Coming from extremely humble beginnings in Akron Ohio, James was a childhood prodigy on the court, comparisons to Michael Jordan had begun well before his senior year in high school. So good was Lebron's talent that he skipped College all together and elected himself to the NBA 2003 draft.
When the Cleveland Cavalier's drew the first pick in the draft it seemed that it was always destined to be that the greatest athlete of an emerging generation would play for his home town and bring some relief to a long suffering city across numerous national sporting arenas.
Over the coming seven seasons, Lebron captured the hearts of not just across Ohio but across the entire globe. His ability and finesse combined with his strength and persistence made him the most sought after ticket in sports.
Records began to tumble, Lebron would sweep the majority of all the yearly awards presented from inside and outside of the league on a yearly basis.
Naturally the flow on effect was the comparing of past and modern day greats. These debates would rage furiously amongst backyard pundits and professional commentators alike. At the end of each argument on numerous sports channels or local fan blogs there would be the same mantra "at the end of the year - judge a player by the amount of rings on his fingers by the end of his career" (Championship Rings).
And I guess it was this Mantra that begun to haunt Lebron - after seven years of going to the well and coming back empty. The personal accolades are a fantastic bonus in US sports, but they are really only an extension of winning a championship, when they arrive before the championship there is a general unspoken public acknowledgement that it is a little hollow without the championship.
2010 a critical decision
In 2010 this seemed to become all too much for Lebron who had failed to deliver a championship over his seven seasons in Cleveland. Hitting the free agency list with Lebron in 2010 was close friends Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade. To make a long story short all three players signed with the Heat, Lebron overnight became the most ostracised sporting icon in professional sports since Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson won the 100 metres Olympic final.
To make matters worse James held a press conference party where they announced they would win a multitude of Championships. This hurt Cleveland fans and as expected many an effigy was burnt. Lebron had four years in Miami and enjoyed success with two NBA championships, the monkey was finally off the back for James.
There was conjecture that when James heading to Miami he wasn't in the right 'head space' to deliver a championship without a number of stars who had already been there and done that. For a player who enjoys being called the king, it seemed he lacked that special quality that previous champions have had when the game is on the line, those players that simply have to have the ball in their hand at that critical moment.
When you look at Michael Jordan and his 6 championships, one of the factors that is rarely mentioned is that he never lost a 'finals'. When the "Greats" get there, they never give it up. When you look at Lebron in the future and you are looking at all of those personal accolades and however many championships he wins, it would be a travesty if there was not an asterisk connected to a footnote at the bottom of the page that lists how many NBA finals series he lost.
This coming NBA season see Lebron James return to Cleveland in a return of the "prodigal" son of sorts. It will be interesting to see how he jells with a young side that now has 4 NBA Draft number 1 picks playing together. I think he will thrive on being the only true super star in the line up, but as good as it looks we all know that no decision on his success will be made until the final whistle of the season and we see who is getting their latest NBA Finals ring fitted.
Josh Hinds is a school chaplain on the Gold Coast, a family man and PSI's IT professional. Josh is an experienced writer on international sport.
Josh Hinds' previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/joshua-hinds.html