When did LeBron James start playing in the NBA? Looking at the key moments of the LA Lakers star’s journey

LeBron James is undoubtedly one of the best players in NBA history. The LA Lakers star has sparked comparisons to Michael Jordan, leaving fans in an unending debate on who the greatest basketball player is.

To be included in a conversation surrounding the legendary MJ means you are doing something right. LeBron James has continually made strides in the global basketball scene through sheer brilliance and an innate understanding of the game.

But how did he start playing in the NBA? What was the turning point in LeBron James’ career?

Key moments in LeBron James’ NBA journey

LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat in action during the game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on October 8, 2010
LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat in action during the game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on October 8, 2010

LeBron James was born in Akron, Ohio on December 30, 1984, and played high school ball at St. Vincent-St. Mary, Ohio. In 2003, he was selected as the No.1 overall pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Draft.

James’ announcement to the NBA was as loud as anyone could imagine. He set the record for points scored by a high school draftee in a debut performance after dropping 25 past the Sacramento Kings. By the end of the season, LeBron James was awarded the NBA Rookie of the Year title.

After numerous All-Star appearances and All-NBA selections, he won his first NBA MVP award in 2009, the first of many in his illustrious career. LeBron James averaged 28.4 points, 7.6 rebounds, 7.2 assists, 1.7 steals, and 1.2 blocks in the 2008-09 season.

Despite reaching the playoffs for five consecutive seasons with no success, LeBron James decided to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers. However, the manner with which he announced his departure did not sit well with Cavaliers fans, who saw James as their hope of winning a maiden NBA Championship.

LeBron James announced that he was taking his talents to the Miami Heat through a program titled “The Decision.” He made it clear that he was interested in competing for a championship and believed Miami was the place to achieve that. That decision led to the start of player empowerment in the NBA as he was instrumental in forming a superteam that included Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

Although he became the most-hated athlete at the time, his partnership with Wade and Bosh bore fruits as they won back-to-back championships in 2012 & 2013. LeBron James opted out of his contract with the Heat in 2014 to return to Cleveland.

The news of his return was well-received as he promised to bring the NBA Championships to the city. He directed the signing of Kevin Love and other veterans to build a team that could compete for the championship. In 2016, he led the Cavaliers to an inspiring Game 7 victory against the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals, despite falling 3-1 earlier in the series.

LeBron James has won championships with every team he has played for, and the LA Lakers were no different. He signed with the franchise in 2018 and won the NBA Championship a year later despite missing the playoffs entirely in his first stint wearing Purple and Gold.

The LA Lakers were favorites to win the 2021 NBA Finals and record a back-to-back. However, injuries derailed their season as LeBron James and the Lakers were eliminated by the Phoenix Suns in the first round. The Suns are currently playing for the NBA Championship against Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks from the East.

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