though? Not so crazy.
"Be like Mike" is dead; long live the
King: There's that totally buzz-worthy new Nike ad
(let's call it "Frozen LeBron"), a line of "LJ23"
apparel and new shoes
hitting stores this winter.
But do the math: $100 million. That's a
lot of shoes to sell in a stagnant retail category.
Are comparisons to the all-time greats
fair? Who cares? Check the list below for
||IF YOU DON'T HAVE TIME TO READ THE FULL QUICKIE
|LEBRON'S THREE HOTTEST STORIES|
1 Can he possibly match the expectations of his hype?|
2 Can he make the Cavaliers a much better team?
3 Can he justify his $100 million-plus endorsement deals?
|THREE STORIES YOU SHOULD JUST LET GO|
1 The whole "Hummer" thing: Now, he can buy 10 of 'em|
2 LeBron winning alone: Will take entire team effort
3 "Clingy mom" factor: Baby, as they say, is all grows up
Best case: Julius Erving
Worst case: Ricky Davis
Best case: Magic Johnson
Worst case: Antoine Walker
Best case: Bill Russell
Worst case: Chris Webber
Pop Culture Status
Best case: Michael Jordan
Worst case: Uh ... Kobe
Best case: Oscar Robertson
Worst case: Brent Barry
(As for shooting? Yikes, you don't want to
5 must-see games:
10/29 at Kings:
Debut. LBJ enjoys 1st whupping.
11/05 vs. Nuggets:
'Bron vs. 'Melo, Round 1
12/25 at Magic:
McGrady puts stuff in stocking.
1/12 at Lakers:
Won't get glitzier than this.
02/22 at Knicks:
LBJ in NYC at MSG on ABC.
An sample of LeBron bets you were able to
get in Vegas:
2-1: Rookie of the Year
Almost a lock.
12-1: 52-plus pts in single game
Hmm ...very tempting.
41-1: 2004 NBA MVP
He only wears Unseld.
75-1: 30.1-plus ppg
Don't waste your money.
200-1: Cavs '04 NBA champs
Not even as a joke.
How other recent high school phenoms scored in their rookie seasons:
Amare Stoudemire 13.5
Kevin Garnett 10.4
Kobe Bryant 7.6
Tracy McGrady 7.0
Kwame Brown 4.5
Stop shooting the ball, Ricky -- you're taking valuable shots away from LeBron ... we ain't paying to see you!
|Today on ESPN.com|
|P2: Greatest NBA rookies ever|
|ESPN Mag: Reign Man|
|LeBron's New Shoe|
|Ranking his skills:|
|Where the hype meets reality|
|Who doesn't want to be like him|
|For a swingman? Excellent|
|Team already rallies behind|
|Still needs a little work|
A few "Did You Knows," to impress your
office-mates (courtesy ESPN Research):|
Since the NBA went to an 82-game schedule in the
'67-68 season, a team that has won fewer than 20 games
the season before has never reached the 40-win mark
the following season ...
Most PPG, NBA rookie
w/ no college exp: Pau Gasol (17.6), Stan Miasek
(14.9), Amare Stoudamire (13.5), Yao Ming (13.5),
Moses Malone (13.2) ...
This ain't happening: Most points in an NBA debut -
Wilt Chamberlain (49) ...
Triple-Double? Oscar Robertson is
the only player in NBA history to record a triple-double in his
1st career game (1960) ...
Two No. 1 picks went scoreless in their debut: Yao Ming and Doug Collins ...