1. LeBron was an All-State wide-receiver in high school.
LeBron played football until his junior year of high school, when he broke his non-shooting hand and decided to concentrate solely on basketball. He later joked about this with a State Farm commercial in which he dons Cleveland Browns gear and plays for the team.
2. LeBron’s mother, Gloria, had him when she was 16.
Since then, Gloria has been a prominent part of LeBron’s narrative. He and his mom moved 12 times when he was between the ages of 5 and 8, and his dad left the family at birth. In fourth grade, he says he missed over 100 days of school. Eventually, though, Gloria got the family settled. Much farther into LeBron’s career, Gloria was arrested after an altercation with a Fontainebleau hotel valet in Miami in 2011. And of course, there was that Delonte West rumor.
4. LeBron unsuccessfully petitioned to be allowed to declare for the NBA Draft after his junior year of high school.
Everyone knew he was going pro after his senior year, but LeBron still claimed to be considering Duke, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio State and Louisville.
6. LeBron became friends with Jay-Z around the same time that Kanye West did.
By the time Sports Illustrated’s “The Chosen One” profile came out in 2002, LeBron was already friends with Jay-Z. Kanye first worked with Jay-Z on 2000’s The Dynasty: Roc La Familia, and extensively on 2001’s The Blueprint.
7. During the Wizards — Cavs series in 2008, DeShawn Stevenson called LeBron James “overrated.” Jay-Z actually recorded a DeShawn Stevenson diss track in defense of LeBron.
8. LeBron’s a part-owner of English Premier League club Liverpool FC.
12. Even though “The Decision” was a widely reviled event, it produced $2.5 million in charity for the Boys & Girls Club of America.
Also, apparently Kanye West was there? ^^^^^^^^
14. LeBron has a sordid Olympics past.
Although it’s been whitewashed because of his gold medal in 2008, LeBron played on the 2004 U.S. Olympic basketball team — known as the “Nightmare Team.” They were the only U.S. squad to fail to win gold at the Olympics since NBA players started participating in 1992.
Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski also reported that LeBron was almost left off the 2008 Olympics team because “the issue of James’ immaturity and downright disrespectfulness had become a consuming topic on the march to the Olympics. … No one could stand James as a 19-year-old in the 2004 Athens Olympics, nor the 2006 World Championships. Officials feared James could become the instigator of everything they wanted to rid themselves for the ’08 Olympics. For as gifted as James was, Krzyzewski and Colangelo subscribed to a belief that with Kobe Bryant joining the national team in 2007, they could win a gold medal in ’08 with or without LeBron James.”
15. LeBron was good friends with disgraced Ohio State running back Maurice Clarett.
“He joked Tuesday that he just might have made the right choice by dropping football for good a few years back. Especially now that he’s seen his friend, Maurice Clarett, go to court in an effort to enter the NFL early.
‘I could have made it to the NFL,’ James said. ‘But I probably would have come in with Maurice and been sent back to college.’”
16. A Vogue cover with LeBron in a King Kong-esque pose set off a storm of racial controversy.
LeBron mostly deflected the discussion of race with regard to the Vogue cover, as he has his whole career, until blaming racism for part of the reason why “The Decision” was so heavily criticized.
19. LeBron’s a basketball history buff.
Apparently, LeBron’s a well-known student of the game’s history, and he really wanted to see Glory Road, the film that documented the 1966 Western Texas team that won the NCAA Championship with an all-black starting five. ESPN the Magazine arranged for a private screening, and afterward he met a number of the players from the team.
21. LeBron’s in the Illuminati.
Just kidding. MAYBE.