Lebron James should be the National Basketball Association’s Rookie of the Year for the 2003-2004 season.
Although, the Cleveland Cavaliers took a nosedive out of contention for the playoffs late in the regular season, James has made himself into one of the most recognizable figures in all of sports.
Despite being the most hyped athlete in the history of professional sports, James lived up to and in many ways surpassed his unprecedented expectations.
Whether it was the throwback jersey incident, the Hummer H2 he acquired in high school or the $90 million endorsement deal he signed with Nike before ever stepping foot onto a NBA court, the fix was already on.
After a so-so summer league and an equally unimpressive pre-season, James had been setup for the perfect media murder. The entertainment channel E! had probably already started researching sources for his True Hollywood Story.
All James did was smile, nod and use every bit of media training he received from Nike to combat the hysteria that his game, not his mouth created. In interviews prior to the beginning of the season, James only commented that he wanted to fit in with his teammates and improve upon the 2002-2003 Cavs record of 17-65.
First Game at Sacramento: 25 points, six rebounds and nine assists
Second Game at Phoenix: 21 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists
King James was only beginning to destroy the house that hate built.
At the all-star break, ESPN commentator and former all-star Sean Elliot proclaimed that not only should James have been selected to the Eastern Conference all-star squad, but that he was the conference’s most valuable player.
James’ unique set of skills is second only to the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Kevin Garnett.
At six feet eight inches tall and a diesel 240 pounds, James can play any position one through three.
His combination of size, strength and speed allows him to overpower smaller defenders and blow by larger ones.
The most impressive part of his game, however, is his passing.
With his court vision the “soul of the game” drops more dimes than Sammy the Bull.
The only other players other than James to average 20 points, five rebounds and five assists per game in their rookie season were Oscar Robertson and Michael Jordan, arguably the two greatest basketball players of all time.
Denver Nuggets’ forward Carmelo Anthony is a great player. If anyone else is worthy of ROY honors, it’s him. But let’s consider the circumstances. Anthony is blessed to play on a team chock- full-of-veterans.
Andre Miller is an all-star caliber point guard. Nene and Marcus Camby are solid at the power forward position, averaging 20 points and 16 rebounds combined per game between the two. Earl Boykins provides them with leadership and instant offense off the bench with 10 points and 22 minutes per game. Don’t get me wrong ‘Melo’ is nice, but Lebron is the best thing since laptops and the return of Air Force Ones.
Nick Birdsong is a sophomore newspaper journalism student from Tampa. He is the assistant sports editor. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org