CARLSBAD, Calif. -- At times, LeBron James acted like a kid
in a candy store. He was, after all, a 20-year-old NBA superstar in
a trading card manufacturing plant.
James toured Upper Deck's headquarters on Wednesday, watching
the many steps it takes to produce trading cards while accompanied
by five fans who won a company promotion.
James even had the rare chance to pick the photo for his
upcoming card in the NBA Sweet Shot series.
"Let's go for the dunk," said James, selecting a photo showing
him airborne with the ball in his right hand, headed toward the
basket, shot by a camera mounted behind the backboard.
With the help of a photo editor, the picture was cropped and a
color border added in keeping with the series format.
"I remember purchasing packs of cards," James said later,
reflecting on his childhood. "The faces on the cards, a lot of
them were Michael Jordan. Now I go to the store, and I see my face.
It's amazing how things can turn in such a dramatic fashion."
The Cleveland Cavaliers' forward also went eye-to-eye with a
seemingly larger-than-life model of Batman on display in the
building's entertainment wing.
"I've got to get me one of those," said James more impressed
with Batman than a smaller version of Spiderman nearby.
"When LeBron stops, the whole group stops," said the tour
guide, Martin Welling, the senior vice president of creative
The five contest winners got to play H-O-R-S-E with James. By
the fourth of five games, James was showing some wear on the
outdoor court under sunny skies.
"He's got me sweating," said James, referring to a contestant.
"I didn't plan on sweating."
James said he works out for two hours during the offseason and
that he feels on target physically for the start of training camp