James to host 'Saturday Night Live' season premiere

Updated: September 28, 2007, 5:13 PM ET
Associated Press

LeBron James is treating his appearance on the "Saturday Night Live" season premiere like a fast break.

"I'm going to just wing it," the Cleveland Cavaliers All-Star forward said Thursday during a rehearsal break.

James is practicing this week with his new teammates at SNL, where he'll become the latest superstar to host the show.

The 22-year-old's humorous Nike ads, in which he plays four versions of himself, and his ESPYs co-hosting performance made Lorne Michaels believe James would do well on the show.

"You can tell when someone has a sense of humor or a least enough perspective on themselves to able to laugh at stuff," said Michaels, the show's creator and executive producer.

James got his lines Wednesday and did a read-through Thursday, leading Michaels to believe "The Chosen One" might have another natural gift.

"He's really good at this stuff," Michaels said.

James follows in the footsteps of his boyhood idol, Michael Jordan, who hosted the 1991 season premiere. Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning appeared on the show last season, and other stars like Joe Montana and Wayne Gretzky have had memorable performances.

Michaels said he believes athletes have been successful on the show because they're fearless.

"They're used to being in front of a large group of people and not knowing how it's going to turn out," Michaels said.

James, who says he doesn't get nervous for big games, is treating the show no differently and said collaborating with the writers and actors has made him comfortable with the sketches.

"They make you feel like you're one of them," James said.

When James co-hosted the ESPYs with comedian/talk show host Jimmy Kimmel, he appeared in several skits, danced and sang a version of Bobby Brown's "My Prerogative" with rewritten lyrics about his own fame.

He wouldn't say whether he has another song and dance routine planned for this weekend's show, which also features hip-hop icon Kanye West.

"I want to make an impression," James said. "Just go out there and be original and have some fun."


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press