It was December 12, 2002, the expected game day in Ohio between two high schools: St. Vincent-St. Mary, led by LeBron James and Oak Hill Academy, the best team in the country. For the occasion, ESPN has decided to broadcast on the national stage the meeting, which takes place in the Convocation Center in front of more than 11,000 spectators.
Still 17 years old, LeBron James is already turning heads, as commentator Dick Vitale reminds us before the game, as LBJ has already made the cover of Sports Illustrated and ESPN Magazine. All of America is “curious” to see this phenomenon that everyone is talking about.
“He’s one of those young headliners that comes on the field and is already so talented. Like a Venus Williams, a Serena Williams, a Tiger Woods, a Kobe Bryant, an Alex Rodriguez. All I know is, that if he has half the talent of anything I’ve ever heard of him, he’s going to be a really special athlete, I can’t wait to see him play in person.”excited the commentator in the presentation of the match.
A game vision already above average
For this extraordinarily talked about meeting, LeBron James will not disappoint. But beyond his 31 points (on 12/25 shooting), 13 rebounds and 6 assists, it’s his already distinctive style that impresses: already ultra-physically determined, but also with flashes of genius, especially in the pass, as under a service in back in counterattack for his inner Romeo Travis, champion of France 2018 with Le Mans. “ How many guys in college or the NBA can pull that off? », we turn on the comments. Moments later, it’s a blind pass, still to Romeo Travis for a 2+1 that has the crowd roaring with delight.
After a big third quarter from LeBron James ended with a 3-pointer at the tip of the racket, Oak Hill finally snapped, losing 65-45. After losing his two previous meetings, including his first confrontation against Carmelo Anthony, the insult is washed away for the soon-to-be nicknamed “The King.”
“For me, there is no pressure. As long as I play my game, that I manage to involve the rest of the team to help them win and that we give 110% like we did tonight, there is no pressure for us, said LeBron James, already a pro in front of ESPN 2’s microphone. For me now, it’s about improving every day, whether it’s defensively, working on my jump shot to perfect it, but more generally, improving myself every day, for my team and for myself.